Now when all this was finished, all Israel who were present went out to the cities of Judah and broke in pieces the pillars and cut down the Asherim and broke down the high places and the altars throughout all Judah and Benjamin, and in Ephraim and Manasseh, until they had destroyed them all. Then all the people of Israel returned to their cities, every man to his possession.
And Hezekiah appointed the divisions of the priests and of the Levites, division by division, each according to his service, the priests and the Levites, for burnt offerings and peace offerings, to minister in the gates of the camp of the Lord and to give thanks and praise. The contribution of the king from his own possessions was for the burnt offerings: the burnt offerings of morning and evening, and the burnt offerings for the Sabbaths, the new moons, and the appointed feasts, as it is written in the Law of the Lord. And he commanded the people who lived in Jerusalem to give the portion due to the priests and the Levites, that they might give themselves to the Law of the Lord. As soon as the command was spread abroad, the people of Israel gave in abundance the firstfruits of grain, wine, oil, honey, and of all the produce of the field. And they brought in abundantly the tithe of everything. And the people of Israel and Judah who lived in the cities of Judah also brought in the tithe of cattle and sheep, and the tithe of the dedicated things that had been dedicated to the Lord their God, and laid them in heaps. In the third month they began to pile up the heaps, and finished them in the seventh month. When Hezekiah and the princes came and saw the heaps, they blessed the Lord and his people Israel. And Hezekiah questioned the priests and the Levites about the heaps. Azariah the chief priest, who was of the house of Zadok, answered him, “Since they began to bring the contributions into the house of the Lord, we have eaten and had enough and have plenty left, for the Lord has blessed his people, so that we have this large amount left.” 2 Chronicles 31:1-10.
I don’t think it’s an accident that after all the idols we’re destroyed that the people could suddenly afford to support the ministry. Hezekiah sees all these heaps of offerings and says, “Where did all this come from?” Well, the people have been bringing it, but the unasked question is, why weren’t they bringing it before?
It is hard to say how much of this largesse was going to false gods and why. But Hezekiah had organized the priests and Levites in such a way that people could see that ministry was being done. And that may have inspired the people to believe they were not just supporting a class of layabouts.
In 38 years of being a member of many churches, I have observed the following:
- Where thy preach tithes and offerings, they get them and have plenty.
- Where ministry is well organized, and people can see this, they have plenty.
- Wherever people insist that tithing has passed away, or ignore the subject, they are broke.
Strong leadership does not drive people away, it inspires them.