November 2, 2010
Genesis 28: 10-22 NLT
Jacob left Beersheba and traveled toward Haran. 11 At sundown he arrived at a good place to set up camp and stopped there for the night. Jacob found a stone to rest his head against and lay down to sleep. 12 As he slept, he dreamed of a stairway that reached from the earth up to heaven. And he saw the angels of God going up and down the stairway.
13 At the top of the stairway stood the Lord, and he said, “I am the Lord, the God of your grandfather Abraham, and the God of your father, Isaac. The ground you are lying on belongs to you. I am giving it to you and your descendants. 14 Your descendants will be as numerous as the dust of the earth! They will spread out in all directions—to the west and the east, to the north and the south. And all the families of the earth will be blessed through you and your descendants.15 What’s more, I am with you, and I will protect you wherever you go. One day I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have finished giving you everything I have promised you.”
16 Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I wasn’t even aware of it!” 17 But he was also afraid and said, “What an awesome place this is! It is none other than the house of God, the very gateway to heaven!”
18 The next morning Jacob got up very early. He took the stone he had rested his head against, and he set it upright as a memorial pillar. Then he poured olive oil over it. 19 He named that place Bethel (which means “house of God”), although the name of the nearby village was Luz.
20 Then Jacob made this vow: “If God will indeed be with me and protect me on this journey, and if he will provide me with food and clothing, 21 and if I return safely to my father’s home, then the Lord will certainly be my God. 22 And this memorial pillar I have set up will become a place for worshiping God, and I will present to God a tenth of everything he gives me.”
Notes on the text and the tithe:
This is the second of many times in the Bible that the figure of 10 percent is spoken of, in giving back to God a portion of what He has blessed us with.
Over the next several days, weeks, and months, I am going to explore this subject with you. Misty and I have been convinced for many years that 10 percent is the place for Christians to start at least when it comes to managing finances, although we have not always done this. When I say we have not always done this, there have been times when we have given less and then times when we have given more. No doubt we have given 10 percent and 100 percent of our lives back to God.
God doesn’t need the money that we earn but I am convinced that we as Christians need to give back to God in a tangible way, in order to set a precedent in life, a life of giving.
I can give testimony to the fact that I have never missed the money that I have given in ministry to the church and other organizations who were working to fulfill the gospel. As a matter of fact, when I am faithful at giving, it even appears that not only are our needs met, but many times our wants are met as well.
I was reminded this morning as I looked at this scripture, Jacob was grateful for God’s blessing on his life. Jacob says to God, “you give me clothing and food, and you give me safety as well, and I want to say thank you.
Well I want to say thank you to God this morning as well. I do believe that everything I have is the result of a God who Created me and gave me breath. I believe this with all of my heart and I own Him everything. However, I do not give because I own Him, the fact is I could never repay Him. I give because I love my Father, God. I give because I believe that the discipline of giving a tenth was begun in the Old Covenant and in the New Covenant we will see that Jesus said, “give it all.” We will talk about this in further posts on the subject of giving but for now, I’m going to write a check from a blessing that God just gave me.