Thursday, April 10, 2008

Freedom Finance: First

Joshua’s final instructions before the battle tasted like ice cream with pepper sprinkled on top. He promised them victory but told them to leave the rewards behind.

The army was perched in enemy territory, vulnerable and untested, anxious for a victory over this fortress. The riches taken in battle would help the army pay for the food and provisions needed to complete the sweep.

But their general withheld those riches.

Instead, Joshua declared all the gold, silver, bronze and iron were for the Lord’s treasury. What if they ran short of food before the conquest? What if they couldn’t complete the maneuvers without provision? Joshua assured them the victory was the Lord’s – and so were the riches.

Through Joshua, God laid out a powerful principle: the first is his. That’s the tenet of tithing. I have friends who pay the bills and then see if there’s anything left for God. There usually isn’t.

God says, trust me. See if I’ll take care of you. To the Israelite army about to enter the Promised Land, the thought of forgoing those first riches in Jericho could have meant they wouldn’t have enough money for their month, so to speak.

But they obeyed. And there was enough food and provisions for the conquest.

Tithing is an attitude: do I trust God’s commands? Do I trust his provisions? Can I give over to him what he’s given to me anyway?

Freedom finances depend on my attitude more than my checkbook. Whom do I trust?

Pay your tithe first, right off the top, and see what God can do with an obedient submitted life.

Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go."

Josh 1:9

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