a difficult situation, tribute to God,
Everyone can agree that their belongings should not be taken by anyone without their permission – it is even punishable by law. The question is, can the same judgement be accepted when people take what belongs to God?
The people of Israel faced a difficult situation when they allowed the Ark of the Covenant – the artefact that symbolised God’s presence on earth – to be captured by the Philistines after being defeated in battle. The Philistines took the Ark believing that it would bring them good fortune. However, they were struck with tumours and a plague of rats. For seven months, they tried to keep the Ark, but their people and economy continued to suffer. They finally recognised that they had made a mistake by taking what belonged to God and decided to hand it back to the Israelites.
‘So they said, “If you send away the ark of the God of Israel, do not send it empty”’ (1 Samuel 6:3)
They delivered the Ark at Beth Shemesh, at the border between the two countries. They also paid tribute to God by offering five golden images of tumours and rats as recognition that it was He who had struck them. Immediately, they were free from their plagues. They were blessed after they recognised that what belonged to God had to be returned to Him.
In the month of July, we will take the names of all the tithers to Beth Shemesh; the same place where the plague of the Philistines came to an end. In a likely manner, tithers believe in returning to God the first fruits of their labour as recognition that He is first in their lives. We will ask God to cease the problems that have plagued the lives of the faithful tithers just as He did when the Philistines returned to belonged to Him.
Event: Feast of the First Fruits at Beth Shemesh
Date: Sunday 1–7 July
Location: Your local UCKG HelpCentre
*Tithers are people who understand God’s sovereignty over them and acknowledge that everything God gives them came from His hands in the first place. That is why they return to Him one-tenth of their earnings in obedience to His Word. If you are not yet a tither, or you want to know more about tithing, speak to a pastor at any one of our addresses or call our helpline on 020 7686 6000.