SDA Sabbath School Lesson 9

Thursday November 28, 1996

Supporting God's Church (Mal. 3:9, 10).

To ensure the spiritual nurture of Israel, God ordained that thepriests and Levites, who served in the temple, should devote their lives to full-time ministry. Every Israelite was to support the priests and Levites with the tithe, and those in ministry were also to tithe (Num.18:20, 21, 26). The Lord designated that the tithe was to be returned toHis storehouse, the church. "[The tithe] is holy unto the Lord" (Lev.27:30).

Other examples of tithing include Abraham's giving Melchizedek, the priest of God Most High, "tithes of all" (Gen. 14:18-20) and Jacob's vow to give God a tenth of all that he received from his Creator's hand (Gen. 28:22). God reaffirmed the tithing law as a holy institution upon which Israel's success depended (Num. 18:24, 26, 28).

In addition to the tithe, God commanded the people to return offerings to build and maintain His temple and sustain its various branches of service to His holy nation (Exod. 30:11-16; 2 Kings 12:4, 5; 2 Chron. 24:8-14).

List the promises God makes to those who are faithful in tithes and offerings. Mal. 3:10-12. What does He say to those who withhold tithes and offerings? Mal. 3:8, 9; Haggai 1:2-11.

What endorsement does the New Testament give to the system of tithes and offerings? Matt. 23:23; 1 Cor. 9:7-14.

"In the days of Israel the tithe and freewill offerings were needed to maintain the ordinances of divine service. Should the people of God give less in this age? The principle laid down by Christ is that our offerings to God should be in proportion to the light and privileges enjoyed. 'Unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required.' Luke 12:48.... As our blessings and privileges are increased above all, as we have before us the unparalleled sacrifice of the glorious Son of God-should not our gratitude find expression in more abundant gifts toextend to others the message of salvation? The work of the gospel, as it widens, requires greater provision to sustain it than was called for anciently; and this makes the law of tithes and offerings of even more urgent necessity now than under the Hebrew economy."- Patriarchs and Prophets, pp. 528, 529.

With what motives and spirit should we return to the Lord that which He claims? 1 Chron 29:11-16; 2 Cor. 9:6-10.