Tithing and the Temple of God
The Living Word
DESOTO - This week’s readings on the triennial cycle at the Living Word focus on contributions to the building of the tabernacle (Exodus 38), the first Temple (1 Kings 7), the second Temple (Haggai 1), the coming Temple (Ezekiel 41) and the spiritual Temple (1 Peter 2).
The importance of the tabernacle and Temples is that these are the physical representation of God’s dwelling among us.
What an exciting concept that the Creator God is also our personal God, having the desire to be near us, with us and even within us!
The contributions to the construction of tabernacle and Temple show the excitement level (or lack thereof) of the people of God.
The function of the physical tabernacle and Temple is fairly straightforward, but how are we to understand the building up of the spiritual Temple of God?
1 Peter 2 states that we are living stones, built on the foundation of Yeshua.
We are the spiritual Temple and God dwells within us, but we are also active participants in the worship.
Tabernacle and Temple worship in the biblical sense require sacrifices. How do we as members of the spiritual Temple bring sacrifices?
Hebrews 13:15-16 says, "Through Yeshua, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise – the fruit of lips that confess his name.
"And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased."
The workings of the spiritual Temple are similar to the workings of the physical Temple.
We bring sacrifices and praise, realign ourselves with the will of our Maker and leave renewed to do good in the world.
Tithing during the times of physical tabernacle and Temple served to support the priests, Levites and the poor.
Congregations today typically follow this pattern as well (and it works), but we must not confuse church or synagogue buildings with tabernacle or Temple proper.
We must keep in mind that the true Temple is within us individually and corporately as the Body of Messiah.
While it is good to tithe to our congregations and support the necessary upkeep, as members of the spiritual Temple, we also have the opportunity to bypass institutions and be God’s direct vehicles for giving.
Chad and Sarah Wallace, of Palmer, experienced this firsthand as they pulled into the gas station last week and met through divine appointment a family who had just lost their home and were on their way to a shelter.
The tithe money they had been carrying in their wallets went directly to the family in need.
What a joy it is to be members of God’s spiritual priesthood!