DAVID AND ARAUNAH
As Mr. Armstrong was busy flying around the world performing his mission to preach the gospel to all nations, the infamous doctrinal committee was busy creating a tithing booklet. The result was published in 1975 and sent out to all Baptized members and available to anyone who requested it. Mixed among some sound principles was a select set of ways to systematically fleece the sheep! For example, it is made clear that a person had no obligation to tithe from an inheritance, but the booklet stressed that a person ought to perhaps give a generous offering from it. This seemed like the correct view, but did you know that our God would not have accepted any donation from such unearned income?
Our guide to this little understood principal is hidden in a story involving King David. A quick look at the last chapter of 2nd Samuel details a story of a man named Araunah who offered to David free of charge everything needed for David to make an offering to God to allay a plague on Israel. Araunah wanted to give a generous offering to David for this purpose, but what did David say? He said, “No: but I will buy it of you at market price, for I will not offer to God that which comes to me as a free gift!” David paid this man full price, then made the prescribed offering, which God accepted. How did David know that it was an offense to offer God a portion of something that would have been attained without cost?
David certainly learned from his predecessor King Saul, who was faced with similar circumstances. Saul was going to make offerings from animals taken as booty in a battle, but Samuel came to Saul and told him that for his disobedience, he would be rejected as King. David had a very good teacher in Saul about how not to make an offering to God. He no doubt also understood the underlying problem with Cain’s offering, as compared to Abel’s. You see, Abel brought an offering from the best animals in his own flock, but Cain brought something less than the best of some produce, and maybe not even from his own efforts, but possibly something picked up on his way to make the offering! The principal is that one must offer to God something that came to them at a price, not from someone else’s productive efforts. This trumped anyone’s desire to give a generous offering from unearned income, as purported by the 1975 booklet!
In the former days, many brethren heeded the booklet, and gave very generously from their inheritances and other unearned blessings. This is one reason why I said in my previous article that the brethren may have been innocent of failure to pay enough to the treasury of the Church. Many brethren likely paid too much, as King David’s example teaches us, though greedy men eagerly accepted any offering! These greedy men were subsequently rejected as leaders, just like Saul was!