Have you ever been wrecked by God through a passage of Scripture? In Genesis 28:10-22 ( yes, Old Testament) Jacob encounters God at Bethel (Jacob’s ladder experience). I am not going to get into it all, although there is so much, but I wanted to share this part regarding the Tithe and the Covenant of Grace.
Jacob Rests His Head on a Stone
Jacob comes to a certain place on the way to Haran, and as night falls, he takes for himself a stone to rest his head for the night (that’s a little odd right there considering there are plenty of other more comfortable things to rest your head on at night but…) Unexpectedly, he has a dream of a ladder where angels are ascending and descending (changing of the guard so to speak).
A Personal Invitation to Covenant
In this dream, God calls down to him and invites him into covenant with Him. In a sense, this is the time in Jacob’s life where God is inviting him into a personal covenant with Himself and not just the God of his father’s. He had experienced what a covenant relationship looked like, second hand, through the life of his father. Now it was time for him to step out into his own relationship and into covenant with his God.
Jacob Makes a Covenant with God
When Jacob awakes, he takes the stone, which he had rested on, and erects a pillar. Pouring oil over it, he pronounces that this place shall be called Bethel, the House of God. He makes a vow that if God will provide for his needs and bring him back to his father’s house in peace then his father’s God shall be his God. Additionally, he declares, like his father’s before (Abrahamic covenant of grace/ pre Law), that he will give a tenth of all he receives.
Postured to Receive in Trust
Not only does he believe he is going to receive because he had experienced covenant with God through his father, but he is showing his allegiance and trust that God will meet all his needs. There was no gun to his head. This was not a “give to get his needs met” covenant. He did not enter into law. He actually stepped into grace and postured his heart to receive from a promise keeping God. A God who would not only care for him, but increase him, because His nature is to increase and multiply. Jacob was making His father’s God, His God. He was entering into that covenant of grace and rest.
Headship of Trust
This is the part that blows my mind. God is our rock and head. Jacob placed the stone that he had rested his head on and made it a pillar to his God. He was dethroning himself and his trust in mammon (getting his own needs met, his way) and placed God at the headship of trust. He had known what God was capapble of in covenant, but wanted to try it his own way. It was at Bethel that he surrendered. Not surprisinly, the angels and the changing of the guard was part of the promise. Jacob would need different angels for this season… but that’s another post.
Covenant of Rest
Entering into rest is resting on our Rock, the head. We don’t have to scramble around trying to get our needs met. We are not orphans, but loved sons and daughters of the King of all kings. The tithe was part of the Abrahamic covenant of grace and trust that all we have comes from God. We are grafted into that covenant. We honor God by giving our tithe back to Him, showing our allegiance and trust that He will meet all our needs. It’s a heart posture of showing our heart is not trusting in money or man, but in God.
Giving our Tithe Brings Rest
If I don’t give, it doesn’t mean a curse will come upon me. It doesn’t make God angry at me. The issue is in my own heart, not God’s. It means I have stepped outside of the covenant of trust and am trusting myself or mammon to get my own needs met. I have dethroned God in that area of my heart, and removed the stone of headship that I rested my head on. Giving the tithe is entering into rest. It really has nothing to do with money, but rather an intimacy issue of where we place our trust.
God has entered into a covenant with us. He is a generous God that wants us to get our eyes off of our needs and onto building His kingdom. In covenant, we take care of what is on God’s heart, trusting He will take care of what is on ours.