1 Chronicles 26:20-32 – Things or Tithing: Which Will Give You Peace?

Posted: June 5, 2020 in 13-1 Chronicles

1 Chronicles 26:20-32

Treasurers & Other Officials

It was so amazing to read in here that David and his military commanders gave some of their shares of the plunder from war victories to the Temple. David and his men did this voluntarily. It was not out of obligation. It reminded me as to one of the reasons that David was known as “a man after God’s own heart!” Sure, David had many shortcomings, as do we all, but, man, he gave God glory every chance he got. God was first in his thoughts virtually all the time. The times when he didn’t have God in the forefront of his mind is when David got into trouble. However, it is incidents like this one where his wholehearted pursuit of the Lord shines through. Even when there was an unexpected gain of assets, the first thing he did on the way back to the palace, he dropped off the firstfruits, the best, of what he had gained.

This mindset, in its very practicality, is one that has had more impact on my life than any other. It was when God impressed upon me to live as frugally I could and begin giving Him at least 10% of what income came my way. It was about taking God at His word in obedience. And taking that path has made all the difference in the world. When I began this discussion with the Lord, I was eyeballs deep in debt. He gave me a project then. Get rid of your debts and live more simply. Instead of spending tax refunds and work performance bonuses on frivolous stuff (that might even cause me to go into further debt), He impressed upon me to use those unbudgeted windfalls to pay off completely my maxed out credit cards, old outstanding debts that I had never dealt with, paying off cars, and so on. The burden that was lifted off me in that process was enormous. Once those things were in process, I was able to begin not yet tithing but begin the process of moving toward it. Finally, I was able to begin tithing and more.

The biggest impact of moving into and achieving the ability to tithe was that it changed my focus from earthly possessions toward a simpler lifestyle. An expression around my and Elena’s house now is that our favorite kind of car now is one that is paid for in full. The blessing of tithing and focusing on give God the firstfruits of our labors was not some investment in God with payback thing that a lot of people see it as but rather a change in the priorities of life. We give to God first in our finances. It is not an option to us to encroach on our ability to do that. It reminds us that all of “things” come from Him and that He comes first. We honor Him first and live off the rest. It’s a non-negotiable in our house. And you know what, we have come to not care about having the newest and best things. Sure, if we can get something nice with our disposable income of the 90% or less of what we make that we keep for ourselves, we will do it, but having a brand new car with all the bells and whistles is just not important to us. Having the finest and best when you can’t afford it makes the finest and the best of things your God and not God himself. The peace and contentment that has resulted from putting God first in our finances has resulted in peace beyond measure.

With the changed mindset and living within our means and living more simply, we are able to not only tithe to God through our local church, but there are other amazing benefits of working toward and then achieving and then maintaining living on 90% or less of what you make. First, because we live within our means, we can be generous not only to our church but also in situations that call for it –  a friend in need, a calling from God to give to a particular cause, just the freedom to be able to do that is amazing. Second, it allowed us to have the choice as to whether my wife works outside the home or not. In our society, no matter how you slice it, the wife has the bulk of the care of the home (and the children when they are still at home). It’s just the maternal nature that women have and their innate nature of wanting the home to be an organized and beautiful nest for the family. That my guy pals whether you realize it or not is a huge job in and of itself. Add to that, if your wife has to work outside the home, it’s like having two full-time jobs all your life. When your wife has the CHOICE to work outside the home instead of the REQUIREMENT, then it is a huge burden lifted off her shoulders. My opinion is that we men should arrange our family’s financial life such that if your wife does work outside of the home, it is to create savings for the family not to provide absolutely necessary funds to keep up with the family bills. With us, as part of gaining control of our financial hurricane, my wife and I decided to get to the point where she did not have to work outside the home. The stress of her job and keeping our home and all the other things she does was part of the peace that came with our decisions to get to where we could tithe. It also frees her up now to volunteer in causes that “turn her crank” and to be an integral part of the ministries of our church and to me as a pastor. We don’t see this as sexist. It was a choice we made together. If she had to go back to work, she would have my blessing in that but when we have the choice, she would rather not because of the freedom that she has now to focus on things that matter to her and that matter in eternity. Third, with financial pressure off of us, we were able to downsize our lives financially to the point that I, not just her, could follow what God called me to do but previously could not because of financial pressures. With us living on less and less over time, I was able to follow God’s call into ministry full-time. I could have never have done that without us deciding to work toward tithing over a decade ago. We made the transition because we had prepared for it financially. Can you follow your dream that God is calling you to or are you living off of more than you make and cannot?

