Abraham’s covenant begins in Genesis 12, asking him as Abram to take his wife and to move to the land that God is promising to him and his children. His obedience began a long line of blessings and protection for all the generations that were to come. His promise to them was simply this: I will bless you and your children, I will give you lands, and I will make you fruitful and numerous beyond the stars (Gen 12, 15, 17, 26, 28, 35, 49-50). Obedience to God and the practice of circumcision added later on were required of the his line to continue the blessings. Even when they disobey God and sin, He continues to provide for them, fulfilling his end of the bargain, in no way limiting their wealth or growth or demanding anything extra from them.
The last direct descendant of Abraham’s line that we see partake of the same covenant is Joseph, the great grandson of Abraham. Joseph serves as a translator for the interpretation of dreams through God and serves an Egyptian captain of the guard by the name of Potiphar, managing his entire household. God gave Joseph success in whatever he did, especially in managing the prison he was kept in and the Pharaoh’s own palace. He had all the wealth of the Pharaoh’s Kingdom in his hands and lived comfortably as second in command over all of Egypt. He recognizes the Lord in all of his success, as Abraham’s line was asked to do, with no offerings or tithes required. In managing the Pharaoh’s land and country, Joseph has the power to trick and then save his family, moving them all into Egypt with him, where he can protect them. When all the Egyptians have given everything over to Pharaoh for Joseph’s leadership and protection, Joseph gives their land back to them and yields a 20% tax on all the crops grown there, to supply for the Pharaoh and the country.
God promised the line of Abraham to be numerous and fruitful, to bless them in all things, and to take care of them as long as they were obedient to Him and circumcised their children on the 8th day of their birth. They had been promised land and were true to it, Jacob and Joseph making sure to be buried there, rather than Egypt where they had died. When they were unable to have children, they prayed to God, and He cared for them, fulfilling his promise each time. The descendants of Abraham worshipped, erected pillars and altars, and recognized God’s power in all the great acts that they could do. This covenant between them and God is fulfilled in the obedience and faith that they give to Him, and they are blessed immeasurably. When we pick up next week, we will be exploring the beginning of the Mosaic law and how that brought about changes in their relationship. As we move forward, remember this: scripturally, there is no basis for tithing in Abraham’s covenant with God.