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Study 3d: Abraham Pays Tithe To Melchizedek - CHARACTER STUDY SERIES

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Study 3d: Abraham Pays Tithe To Melchizedek

Text: Genesis 14:17-20

In the above text, a personality is identified and described as THE PRIEST OF THE MOST HIGH GOD. His name is Melchizedek to whom Abraham paid his tithe.

Definition: TITHE means a tenth. In Hebrew it is "Maaser" and Greek - "dekatos".

In the past few weeks, we have been considering Abraham's life as a man of faith, a prophet, and the friend of God. His devotion and commitment to God could hardly be matched by any of his generation. It is one thing to be religiously inclined but quite another to serve God wholeheartedly with our material substance. Abraham did both and so will any person who desires to serve God in truth and in Spirit.

By the grace of God, Abraham vanquished Chedorlaomer and his allies in the battle to deliver Lot and the people of Sodom from captivity. On his return, he had plenty of spoils from the war. In other words, he became richer as a result of his victory. In the scripture above ,we are made to understand that a tenth of whatever he got from the war was presented to the priest, Melchizedek, king of Salem. Before Abraham paid his tithe:

  • (a) Melchizedek first brought bread and wine to refresh Abraham.
  • (b) Secondly he blessed him and said 'Blessed be Abraham (Prophet and Friend) of the most high God.
  • (c) Melchizedek reasserted God as Possessor (owner) of the heaven and earth.
  • (d) Declares God as the Almighty One who delivered Abraham's enemies into his hands.
  • (e) After the benediction of Melchizedek the priest, Abraham worshipped the Lord with a tenth of the spoils of war

Before Judaism and Christianity were formally established, the bible reveals that men of God like Abraham and Jacob paid tithe of all their income. (Genesis 14:20, Hebrews 7:2-6, Genesis 28:22.) Under Mosaic Law, the word says: "And all the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land, or of the fruit of the tree, is the LORD's: it is holy unto the LORD" - Leviticus 27:30 "And concerning the tithe of the herd, or of the flock, even of whatsoever passeth under the rod, the tenth shall be holy unto the LORD." - Leviticus 27:32 The Israelites were in many ways meticulous in observing the payment of tithes. (Matthew 23:23, Luke 11:42)

Following the Old Testament order in the New Testament, Paul says: "Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come." -1 Corinthians 16:2. This signifies giving a proportion of our income like the tithe.

God also directed the children of Israel on how tithes should be dispensed:

  • (a) That one tenth of the whole produce of the soil was to be assigned for the maintenance of Levites who have been chosen by God to be a tribe of priests (Numbers 18:20-28, Deuteronomy 12:5-18)
  • (b) That out of the tithes paid to the Levites, they were to dedicate one tenth for the use of the high priest. (Numbers 18:28)
  • (c) A probably a second, was to be applied for festival purposes.
  • (d) That at the end of three years, all tithes of the year be gathered and laid up "within the gates" and a festival to be held in which THE STRANGER, THE FATHERLESS, AND THE WIDOW with the LEVITES are to partake. (Deuteronomy 14:28-29)

In practical terms God did not have any need of these material "offerings". So, it should be appreciated that the institution of tithes and offerings is for the up-keep and maintenance of *priests who have totally devoted their lives to the service of God and ministry to men. It is also for the sustenance of the system by which God is worshiped, men are saved and the spiritual well-being of believers ensured. It therefore becomes mandatory for every true child of God to faithfully contribute his or her quota to the factors that enhance the ministry of the Gospel.

When a worshipper of God fails to pay his tithe, he is described as robbing God. This certainly attracts a curse. The Bible says: "Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings. Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation." - Malachi 3:8-9 (Malachi 3:10-12). No wonder Abraham was abundantly blessed by God. You also can be blessed like faithful Abraham as you obey God in tithing and offering.

MEMORY VERSE: "Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again."- Luke 6:38

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