Psalm 110: 4

The Lord has sworn and will not change His mind, “You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.”

Melchizedek is an interesting figure. He appeared in Genesis 14: 18 after Abram defeated the three kings. Interestingly, though, Melchizedek is mentioned more often in the New Testament than the Old. When Abram returned from the battle, Melchizedek, the King of Salem and High Priest of God, brought out bread and wine to Abram. Abram, in turn, gave Melchizedek a tenth of all the spoils of war. Very interesting indeed!

First, let us not miss that Salem means peace. So, this Melchizedek was the King of Peace and Jesus is called the Prince of peace. Also, the bread and the wine foreshadow the communion which is the remembrance of Christ’s body and blood being broken and spilled for us. Today’s verse speaks of Jesus that he is forever a priest according to the standing and ways of Melchizedek. Jesus’ priesthood is of the order of Melchizedek.

We can glean many things from today’s passage and those other passages about Melchizedek to which it points, but it cannot be missed that a very important aspect is that Abram gave a tithe of all to the ministry which represents the coming Lord and High Priest.

People really get hung up on tithing and it truly amazes me. I find it harder and harder to teach or preach on tithing because it increasingly seems that it is like breathing, meaning it is just something we do but not something that generally needs a great deal of discussion. When I am pressed to discuss it, I hardly know what to say. Father Abram set the example. Melchizedek brought him out wine and bread, symbolically the broken body and spilled blood of our beloved. How can that remembrance not invoke in me a desire to lay my pittance upon the alter that received my Lord? How is ten percent of anything of more value than my precious Jesus? Abram was only looking forward to the coming Lord. In our day, the Lord has already come and endured horrendous suffering for each of us. Is that not enough to motivate us to replicate Abram’s simple act? And really, should it even take thinking of Jesus’ sacrifice to spurn me to such minuscule action? What of his and the Father’s kindnesses to me today and every day? What of the promise of eternity in their presence? If all God has done for us does not inspire us to a desire to bless Him, then what could He ever do to earn our generosity? You see, I just don’t get it.

We should consider it an honor to support His ministry. We should race each other to the alter to give into His work. I am not unsympathetic, it’s just that I don’t understand the hesitancy. I am blessed, without a doubt, and I bless God that I am able to add my little bit to His offering plate. I could not do it without His grace and help and I know that. I am nothing in myself, but our God enables us to be a blessing and I thank my God that He allows me to be a contributor. It is a joy we should all experience. It should bless our hearts and just feel good to get to partner with God.

Bless the Lord and bless you. I know I am preaching to the choir today. You are the people who give. You are the blessing God has sent. I bless you today in the name of our Lord, Jesus, who is the Christ, the one who has saved and anointed us into his own ministry. May you continually wear his loving grace as a cloak about your shoulders.

Investing Wisely

Hebrews 3:1 & 5: 10

Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of a heavenly calling, consider Jesus, the Apostle and High Priest of our confession…being designated by God as a high priest according to the order of Melchizedek.

We discovered yesterday that giving is a means to financial betterment in the Kingdom of God. Today I wish to take a quick look at the tithe. I don’t really think of the tithe when I discuss giving. For me the tithe is simply that part I put away in God’s treasury which provides my seed for sowing. When farmers get in their harvest, they don’t eat it all or sell it all. They must reserve a portion of this year’s harvest to use as seed for next year’s planting. In my mind, that is the tithe and it is the starting place for financial well-being.

Tithe literally means ten percent. In Genesis 14: 20 we witness the tithe of Abraham to Melchizedek. Jesus is now our high priest and he is clothed in the same priesthood as Melchizedek (Psalm 110: 4, Hebrews 7: 17). Some people actually teach that tithing is an Old Testament doctrine. I can only postulate that people posit that theory because they do not want to give to God. The answer I have heard in response to that position is, “If they could give ten percent under the law, how much more can we give by grace.” Our high priest is Jesus. That is according to New Testament scripture. How much more should we want to give under his priesthood than those Old Testament folks who had not been saved by grace unto eternity? Later on, after Jacob and Isaac and the twelve tribes, priests were appointed from the house of Levi. God could have appointed Jesus as a priest according to the order of the Levites but he did not. His priesthood is higher than the Levitical priests. Therefore, if Abraham, Father of all of us through grace and the shed blood of Jesus, could give ten percent to Melchizedek, then how much more can we give unto Jesus our High Priest? Might we, from the deep well of our hearts, pour out onto Jesus our substance in addition to our love?