October 24 – Hebrews 7:4-10. Levi Paid a Tithe.

Monday, October 24, 2011

October 24 – Hebrews 7:4-10. Levi Paid a Tithe.

Just think how great he was: Even the patriarch Abraham gave him a tenth of the plunder! Now the law requires the descendants of Levi who become priests to collect a tenth from the people—that is, from their fellow Israelites—even though they also are descended from Abraham. This man, however, did not trace his descent from Levi, yet he collected a tenth from Abraham and blessed him who had the promises. And without doubt the lesser is blessed by the greater. In the one case, the tenth is collected by people who die; but in the other case, by him who is declared to be living. One might even say that Levi, who collects the tenth, paid the tenth through Abraham, because when Melchizedek met Abraham, Levi was still in the body of his ancestor.

Sometimes there is nothing more difficult to understand than the words of a scholar.  I get so tired of reading some of these textbooks.  Authors are way too caught up in competition with their peers to outwrite each other.  They have to sound so terribly brilliant to gain any respect.

On the other hand, I believe that it just isn’t that difficult to get your message across.  Write it well, write it succinctly, write it clearly.

Anyway, the author of Hebrews had a point to make.  And he was quite the orator.  He got started and words just kept flowing out of his pen (or whatever he used to write words on parchment).  All he needed to say here was that the Levites were to collect a tenth from the other tribes so that they could live.  They weren’t supposed to work the ground or raise livestock or engage in trade.  They were supposed to care for the religious needs of their people.  God set it into place that they would collect a tenth from everyone – that way things would be pretty close to fair.

Well, long before the Levites even existed, Abraham offered a tenth to Melchizedek, a priest of God.  In a roundabout way, Hebrews tells us that Levi paid that tenth to Melchizedek – since in a very, very, very, very long distant relationship … Levi was in the body of his ancestor.  Levi – the lesser of the relationship was blessed by the greater – Melchizedek.

Stick with me, this is all going to wrap up here soon.