What happens when God’s people step into revival? When they return in full surrender to the God they love?
The people of Nehemiah signed a covenant before God in their season of national revival, and here is one of the first things they did:
… that they might bring the first fruits of our ground and the first fruits of all the fruit of every tree to the house of the LORD annually, and bring to the house of our God the firstborn of our sons and of our cattle, and the firstborn of our herds and our flocks as it is written in the law, for the priests who are ministering in the house of our God.
We will also bring the first of our dough, our contributions, the fruit of every tree, the new wine and the oil to the priests at the chambers of the house of our God, and the tithe of our ground to the Levites, for the Levites are they who receive the tithes in all the rural towns. The priest, the son of Aaron, shall be with the Levites when the Levites receive tithes, and the Levites shall bring up the tenth of the tithes to the house of our God, to the chambers of the storehouse (Nehemiah 10:35-38 NASB).
This is a principle throughout the Word of God and among God’s people throughout history: When God’s people walk with Him, they are compelled in their hearts to honor Him from all that they have, by bringing the best and the first to His storehouse for His purposes! They joyfully recognize God’s sovereignty over their lives and all they possess.
A Truth Throughout the Bible
Some think this is just an Old Testament practice. But Jesus assumes that His people will bring a tenth (which is what the word tithe literally means) to God’s storehouse. When commenting to the Pharisees about their abuses in tithing, Jesus said, “These are the things you should have done,” i.e., “I’m assuming you’re tithing, but you must do it in the right spirit” (Matthew 23:23).
And it makes perfect sense that we would give God the FIRST of everything. It is a blessed reminder every week to us of His provision (because it all comes from Him), and a simple and deliberate way to advance His work. And, He PROMISES to take care of us if we will honor Him first from our money and possessions:
“Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house, and test Me now in this,” says the LORD of hosts, “if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you a blessing until it overflows” (Malachi 3:10).
Honor the LORD from your wealth and from the first of all your produce; so your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will overflow with new wine (Proverbs 3:9).
A Present-Day Testimony
Several years ago, during an unusual season of revival in the church I pastor, God met with us every night for five weeks. Three to four hours a night we gathered spontaneously for teaching, testimony, prayer, response, and worship. It was not organized by anyone other than the Holy Spirit, and He organized it beautifully and effectively.
One of the first signs of His supernatural work in our midst was spontaneous, hilarious giving. Any and every need was met. Tithing was quickly embraced or re-established for those who had abandoned it along the way, without it being taught or mentioned.
We actually came to a point, about two weeks in, where to the best of our knowledge there was “not a needy person among them” in our church family, just as in Acts 4:34. It was the immediate response of revived hearts.
Don’t miss this blessed first step of first-fruits giving in your teaching and your practice. It is one of the initial indicators of a revived heart!