A Den of Thieves #1

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

“And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves, and said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves” (Matthew 21:12,13 KJV).

Religion will not only rob you of monetary wealth, but spiritual wealth too.

Our Lord Jesus Christ, in today’s Scripture (cf. Mark 11:15-18; Luke 19:45-47), goes into the Temple in Jerusalem. He notices thieves who, in the name of “God,” sell overpriced doves for sacrifices. The term “moneychangers” refers to those who exchange and convert currencies (in other words, Jews from all over the globe are being swindled when they came to the Temple!).

On another occasion, prior to the one of today’s Scripture, Jesus again finds thieves in the Temple (John 2:13-17). In righteous anger (Matthew 5:22 KJV; Ephesians 4:26), Jesus braids a whip and drives them away. He overthrows their tables and pours out their money, sharply rebuking them, “Take these things hence; make not my Father’s house an house of merchandise!”

Shortly after Jesus exposed the extortion in the Temple, “the scribes and chief priests heard it, and sought how they might destroy him” (Mark 11:18). Jesus was “bad for business” indeed—He needed to be silenced!

Sadly, this spiritual robbery occurs today. The “storehouse tithers” quote Malachi 3:8-11 and urge you, “Do not rob God, or He will curse you.” Ironically, they demand you give ten percent of your income, thus robbing you! Rather than explaining to you that you are free in Christ to “cheerfully” give an amount “as [you] purpose in [your] heart” (2 Corinthians 9:7), they place you under the Mosaic Law (tithing). They rob you of your identity in Christ (what Paul calls “spoiling [cheating] you;” Colossians 2:8).

In this the Dispensation of Grace, we give of our resources, but we give willingly as God’s gracenot the Mosaic Law—leads us to give. God’s grace is not against giving—it is against tithing.