PAYMENT OF TAX
After Jesus and his disciples arrived in Capernaum, the collectors of the two-drachma temple tax came to Peter and asked, “Doesn’t your teacher pay the temple tax?” “Yes, he does,” he replied. When Peter came into the house, Jesus was the first to speak. “What do you think, Simon?” he asked. “From whom do the kings of the earth collect duty and taxes—from their own children or from others?” “From others,” Peter answered. “Then the children are exempt,” Jesus said to him. “But so that we may not cause offense, go to the lake and throw out your line. Take the first fish you catch; open its mouth and you will find a four-drachma coin. Take it and give it to them for my tax and yours.”
-Taxation has been a sensitive matter from the Biblical times. Jews paid taxes both locally to the Jewish temple and to the pagan government in Rome. The annual tax required that every male from the age of 20 years and above should pay temple tax, which was used to maintain the temple. Two-drachma was worth approximately half a shekel which was a two-days wage. Although payment of tax was a requirement according to the temple and royal authority, Jesus displays authority over nature and the governing powers. He instructed Peter to collect four-drachma coins from a fish to show His divinity and control over the universe. Jesus also demonstrated that the believing Jews were absolved from this law, but He did not want to cause offense to authorities, for He would be branded profane and irreligious. It is prime for each one to give a tithe to the house of the Lord, that there may be food in His house, and His blessing will never leave our homes.
Come let us sing for joy to the Lord, let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come before Him with thanksgiving and extol Him with music and song. For the Lord is the great God, the great King above all gods. In His hand are the depths of the earth, and the mountain peaks belong to Him. The sea is His, for He made it, and His hands formed the dry land. Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker, for He is our God and we are the people of His pasture, the flock under His care. Come let us worship the Lord of hosts, for only He deserves all the worship and praise. He is the only true God, and all the other gods are made of stone and wood, and cannot hear, nor see, nor come to our aid when we call. Only God is worthy to be worshipped and adored. Only God deserves all our worship and praises. Teach us how to do Your will Holy Spirit. Teach us how to tithe faithfully, that there may food enough in Your house, and Your blessings may overflow in our tents. Teach us how to worship You with the fruit of our labor and make us fruitful in all that we do, for the glory and honor of Your name. Rebuke the devourer on our behalf dear Jesus, and shield us from every snare of the enemy. Guide us Holy Spirit as we begin this new week, and shepherd us according to Your divine purposes. Open new opportunities for us and send destiny connectors to us, that we may be exceedingly prosperous, according to Your divine will. Thank You for paying the price on the cross, our behalf dear Jesus, all glory and honor belongs to You. May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with us now and forever more. Amen
Further reading: Exodus 30:13-16, 2 Chronicles 24:9, Malachi 3:10
“Tell us then, what is your opinion? Is it right to pay the imperial tax to Caesar or not?” But Jesus, knowing their evil intent, said, “You hypocrites, why are you trying to trap me? Show me the coin used for paying the tax.” They brought him a denarius, and he asked them, “Whose image is this? And whose inscription?” “Caesar’s,” they replied. Then he said to them, “So give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.” When they heard this, they were amazed. So they left him and went away.”
-The Pharisees were filled with hypocrisy and malice, and often times crafted legalistic traps of arresting Jesus, probably due to His great following and power. With this regard, they asked Him whether it was lawful to pay tax to Caesar, the Roman emperor. Jesus demonstrated authority over all wealth by showing that, even though Caesar’s face was engraved on the coin, God is King over all money and wealth, and everything belongs to Him. We also note that; God has established governing authorities, and each one should honor them. Whoever rebels against them rebels against God and brings judgement upon themselves. It is then paramount to pay taxes and revenues owed to us by the governing authorities in respect and honor (Romans 13:6-7).
Lord Almighty Father we praise You and honor You for who You are and what You have done unto us, from everlasting to everlasting. Let everything that has breath praise You our Lord and God. We praise You Lord and exult You for You are good and Your mercies endures forever. As a deer pants for springs of water; so our souls long for You our Lord and God. We look to You Jesus each and every moment of our lives. Touch us afresh and refresh us with Your grace. Anoint us afresh and fill us with Your presence. Open the eyes of our hearts so that we may see You each and every day. Create in us clean hearts, Oh Lord and renew a steadfast spirit within us. Grant us the grace to depart from all evil and to harken to Your voice. Grant us the grace to submit to the governing authorities as unto You; and to pay our taxes and levies faithfully. All glory, honor, power, authority, wealth, riches, and strength belongs to You Jesus, now and forever. Our Father who art in heaven; hallowed be Your name; Your Kingdom come; Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. Lead us not into temptations but deliver us from evil; for thine is the Kingdom the power and the glory; forever and ever. Amen
Further reading: Romans 13:1-7
“Still others were saying, “We have had to borrow money to pay the king’s tax on our fields and vineyards.”
