Circumstances Cannot Break God’s Promises
Alexander H. Kerr was converted under the ministry of Dwight L. Moody at the age of fourteen and joined the Presbyterian Church at Philadelphia. In 1902 Mr. Kerr read the book entitled, "Judah’s Sceptre and Joseph’s Birthright," by Bishop Allen. In his book Bishop Allen referred to the vow Jacob made in Genesis 28, where we find the following words, "Of all that Thou shalt give me, I will surely give the tenth unto Thee."
Twenty years later this same Jacob returned to his home with servants and cattle in great abundance. He thus became one of the rich men of the East as a result of keeping his covenant of tithing with the Lord God.
With some doubts, but with a sincere desire to test if the Bible is true, to prove without a shadow of doubt that there is a personal God and that His promises are from everlasting to everlasting, and that they are intended for people of this day, Mr. Kerr, on June 1, 1902, made a special covenant to set aside a certain percentage of his income for the work of the Lord.
At that time he had a mortgage on his little home, owed many obligations, and was burdened with cares and worries especially of a financial nature. However, he was determined to prove God as did Jacob (Prov. 3:9-10; Lev. 27:30-32; Gen. 14:20, 13:2; especially Mal. 3:7-18). Mr. Kerr often remarked that if modern-day skeptics wanted proof that there is a God, and that the Bible is His Holy Word and all its promises are true, all that is necessary is to tithe for one year, and God will prove to them without doubt that He is "the same yesterday, and today, and forever" (Heb. 13:8).
Within three months after Mr. Kerr began to tithe, unexpected and unforeseen blessings came to him – so much so that it seemed to him that God had thus opened his eyes to behold His love and His faithfulness to His promises, especially made in regard to tithing or giving one-tenth.
"According to Your Faith Be It unto You"
That same year Mr. Kerr, with a very small capital but with strong faith in God’s tithing promises contained in Malachi 3:10-12, organized the firm known as the Kerr Glass Manufacturing Company which eventually became one of the largest firms selling fruit jars in the United States. The jars were manufactured for him in San Francisco.
At the time of the San Francisco earthquake (1906) this firm was manufacturing his fruit jars. Mr. Kerr had put practically every cent he had in the world into this fruit jar enterprise and then came the earthquake! His friends came to him and said, "Kerr, you are a ruined man." He replied, "I don’t believe it…. I know God will not go back on His promises."
He wired to San Francisco, and received the following reply: "Your factory is in the heart of the fire, and undoubtedly is destroyed. The heat is so intense we will be unable to find out anything for some days."
What a time of testing this was! But his faith in the Lord never wavered. He believed Malachi 3:11: "I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground." He stood on this promise unmoved. About a week after the earthquake and fire, a second telegram arrived saying: "Everything for a mile and a half on all sides of the factory burned; but your factory was miraculously saved."
Mr. Kerr immediately boarded a train for San Francisco. This factory was a two-story wooden building containing the huge tanks where the glass was melted. These tanks were kept at extremely high temperatures. Oil was used for fuel, and therefore this building was the most inflammable in San Francisco. The fire had raged on all sides of this glass factory, creeping up to the wooden fence surrounding the building and even scorching it. Then the flames and fire leaped around and over and beyond the building, burning everything in its path. However, not even the wooden fence was burned, nor the building, and not a single glass jar was cracked by earthquake or fire.
This was nothing short of a miracle of God’s divine power in protecting this man who held his faith that God’s promises made to those who tithe would never be broken by any circumstances! God’s Word cannot return to Him void (Isa. 55:8-11).
Three weeks before his death he addressed the members of the First Baptist Church of Riverside, California, on the blessings and riches of tithing possessions, income and increase. Every business in which he had interests tithed. His returns were so great that he created a Tithing Fund and had it incorporated. His tithing gifts went around the world, for he was deeply interested in missions at home and abroad. He gave liberally. He was greatly interested in the distribution of Testaments, Gospels and religious literature.
Mr. Kerr was able to bless others because he believed that God would honor His promise to pour out His blessings today upon those who would accurately and carefully tithe – to set aside one-tenth of their possessions, salary or income for the Lord’s work.
– Reprinted from an early Herald of His Coming issue.