And the servant took ten of his master’s camels, and all sorts of good things of his master’s, and went to Mesopotamia, to the town of Nahor. Gen 24:10
It is more than interesting that above verse is verse number 10 in this chapter. Of course I know that there where no chapters and verses in the bible originally, and that is maybe why Paul usually just said: „it is written“. But, Paul, a hint to the book would have been nice. On the other hand, at least I can claim tradition if I do not know chapter and verse of something I am quoting. In that respect: thank you, Paul.
But back to my point. What is so interesting about the number 10?
When you look at the number, you will find that it is associated with tests throughout the bible.
It starts with Abraham. When he had won over the five kings that had taken Lot captive, he met Melchizedek, king of Salem. That is „my righteous and holy king, king of peace“. Does that ring any bells?
Abraham pays the tithe of what he conquered to Melchizedek. It was a test, a test of subordination to a higher. But that is not the only occurrence of the number ten in Abrahams life.
When Abraham lived in Canaan for ten years, Sarai brought Hagar to him and urged him to fulfill God’s promise and prophecy of a son himself. This time, Abraham failed. His faith failed the test – but obviously, God did not draw back his promise.
Abraham, when asking the Lord to save Sodom if he found upright men there, started at fifty, but ended his request at the number 10. If God would find 10 upright men, he would spare Sodom and Gomorrah.
Later, it was Abraham again that sent his servant to find a wife for the son of promise. And the servant took with him 10 camels. It was these camels that the future wife had to give water to so the servant would know that it was her. And her brother asked for a 10 day waiting period before she was to leave. But the servant did not accept that. Test after test.
The same brother changed payments 10 times for Jacob, before Jacob finally had enough. It was 10 brothers of Josef that first went down to Egypt when there was no food in Canaan.
And we just finished Genesis. Look at the rest of the bible, and you will find the 10 plagues in Egypt. 10 commandments. Would Israel listen to the 10 spies? Gideon took 10 servants to bring down the high places of his father during the night, executing God’s assignment. 10 virgins, five foolish and five wise.
Did I make my point?
Even the forty years in the wilderness speak of it. 4 times 10. Or the forty years between Jesus’ death and the destruction of the temple – a test for the Jews whether they would repent and accept the Messiah.
Passing tests at times is vital. Ask any Israelite older than 20 when leaving Egypt. Not to speak of the Jews living in Jerusalem 70 AD.
Sometimes, failing just means additional rounds around a mountain. Just take the test again. Abraham passed the second time around and had his promised son Isaac with the right woman, in God’s plan.
But whether you loose your life or just some time, it is not worth it.
Now think about tithing. God promises that he will open the gates of heaven when we tithe. Jesus and his Kingdom live in us, and it is through us that the Kingdom will come into this world. Thus, we are those gates of heaven. Failing the test prevents the Kingdom to manifest first in our lives and then in our surroundings. Is that worth it?
My advice: pass your tests. What do you think?