-There was an economic crisis caused by a famine in Jerusalem after the Babylonian captivity. This forced many families to insolvency that occasioned a strain in payment of tax. Many borrowed to pay tax and some families were forced into slavery. Nehemiah’s presence emboldened the dispossessed to cry out for justice. He set out to correct these wrongs by introducing reforms to audit policies and redressing of past excesses. Nehemiah was seen as a moral leader who corrected the misdeeds of the previous governors who lived lavishly at the expense of poor taxpayers. They took forty shekels of silver from them, in addition to food and wine (Nehemiah 5:15). Sometimes leaders take advantage of their power and authority, and some lay heavy tax burdens on its citizens. Such countries have often faced rebellion from its citizens who feel the heat of economic slowdown, and in turn shrinking the tax bracket. Such leaders forget that they have been planted in such positions by God, as much as the citizens have been instructed to obey those in authority, and thus all under the same Master in heaven. Temple tax was also reduced from half a shekel (Exodus 30:13), to a third of a shekel per annum; during Nehemiah’s time, probably because of the harsh economic conditions (Nehemiah 10:32). Nehemiah was therefore able to negotiate for a better taxation policy for his people, in both the temple tax and regular tax to the imperial government. We are called to make positive influences in our areas of calling and purpose like Nehemiah, for the glory of God.
We extol You Lord our God; for You have always been faithful to us. You are faithful in all Your ways. You have always provided for us, protected us, directed us, sustained us, healed our wounds and loved us. We thank You and glorify Your holy name. May You dear Jesus hear all our prayers and hearts desires. May You heal all those who are sick and restore their health; merciful Savior. May You heal our land from poor governance and corruption. Heal our land from overtaxation and wastage loving Master. Set us free from unemployment and economic hardship. Deliver our nation and other nations of the world from poverty and famine. Fight for us at the wake of oppressive policies and set us free. Vindicate the afflicted and save the children of the needy merciful Savior, and crush the oppressor. Touch the lives of the poor and starving in our communities. Feed all the children living in the streets and set them free from demonic oppression loving Master. Grant us the gift of salvation and set Your people free. Revive our businesses and our economy; loving Master. Take away the tide of COVID-19 from the face of the earth; dear Jesus. Deliver us from financial constraints and open many doors of opportunities for us; Abba Father. Provide for all our needs and those of our family members and friends, for You are our good God and You love us. You have said in Your word that we are more valuable than the lilies and the birds of the air, thank You Abba Father for loving us and for providing for all our needs. We shall never be smitten by the sun during the day and the moon by night, for You love us and care for us. Use us dear Jesus for the advancement of Your kingdom. Thank You Jesus for loving us with Your everlasting kind of love. May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with us now, and forevermore. Amen
Further reading: Zechariah 7:10, Amos 5:11, Luke 3:12-13
2 Kings 23:31-35
“Jehoahaz was twenty-three years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem three months. His mother’s name was Hamutal daughter of Jeremiah; she was from Libnah. He did evil in the eyes of the Lord, just as his predecessors had done. Pharaoh Necho put him in chains at Riblah in the land of Hamath so that he might not reign in Jerusalem, and he imposed on Judah a levy of a hundred talents of silver and a talent of gold. Pharaoh Necho made Eliakim son of Josiah king in place of his father Josiah and changed Eliakim’s name to Jehoiakim. But he took Jehoahaz and carried him off to Egypt, and there he died. Jehoiakim paid Pharaoh Necho the silver and gold he demanded. In order to do so, he taxed the land and exacted the silver and gold from the people of the land according to their assessments.”
–Pharaoh Necho the ruler of Egypt took into captivity Jehoahaz the king of Jerusalem. He taxed the citizens of Jerusalem a hundred talents of silver and a talent of gold, which benefited the Egyptians. After him, Pharaoh Necho made Jehoiakim king of Jerusalem, he channeled the tax to Egypt. Such policies were adopted by the colonial masters, and are applicable in some countries up-to date. Nations like China offer loans directly to nations at exorbitant interest rates and fund major projects at the expense of tax payers. Some government officials rely on a percentage of the loans offered and enrich themselves through commissions accrued from major infrastructure development projects. Instead of such opportunities to benefit the locals like the way in which Egyptians have structured their policies, the nations resources are channels to other foreign nations. Other oppressors plunder mineral resources and agricultural produce from some nations, instead of looking after their citizens interests. Such are the crimes that come with neo-colonialism, fueled by greed of corrupt government officials. We need to pray for our nation that we Lord will raise leaders like David, whose hearts are after God’s own heart.
