The first time the Bible speaks of tithing was after Abram, or later Abraham, won a battle. In Genesis chapter 14 it tells that there were 4 kings who were tough on everyone around them. There were 5 kings who finally got tired of this, so they went to war against the 4 stronger kings in the Valley of Siddim, or the Dead Sea Valley. But the 4 kings whipped up on the 5 kings. But they didn’t just stop there; they went to their towns, stole their possessions and took their people captive. But that was their mistake. Abram’s nephew Lot was among those who lost their possessions and was taken captive, because he lived in Sodom.
A person who had escaped this mess went to Abram to tell him this news. This, of course, did not sit well with Abram. Abram was not known as a warrior, but it looks like he was a man who was ready just in case. Abram got 318 of his own trained men to pursue the 4 kings. When Abram’s forces caught up to them, he gave the whipping right back to them. Abram was not only able to free Lot and his possessions but also the rest of the captives and goods.
It was upon Abram’s return that he met with the losing king of Lot’s town, the king of Sodom. There was another king present who had nothing to do with these battles. This was Melchizedek, the king of Salem, who was also the high priest. Salem, by the way, is believed to later become Jerusalem. Melchizedek realized that it was God who was with Abram to provide this mighty victory. In Gen 14:18-20 we read “Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine. He was priest of God Most High,and he blessed Abram, saying, “Blessed be Abram by God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth.And praise be to God Most High, who delivered your enemies into your hand.” Then Abram gave him a tenth of everything.”
Abram went into this fight just to rescue his nephew and God gave Abram a mighty victory over some powerful kings. Abram in turn wanted to honor God with a tenth of the goods that he got from the victory over the bad kings. There is no recording of a tithe before this. God had not stated how much people were to give Him. But Abram, out of the thankfulness in his heart, wanted to give this 10% to the Lord.
In doing this, Abram set the standard for us by which we can judge if we are giving our financial dues unto the Lord. Abram did not give this because he became more prosperous. No, Abram gave this tithe because he was thankful that God gave him this victory and he was able to rescue his nephew. We also need to be giving our tithes & offerings because God gives us even little victories in life, He is always with us and He provides for our needs. We also have our salvation, which is an eternal benefit; we live in a nation where we can freely attend church to worship God; we have access to inexpensive, clean drinking water as well as many other things that we take for granted. May we give our tithes and offerings back to the Lord because we can see that God loves us and that He provides for our daily needs.