Malachi 3:10 MSG
Bring your full tithe to the Temple treasury so there will be ample provisions in my Temple. Test me in this and see if I don’t open up heaven itself to you and pour out blessings beyond your wildest dreams.
When people in the pew hear their pastor quote the above verse they automatically think money. This verse is more than that, it is what we would call a “safety net”. God ordained a “welfare system” that was provided by His own people.
I realize however that today’s society is far removed from those days. Not many people own live stock, and farming is now owned by big corporations not the families in the community. Yet, the plan God has laid out will still work in societies today.
God always provided for his children from the garden of Eden all the way through the early church.
He made a way for the children of Israel through Joseph. Joseph was sold into slavery into Egypt. God began to work and soon Joseph was brought into pharaoh’s palace. The pharaoh had a dream and did not understand the meaning of it. Word got back to the pharaoh that there was one that could tell him the meaning of that dream. Joseph stood before pharaoh and was told the dream. Joseph asked for one night so that God could interpret the dream. Joseph came back and told pharaoh that he saw seven lean cattle and seven fat ones. The meaning was this, that Egypt was to store up wheat during the seven plentiful years so that there would be plenty for the coming seven famine years.
Word began to spread throughout the land and into Israel that there was food in Egypt. Among those that heard this was Joseph’s very own father and brothers. They make the long journey to Egypt to seek refuge from the famine throughout the rest of the land. They stood before Joseph but did not recognize him, though Joseph knew his father and brothers. Joseph made himself known to his family and granted them refuge. The people of God were taken care of because Joseph was given wisdom from God about what to do during the time of plenty. This is just one example of God’s true welfare system.
God gave wisdom the the children of Israel about how they should tithe. They were to give one tenth of their blessing. One out ten from their livestock, one bushel from ten of their wheat, etc.,
Now this bounty was not for the priests of the tabernacle alone. It was to be used to feed all the Israelite’s.
God even gave wisdom to the leaders of how they were to farm their land. They were to rotate their crops and on the seventh year they were to leave it rest. This still works to this day but big business demands otherwise. So the land becomes depleted of all the nutrients needed to bring forth a bountiful crop. The result ends in famine with the land resembling a dust field.
Yes, God’s way are perfect.
The psalmist wrote:
Psalms 37:25 MSG
25 I once was young, now I’m a graybeard— not once have I seen an abandoned believer, or his kids out roaming the streets.
Now go forward to the very early days of the church. They were to sell all and bring it all together so that all of God’s people would be taken care of.
God’s people are told to remember the poor, but, we are living in selfish generation only looking to satisfy our own wants and needs.
Galatians 2: MSG
7 It was soon evident that God had entrusted me with the same message to the non-Jews as Peter had been preaching to the Jews.
9 Recognizing that my calling had been given by God, James, Peter, and John—the pillars of the church—shook hands with me and Barnabas, assigning us to a ministry to the non-Jews, while they continued to be responsible for reaching out to the Jews.
10 The only additional thing they asked was that we remember the poor, and I was already eager to do that.
When I was a pastor I set up within the congregation a pantry so that we could be of assistance when others came upon hard times.
If the body of Christ is to stand during the coming storms it must return to the precepts of God’s true welfare system. The body of Christ is to be God’s hand extended.
Mark 14: MSG
7 You will have the poor with you every day for the rest of your lives. Whenever you feel like it, you can do something for them. Not so with me.
One of the last things Christ taught His disciples was this:
Matthew 25: KJV
35 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:
36 Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.
37 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?
38 When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?
39 Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?
40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
So you can see that yes God created the social safety net. Mankind borrowed the idea from God.
This is God’s true welfare system.