From You Oh Lord comes deliverance. May Your blessing be upon us Your people. Answer us when we call to You, our righteous God. Give us relief from our distress; have mercy on us and hear our prayers. Let the light of Your face shine upon us and be gracious to us. Fill our hearts with joy when our grain and new wine abound. In peace we will lie down and sleep, for You alone, Lord, make us dwell in safety. Deliver us dear Jesus from neo-colonialism and corruption, and grant us peace. Bless our nation Kenya dear Jesus and prosper us in all our ways we humbly beseech You. Kenya belongs to You Father, grant us victory. Kenya is a blessed nation. Kenya is a hub for revival in Africa, we belong to You Abba Father. Bless us and increase us in all spheres. Bless all our leaders and give them hearts of flesh that they may obey Your commandments and harken to Your voice. Give us leaders like David, whose hearts are after Your own heart dear Jesus. All glory, honor, power and might belongs to You Jesus. Oh God of all creation, bless this our land and nation. Justice be our shield and defender. May we dwell in unity, peace and liberty. May plenty be found within our borders. Amen
Further reading: 2 Chronicles 36:3, 1 Samuel 13:14, Numbers 6:24-26
“You are also to know that you have no authority to impose taxes, tribute or duty on any of the priests, Levites, musicians, gatekeepers, temple servants or other workers at this house of God.”
-Priests and temple servants were exempt from paying tax and enforced labor. The Levites were also not entitled to inheritance, and would rely on tithe offered by the people (Numbers 18:23-24). The king also had tax exemption powers. King Saul offered to give a tax holiday to the family of anyone who would kill Goliath, accompanied by other benefits (1 Samuel 17:25). Some organizations like Non-governmental institutions (NGO’s), charitable organizations, trusts, religious institutions, hospitals, educational institutions are some of the institutions that are tax exempt in Kenya. People with disabilities (PWD’s) are also exempted from paying tax.
Payment of tax is a critical element in any nation and forms part of the fiscal policy. According to the Bible, tax is divided into two major segment; temple tax and tax to the government. Temple tax is the money offered as tithe to the house of the Lord, while ordinary taxes are remittances given to the national government. God has instructed us to pay taxes as we submit to the authorities which He himself has instituted (Romans 13:1-7). If we submit the authorities we submit to Him. Jesus paid both temple tax and tax to Caesar. It is important that we follow His footsteps and obey His will even though the children are free, for are kings and priests to Him. Jesus also demonstrated His authority over nature when Peter got coins from the mouth of a fish (Matthew 17:24-27), and that everything belongs to Him when He said; “give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and give to God what belongs to God” (Mark 12:17). Even though sometimes we experience tax wastage by some government officials sanitized by diverse projects, God requires that we play our part in ensuring the proper running of the nation. During the rebuilding of the temple wall, Nehemiah discovered that there was need to negotiate a tax cut for the people due their hard economic conditions. He addressed extortion of Jews by their Persian masters who lived lavishly at their expense. Some Jews borrowed money to pay tax and others sold their children as slaves. He also negotiated temple tax from half a shekel to a third of a shekel annually. As this was taking place, priests and temple workers were enjoying tax exemptions from time immemorial. Priests were holy to God, and offered sacrifices on behalf of the people. In the New Testament, Pharisees viewed themselves as holy and branded tax collectors as sinners. Jesus was confronted by Pharisees for eating with tax collectors, and He responded saying, “I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners” (Matthew 9:9-13). During prayer, a tax collector repented and asked for mercy but a Pharisees boasted for his good deeds and judged others (Luke 18:11-13). We are called to humble ourselves before the Lord and obey Him, for humility comes before honor.
Dear Almighty Father we come before You with humility in our hearts. We look to You Abba Father, that Your mercy and grace may abound upon us. You are our Great High Priest and sure Foundation, we trust in You. We humbly ask You to forgive us all our sins and cleanse us from unrighteousness. Deliver us dear Jesus for every form of evil and unforgiveness in our hearts. Jesus You are our Lord and Savior, full of mercy and love. May we decrease as You increase dear Jesus. We boldly come to Your throne of grace that we may obtain mercy and grace to help us during our time of need. May Your goodness and mercy follow us all the days of our lives and we shall dwell in Your house forever. Teach us to do Your will Abba Father. Train our hearts to give tithe and to pay taxes. Teach us to worship You Lord with our gifts, which Your have bestowed unto us. May our sacrifices always be acceptable to You Lord. Bless all the priests, pastors, bishops, teachers, prophets, apostles, worshipers, intercessors, and other ministers of Your word and workers of Your house. Bless all churches and provide for all their needs. May all churches preach Your true word, that it may reach many that they may come to repentance, and grant each one the gift of salvation merciful Savior. May Your presence always be with us Holy Spirit. May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit. Be with us now and forever more. Amen
Further reading: Luke 19:1-10, Revelation 5:9-10