What is the meaning of Deuteronomy 14:26? Does God allow the tithe and offering to be used in buying whatever our souls desire, including alcohol?
Let us read the verse:
Deuteronomy 14:26 says, "And thou shalt bestow that money for whatsoever thy soul lusteth after, for oxen, or for sheep, or for wine, or for strong drink, or for whatsoever thy soul desireth: and thou shalt eat there before the LORD thy God, and thou shalt rejoice, thou, and thine household,"
To answer this question, I like to bring forward 4 Important points:
1. It is always important to look at the context of a certain passage before drawing any conclusion. When studied carefully, we will see that this is actually talking about the second tithe.
We'll compare Deuteronomy chapter 14 verse 22 with verse 29:
Deuteronomy 14:22 Thou shalt truly tithe all the increase of thy seed, that the field bringeth forth year by year.
Deuteronomy 14:29 And the Levite, (because he hath no part nor inheritance with thee,) and the stranger, and the fatherless, and the widow, which are within thy gates, shall come, and shall eat and be satisfied; that the LORD thy God may bless thee in all the work of thine hand which thou doest.
The first tithe is given to the Levite only:
Num 18:21 And, behold, I have given the children of Levi all the tenth in Israel for an inheritance, for their service which they serve, even the service of the tabernacle of the congregation.
The second tithe is given to the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow also:
Deuteronomy 26:12 When thou hast made an end of tithing all the tithes of thine increase the third year, which is the year of tithing, and hast given it unto the Levite, the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, that they may eat within thy gates, and be filled;
Deuteronomy 26:13 Then thou shalt say before the LORD thy God, I have brought away the hallowed things out of mine house, and also have given them unto the Levite, and unto the stranger, to the fatherless, and to the widow, according to all thy commandments which thou hast commanded me: I have not transgressed thy commandments, neither have I forgotten them:
Deuteronomy 26:14 I have not eaten thereof in my mourning, neither have I taken away ought thereof for any unclean use, nor given ought thereof for the dead: but I have hearkened to the voice of the LORD my God, and have done according to all that thou hast commanded me.
2. The money intended for the second tithe is not used just anywhere, it should be used where God intended it to be.
God designated a place where this is done:
Deuteronomy 14:23 And thou shalt eat before the LORD thy God, in the place which he shall choose to place his name there, the tithe of thy corn, of thy wine, and of thine oil, and the firstlings of thy herds and of thy flocks; that thou mayest learn to fear the LORD thy God always.
If traveling with herds and other forms of offering would be difficult, the people were permitted to turn it into money or cash then it will be used to buy whatever offering they desire to give once they arrive.
Deuteronomy 14:24 And if the way be too long for thee, so that thou art not able to carry it; or if the place be too far from thee, which the LORD thy God shall choose to set his name there, when the LORD thy God hath blessed thee:
Deuteronomy 14:25 Then shalt thou turn it into money, and bind up the money in thine hand, and shalt go unto the place which the LORD thy God shall choose:
3. God is talking to His faithful people and He assumes that they will not spend money for evil desires.
Psalms 37:4 Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.
4. The strong drink herein is intended to be poured out, not to be drunk. The alcoholic drink indicated in the passage is intended for offering and not for drunkenness.
Numbers 28:7 And the drink offering thereof shall be the fourth part of an hin for the one lamb: in the holy place shalt thou cause the strong wine to be poured unto the LORD for a drink offering.