Servants of the Lord deserve to be supported by His people

John Wesley was one of the great evangelists of the 18th Century, born in 1703. In 1731 he began to limit his expenses so that he would have more money to give to the poor. In the first year his income was 30 pounds and he found he could live on 28 and so gave away two. In the se … More

Giving

The principle emphasized in this passage is clear and is often given in Scripture. Those who serve the Lord and His people should be supported from the material blessings God gives to His people. An example is where Jesus said “The laborer is worthy of his hire” (Luke 10:7). Paul also wrote “Even so, hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the Gospel should live of the Gospel” (I Cor. 9:14). The priests and Levites, as servants of God, deserved to be cared for by the people of God. The Lord tells Aaron that he will not receive any land in Israel as his own but he will give him whatever he needs (v. 20).  He goes on to say that since the Levites won’t be given any land in Israel as their own, they will be given the crops and newborn animals that the Israelites offerings. There were 12 different tribes that made up the nation of Israel. Eleven of these 12 tribes were given land to settle in.

Unlike the other tribes, Levi would have no inheritance in the Promised Land (the land of Canaan) for the Lord was their inheritance (v. 20). Instead they were given 48 towns to live in (Num. 35:1-8) and were to work full time in the tabernacle making sure the worship of God stayed active and true in the community. Both the priests and Levites were to be cared for by means of sacrifices, offerings, and tithes. Even the Levites, who were ministers, had to tithe to support the Lord’s work (vv. 25,26). This principle is still relevant as God expects all His followers (even those in the ministry) to supply the material needs of those who devote themselves to meeting the spiritual needs of the Church.

Application

If the Jews under the Old Covenant could give 10 percent of their income (produce) to the Lord, should Christians under the New Covenant do less? If I am to grasp the meaning of II Corinthians 8:9 I need to practice “grace giving” which should go beyond the tithe.

Numbers 18:20-32 (English Standard Version)

And the LORD said to Aaron, "You shall have no inheritance in their land, neither shall you have any portion among them. I am your portion and your inheritance among the people of Israel. "To the Levites I have given every tithe in Israel for an inheritance, in return for their service that they do, their service in the tent of meeting, so that the people of Israel do not come near the tent of meeting, lest they bear sin and die. But the Levites shall do the service of the tent of meeting, and they shall bear their iniquity. It shall be a perpetual statute throughout your generations, and among the people of Israel they shall have no inheritance. For the tithe of the people of Israel, which they present as a contribution to the LORD, I have given to the Levites for an inheritance. Therefore I have said of them that they shall have no inheritance among the people of Israel." And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, "Moreover, you shall speak and say to the Levites, 'When you take from the people of Israel the tithe that I have given you from them for your inheritance, then you shall present a contribution from it to the LORD, a tithe of the tithe. And your contribution shall be counted to you as though it were the grain of the threshing floor, and as the fullness of the winepress. So you shall also present a contribution to the LORD from all your tithes, which you receive from the people of Israel. And from it you shall give the LORD's contribution to Aaron the priest. Out of all the gifts to you, you shall present every contribution due to the LORD; from each its best part is to be dedicated.' Therefore you shall say to them, 'When you have offered from it the best of it, then the rest shall be counted to the Levites as produce of the threshing floor, and as produce of the winepress. And you may eat it in any place, you and your households, for it is your reward in return for your service in the tent of meeting. And you shall bear no sin by reason of it, when you have contributed the best of it. But you shall not profane the holy things of the people of Israel, lest you die.'"

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