“Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine. He was priest of God Most High, and he blessed Abram [...]. Then Abram gave him a tenth of everything” (Genesis 14:18-20 NIV).
When the prophet Abram (later Abraham) was traveling home with the riches of battle after warring with a nearby king, he was met by a high priest in the order of God. This priest was Melchizedek, and it was at that time that the Priesthood of Melchizedek was established on the planet.
As soon as Abraham saw Melchizedek, the wisdom of his heart knew he was seeing one who is with God. Abraham knew intuitively that he was to give back 10 percent of all that he had in the world to the representative of God, and so began the practice of tithing.
When Abraham was blessed by Melchizedek and then gave Melchizedek a tenth of everything, a spiritual covenant was set up for our time, whereby humankind is to give a tenth of its increase (what a person receives that is his or hers) back to God.
God, of course, is always fulfilling his part anyway, so the question is, are we lining up, are we fulfilling the covenant?
People sometimes resist this process of giving their tithe. Interestingly, it doesn't belong to you in the first place; you are just restoring it to its rightful owner — God. Historically, people have tended to trust in materiality for their success. Instead of trusting in the Lord for their success, they trust in money or riches. Therefore, they withhold their tithes so they can have a lot more they can trust.
This happened to the Hebrews, who, instead of being a pleasure to the Lord, sometimes turned to their own pleasures and stopped tithing. It wasn't too long before things went awry. When they questioned why, the answer was always that they had forsaken or given up on the Lord and that they had broken God's covenant. Then the people would restore the covenant by tithing; they would start to flourish again, and there would be no war.
Our job is to overcome our lower nature so we can live in the awareness of our Soul. When we tithe to the church or God, we are letting the material world let go of us. So tithing is also part of a spiritual law and assists us in getting free of materialistic confinement.
In Malachi, it is asked, “Will a man rob God? Yet you rob me [...] in tithes and offerings” (Malachi 3:8 NIV). The question is, can God be robbed? No, but his covenant can be broken, and that is robbing God of the covenant. Later on in the same chapter, it is said, “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse [...]. Test me in this [...] and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it” (Malachi 3:10 NIV).
In biblical times, people who tithed often received one hundredfold more than what they had given. When they received their hundredfold, they then gave 10 percent of that.