How Did Jacob
Learn About Tithing
The story of Jacob is interesting to say the least. He was one of only two children (twin brothers) born to Isaac. Technically he was the younger of the two having been born second. This meant the family blessings and responsibility would, by right, pass on to his brother, Esau. In the case of this family the blessing involved more than just material wealth. It involved promises from God to their descendants for many generations to come. They were to be God’s chosen nation and to serve special spiritual purposes.
Jacob’s story is a bit long to tell in one post but the bottom line is, through manipulation, intrigue and deception he received the blessing rather than his brother Esau. There were many problems in the family none of which could be thoroughly investigated here but suffice it to say that no one in the family represented a truly spiritual giant. Jacob, we must believe, did have a heart that was more responsive to God. He had expressed a desire for the birthright while Esau was indifferent to it (Gen. 25:29-34; Heb. 12:15-17).
The event caused a lot of friction in the family. In fact, Esau was so upset it was his intention to kill his brother (Gen. 27:41). Before that could happen, however, Jacob was sent away to Rebekah’s family in Haran to allow time for Esau to cool off and it was also the right place for Jacob to find a wife (Gen. 27:42-28:6).
What I have just described was all done on a human level but what was done on a human level was ratified on a divine level not long after Jacob received the blessing. The first night away from home Jacob had a dream in which God confirmed the blessing to Jacob. It was a very sobering experience for Jacob. Waking up from this dream he acknowledged God in several ways one of which was a promise to tithe. He even acknowledged God as the One from whom every thing he received would come. Jacob said,
…And of all that You will give me I will surely give the tenth unto thee. (Gen. 28:22)
Now, the question is, where did Jacob learn about tithing. There is nothing in Genesis 28, which indicates he had received instructions regarding this issue. The truth is, he learned it from his father, Isaac, who had learned from his father, Abraham, and Abraham had no doubt learned it from others. Tithing was the normal, usual, standard way any serious minded person could honor God on a material basis.
What was true for Jacob is still true for us today. Any serious minded person looking to relate to God will have no problem bringing their wallet into the relationship. And they won’t balk at tithing. It’s reasonable and sensible.
In Tithing, Douglas Leblanc provides much more than a narrow discussion on a traditional issue. It isn’t the same old arguments presented the same boringly technical way.
Instead, and probably because he admits to being “no theologian or exegetical writer,” Douglas has found an intriguing way to cut to the real heart of the issue – compassion and concern for others. He shares the experiences of twelve different homes, mostly couples with the exception of one lone Monsignor, all of whom endorse tithing for a very similar reason: selflessness.