6 Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: may they prosper who love you. 7 Peace be within your walls, prosperity within your palaces.” 8 For the sake of my brethren and companions, I will now say, “Peace be with you.” 9 Because of the house of the Lord our God I will seek your good.
KING DAVID calls for the people to pray for the beloved city of Jerusalem and for peace within its walls and prosperity in its palaces. He points to the tabernacle of the Lord, the focal point of the city. In Jerusalem, the pilgrims were told to seek the peace of the city. David, too, declares that because Jerusalem is the center for worship as established by God, he will strive for what is good for the house of the Lord, and in turn, for the city. We see that seeking the good of God’s house will bless our own! The most important entity in the world is a Bible-teaching church. A godly, prosperous church will be a blessing to the city in which it exists and a blessing to the believers.
Part of the worship during the feast days was to bring an offering as an expression of thanksgiving to the Lord. In a farm community such as Israel, animal, grain, wine, and oil would be offered and were the equivalent of the giving of our money today. A lot of people disdain the idea of giving money to a church, and no wonder. There are many charlatans out there who are fleecing the “flock.” But we can’t allow liars and thieves to rob us of the blessing of being obedient to the Lord in this. The prophet Malachi, in the Old Testament, wrote: “Will a man rob God? Yet you have robbed Me! But you say, ‘In what way have we robbed You?’ In tithes and offerings. You are cursed with a curse, for you have robbed Me. . . . Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house, and try Me now in this,’ says the Lord of hosts. . . .” (3:8-12).
Many debate over whether tithing is a New Testament principle. In Second Corinthians we read, “He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. . . . God loves a cheerful giver” (9:6-7). Isn’t this the principle in Malachi? God blesses the houses of those who strive to bless His. “The word of the Lord came by Haggai the prophet, saying, ‘Now, therefore . . . consider your ways! You have sown, and bring little; you eat, but do not have enough; you drink, but you are not filled with drink; you clothe yourselves, but no one is warm; and he who earns wages, earns wages to put into a bag with holes.’ Thus says the Lord of hosts: Consider your ways! . . . You looked for much, but indeed it came to little; and when you brought it home, I blew it away. Why?’ says the Lord of hosts. ‘Because of My house that is in ruins, while ever one of you runs to his own house’” (Hag 1:3-9).
We see here that giving is a principle, not an amount. Does God deserve top priority when it comes to our finances? He does! Since a Bible-teaching church is an asset in the community, and since there is a unity within the body that passes understanding and guards the hearts and minds through Jesus Christ, isn’t that something worth striving for—to seek the good for the benefit of the community? And we will be blessed by God for doing so!
There’s no place like home. Nothing compares to God’s house and His people. He has spoken, and He does not change. We are the church. We’re called to go to church and also to support the church, because there is no place like our (church) home. May we seek to bless our churches, our fellowships, and in so doing may we recognize the blessing of the Lord in our lives, because nobody can out-bless God, and one day we’ll all be with Him forever in our permanent homes that He has been preparing for us since Jesus ascended into heaven!
Excerpt from “Beside Still Waters” now available on Amazon.