THE FIRST OF THE LAND OF PROMISE
Joshua 6 & 7 – The story of the fulfillment of the land God promised to Israel begins in Joshua 6 when God detailed how they were to begin the conquest. The first-fruit of the land was to be the fortified city of Jericho, the first city conquered in Canaan.
1. The command – When God finally brought Israel to the boundary of Canaan, He commanded them to take the fortified city of Jericho and utterly destroy it. The words God used were. “…the city and all that is in it are to be devoted (“accursed” in the KJV) to the LORD.” (Joshua 6:17). This act dedicated the first victory entirely to God.
2. The consequences for disobedience – God was establishing the principle of “the first” with the new generation of warriors and clearly stated the consequences for disobeying His command in Joshua 6…
- Joshua 6:18-19 “But keep away from the devoted things, so that you will not bring about your own destruction by taking any of them. Otherwise you will make the camp of Israel liable to destruction and bring trouble on it. All the silver and gold and the articles of bronze and iron are sacred to the LORD and must go into his treasury.” This was actually carried out when Achan kept back a portion of the spoils (Joshua 7).
3. The blessing for obedience – This is seen in the promise to Joshua & Israel in Joshua 1:1-5 where God literally would give them the Land of Promise, a very large area! But it had to be carried out His way.
God has given us a powerful principle by which to govern our finances and experience His Divine abundance! This is found in the last Old Testament book of Malachi.
“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 you will not have room enough for it. I will prevent pests from devouring your crops, and the vines in your fields will not cast their fruit,” says the LORD Almighty. “Then all the nations will call you blessed, for yours will be a delightful land,” says the LORD Almighty. Malachi 3:10-12
1. The Tithe begins with a clear understanding of the following basic principles:
God is the Owner of all things, I am the manager over what He has given me. (Luke 6:46-49; Psalm 24:1)
God is Number One and He deserves the very best. When I give the “firstfruit,” or first ten percent of my income, I am declaring that He deserves the very best and that He is the Source of everything. (Proverbs 3:9; Malachi 1:6)
I cannot outgive God (2 Corinthians 9:6)
2. The word “tithe” means a tenth. Less than ten percent is not a tithe and anything over and above ten percent is an offering. The tithe is a fixed percentage that does not change.
3. The tithe is that portion which already belongs to God (Leviticus 27:30; Malachi 3:7-8). When we tithe we are giving back to Him that which is already His.
4. The tithe was in existence before the Law. Abraham and Jacob tithed (Genesis 14:18-20; 2:20-22) and Jesus endorsed it as a standing, Biblical principle which was in effect before the Mosaic Law (Matthew 23:23).
5. Holding back the Tithe is actually robbing God (Malachi 3:8). The Lord makes a strong statement in Malachi 3:8, saying that to hold back the tithe is actually “robbing” Him. (John 10:1, 10; 12:6) The consequences of this behavior was illustrated in the account of Achan as he kept back a portion of the spoils from Jericho in Joshua 7.
6. God uses the Tithe as an instrument to pour out His abundance to us (Malachi 3:10). He actually invites us to prove His Word and then experience blessing to such a degree that “there will not be room enough to receive it.”
7. The Lord promises to protect our assets and belongingness (Malachi 3:11). God promises divine protection as part of His covenant regarding your tithe. If we are faithful to give God the tithe, God will be be faithful to protect all your other assets!
…The LORD will open the heavens, the storehouse of his bounty, to send rain on your land in season and to bless all the work of your hands. You will lend to many nations but will borrow from none. The LORD will make you the head, not the tail. If you pay attention to the commands of the LORD your God that I give you this day and carefully follow them, you will always be at the top, never at the bottom. Deuteronomy 28:1-14
Matthew 6:31-33 “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.”
1. Am I willing to enter into a partnership with God and to dedicate to Him a tithe of my income so that I can experience His bountiful supply?