I am not saying these things to brag but rather as evidence that if we are indeed obedient to God in putting Him first in our finances then something amazing happens. There is blessing that comes from it. God has never failed to provide for us because we trust Him so much with the firstfruits of our labors, we just trust in that. Also, the greatest blessing is that we no longer make having things the god of our lives. Putting God first in your finances leads you to becoming master of your money and not the other way around. Putting God first lifts the burden of making acquiring things a priority. That’s why that mention of David dropping off plunder at the Temple as part of his returns to Jerusalem from battles struck me. David was obedient in his finances. God came first. Let’s read this passage now, 1 Chronicles 26:20-32, with an eye toward David’s generosity toward God even in unexpected windfalls from war:

20 Their fellow Levites were[a] in charge of the treasuries of the house of God and the treasuries for the dedicated things.

21 The descendants of Ladan, who were Gershonites through Ladan and who were heads of families belonging to Ladan the Gershonite, were Jehieli, 22 the sons of Jehieli, Zetham and his brother Joel. They were in charge of the treasuries of the temple of the Lord.

23 From the Amramites, the Izharites, the Hebronites and the Uzzielites:

24 Shubael, a descendant of Gershom son of Moses, was the official in charge of the treasuries. 25 His relatives through Eliezer: Rehabiah his son, Jeshaiah his son, Joram his son, Zikri his son and Shelomith his son. 26 Shelomith and his relatives were in charge of all the treasuries for the things dedicated by King David, by the heads of families who were the commanders of thousands and commanders of hundreds, and by the other army commanders. 27 Some of the plunder taken in battle they dedicated for the repair of the temple of the Lord. 28 And everything dedicated by Samuel the seer and by Saul son of Kish, Abner son of Ner and Joab son of Zeruiah, and all the other dedicated things were in the care of Shelomith and his relatives.

29 From the Izharites: Kenaniah and his sons were assigned duties away from the temple, as officials and judges over Israel.

30 From the Hebronites: Hashabiah and his relatives—seventeen hundred able men—were responsible in Israel west of the Jordan for all the work of the Lord and for the king’s service. 31 As for the Hebronites, Jeriah was their chief according to the genealogical records of their families. In the fortieth year of David’s reign a search was made in the records, and capable men among the Hebronites were found at Jazer in Gilead. 32 Jeriah had twenty-seven hundred relatives, who were able men and heads of families, and King David put them in charge of the Reubenites, the Gadites and the half-tribe of Manasseh for every matter pertaining to God and for the affairs of the king.

In this passage, which is a rather mundane naming of officials and such, but it does contain an interesting comment about Shelomith in vv.26-28 who was in charge of the things dedicated to the Lord by David and his military commanders. War plunder always belongs to the victorious army, as has been the custom of man throughout history. David and his commanders, though, gave of their portion of the plunder to the house of the Lord to express their dedication to God. Like these commanders, we should view our giving to the Lord as a thanksgiving of sorts to the Lord for providing for us. For David and his men, it was thankfulness for his protection and his guidance that allowed them to have victory. For us, our giving should reflect thanksgiving for God having given us the talent that we have to do our jobs and for making that skill marketable enough for someone to hire us to do it. For us, it should be a similar thanksgiving for God’s ever-present provision, protection, and blessings in our lives.

Are you putting God first in your finances? Are you fretting over how to pay the bills because you have more bills than income? Do you HAVE TO HAVE a car with a six year loan on it? Do you have to have a house that you strain to make the mortgage payment on? Do you have to have a boat? Do you have to have a blow-out vacation every year? Do you have to have these things because something is missing in your life and you need something to fill it? Things never satisfy. Only God does. Try putting God first in your finances and see what happens! Start by beginning to pay off the outstanding debts on your credit cards with any tax refunds or work bonuses you get. Then, pay them off each and every month (that means only charging on them what you can afford to pay off completely at the end of the month). With credit cards under control. Begin paying off assets that devalue over time such as cars. Then when the cars are paid off, start putting aside what you spent on the monthly payments into savings each month. Keep working on these things to the point that your income is under 90% of the husband’s income. As well as you start reducing these fixed costs from your budget, begin giving 1% then 2% then 3% up and up to 10% or more to the Lord through your local church. As we begin to trust God with our money, and fully believe that it is the right thing to do because God said we should, your mindset is changed and God will never forsake you in your trust of Him in this way. He says in the Bible in only one place that we should test Him in something. It is in Malachi 3:10, God says, “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.” That’s the only place in the Bible that God asks us to test him in something. He knew that our finances are often the last thing that we entrust to God’s care. Test Him in this. I promise that He will keep His promises.

Amen and Amen.

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