Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Theonomy at its finest

Came across this yesterday in my reading:
You shall surely tithe all the produce from what you sow, which comes out of the field every year.

You shall eat in the presence of the LORD your God, at the place where He chooses to establish His name, the tithe of your grain, your new wine, your oil, and the firstborn of your herd and your flock, so that you may learn to fear the LORD your God always.

If the distance is so great for you that you are not able to bring the tithe, since the place where the LORD your God chooses to set His name is too far away from you when the LORD your God blesses you,

then you shall exchange it for money, and bind the money in your hand and go to the place which the LORD your God chooses.

You may spend the money for whatever your heart desires: for oxen, or sheep, or wine, or strong drink, or whatever your heart desires; and there you shall eat in the presence of the LORD your God and rejoice, you and your household.

--Deuteronomy 14:22-26 (NASB)

Ok, so the contingency plan for tithing was to party down? Can we revive this practice? If that was the contingency plan, what was normal tithing like? It sounds more like having a feast than paying a tax. Hm. I suppose there wasn't much else for it to go toward, though. The next verse goes on to remind Isrealites to take care of the Levites (the "clergy"), and I suppose there wasn't much of a utility bill for the churches...

5 comments:

Ryan said...

"Normal" tithing involved bringing all your stuff to Jerusalem and having a party there. This "contingency" was in case you couldn't make it for whatever reason.

My favorite verse from the passage is definitely verse 27, which indicates that not only are you supposed to throw a massive party, but you're also supposed to invite your local priest, cause he can't throw a party of his own.

That's a covenant I can get excited about.

Becca said...

So Baptist pot lucks are just old-fashioned tithing! (Minus the "wine and strong drink," of course...)

tithe said...

from my studies that i have done on tithing, i've come to the conclusion that the tithe was given once a year. 2 out of 3 years it was used for a feast. the third year which is called the year of the tithe, it was given to the priest. Many people argue about how often the tithe was given, but i figured the simplest way to put it is, how many times do you tithe from your increase paycheck? http://churchtithesandofferings.com

The Bard said...

I always figured Baptists were right when they added potlucks as a sacrement!

Kidding aside, I see something important here beyond a specific philosophy or method of tithing which may or many not translate from Old Testament Israel into today. This passage also teaches us something about a philosophy of pleasure. I see it as a rebuke to the Jim Bergian viewpoint (or a harsh monastic viewpoint) that pleasure is somehow automatically bad and asceticism puts someone on a higher spiritual plane.

Becca said...

*stands and applauds*