Finances Part II – Paying Tribute to God Most High (Mal 3; Heb 7)

January 18, 2009 in

Last week we had the great privilege of looking at Isaiah 60 and its vision of the restoration, the return from exile that would be accomplished through the instrumentality and power of the Servant of the Lord. When the Lord acted to bring not only Israel but also the nations out of exile, the Servant of the Lord would come and, simultaneously, Zion would be lifted up as the chief of the mountains, as the light of the world. As a result, the nations would stream to Zion, bringing Zion’s sons and daughters home and bringing their wealth as a sign of tribute and loyalty to Zion and, what’s more important, to Zion’s Lord.

Through exploring Isaiah, we found that wealth is viewed in the passage as a gift from God that comes in various shapes and sizes. Further, we found that this wealth is part of the worship which we offer up in tribute to the Triune God. The loyalty that we once showed to other gods by offering our tribute to them, we now display toward the living God by bringing our tribute to Him. When we come to worship each Lord’s Day, we don’t come bringing merely our spirits or our thoughts, we come bringing our whole selves – including our labor and the produce thereof.

But this raises the question, does it not, what portion of that which we produce is to be brought to Zion? How exactly do we go about paying tribute, manifesting our loyalty to the Lord? There are many things which modern culture, even Christian culture sad to say, has forgotten. Among them is the principle of paying tribute. How do we do this? What exactly does it mean to bring our wealth into Zion? How much should we bring?

Finances Part I – The Wealth of the Gentiles (Is 60; Psalm 112)

January 11, 2009 in

Next week our congregation is going to begin instituting a new practice in our liturgy – the practice of bringing our tithes and offerings forward during the course of our worship. But the question arises – why do such a thing? Why include our tithes and offerings in our service of worship?

It is to begin answering this question that I want to bring us back to Isaiah 60 this morning. Why? Because Isaiah 60 gives us a vision of what will happen when Zion is lifted up to become the light of the world. Throughout Isaiah, a number of things are said both about what will be coming out of Zion when she is lifted up and what will be coming to her. For example, in Isaiah 2 we are told that when Zion is lifted up, God’s law will come forth from her. Later we are told that righteousness and praise will spring forth from Zion. These are the things that will be coming forth from Zion. But what will be making its way to Zion? What will the nations of the world bring to Zion as they are drawn to her light? It is this question that is answered in Isaiah 60 and that is sung about in Psalm 112.