Jericho was the first of 10 cities mentioned by name that Israel conquered. In Jericho the people were not allowed to plunder any of the silver, gold, bronze or iron. These items were set apart to go into the treasury of the Lord. (Joshua 6:19) However, in each of the other nine cities the people could keep the plunder for themselves. The first 10% (1 of 10 cities) belonged to God but the people could have the other 90%. Jericho was a “tithe” of the promised land.
The Hebrew word which describes these “set apart” things carries the idea of something “cursed and devoted to destruction” – sacrificed to God. One man kept some of the items that belonged to the Lord and the curse (like a disease) that was upon them spread to him, his household and the entire nation. Read the sad tale of Achan in Joshua 7.
Call me legalistic but I have always taken this as a warning regarding my tithe. God says that the first 10% is His. It is set apart for destruction, “cursed and devoted” to the Lord. If I hold onto an item infected with a deadly disease, the item does not become clean but my hands become infected and the disease will likely come on me. The tithe is like this – cursed, infected, set apart for God. I am always careful to get rid of it. Get it to God as soon as I can.
Call me legalistic but getting the cursed thing out of my house has worked well for me all these years.
“Will a man rob God? Yet you rob me. “But you ask, `How do we rob you?’ “In tithes and offerings. You are under a curse—the whole nation of you—because you are robbing me.
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