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The Scriptorium

Rob God?

Not a good idea. Malachi 3.8-12

Return from Exile: Malachi 3 (3)

Pray Psalm 51.14, 15, 18.
Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God,
The God of my salvation,
And my tongue shall sing aloud of Your righteousness.
O Lord, open my lips,
And my mouth shall show forth Your praise…
Do good in Your good pleasure to Zion;
Build the walls of Jerusalem.

Sing Psalm 51.14, 15, 18.
(Aughton: He Leadeth Me)
Deliver us, from guilt, O LORD, You Who have saved us by Your Word;
and let our tongues Your mercy bless, and sing of Your great righteousness!
Refrain vv. 15, 18
LORD, open now our lips to raise to You sweet songs of joyous praise!
Thus let Your favor on us fall, and build and strengthen Zion’s wall!

Read Malachi 3.1-12; meditate on verses 8-12.

1. How were the people robbing God?

2. What did God promise if they would repent and obey?

We have seen that, no sooner did the people promise to bring all the tithes into the storeroom than they decided they didn’t really have to do so (vv. 8-10; Neh. 13.10-12). God, of course, required the tithe in the Law, but not because He might go hungry without it. God does not need the tithes and offerings of His people (cf. Ps. 50.7-13). What He requires is faith and obedience, here expressed as thanksgiving, honor, and glory to God through tithes and offerings.

The people were not only robbing God of tithes and offerings; they were robbing Him of the glory and honor He is due.

But God does not hold grudges. He simply instructed the people what to do to rectify this situation: Start bringing your tithes (v. 10). He promised to bless them with overflowing abundance and to preserve their fields and harvests from destruction or famine (v. 11). But more than this, God promised that all the nations would bless His people—and by implication, Him—because of their faithfulness in this matter (v. 12).

Rob God and you ultimately rob yourself. Obey God and you put yourself in the place where blessings from Him abound. This is not rocket science.

Treasures Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162
Although it is true, “God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Cor. 9.7), God commands us to be obedient givers—cheerful or not. Otherwise, we stand accused of robbing God (Mal. 3.8), and who in their right mind wants to be guilty of that?

All God’s people—everywhere, in every situation—owe God’s share of our belongings back to Him. And that is, at a minimum, ten percent. Ten percent of what we have does not belong to us. It is that simple. It belongs to God. And so, if we do not give it to Him, we are taking it from Him. Enough said.

The promises God gives with His requirements are outstanding.
The God with whom we are dealing created the whole world—everything, and everyone in it.
He owns everything. It is all His. In its entirety.
And He says to us, “Try Me now in this. I will open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you such blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it” if you “bring all the tithes into the storehouse” (Mal. 3.10).

“He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully…and God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work” (2 Cor. 9.6, 8). And as an aside, if we can manage this with a good heart, not done grudgingly, all the better (2 Cor. 9.7).

“Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you” (Lk. 6.38).

It never works to keep the tithe for ourselves: first it is not ours to keep, and second it belongs to God.
“Now therefore, thus says the LORD of hosts: ‘Consider your ways!
You have sown much, and bring in little;
You eat, but do not have enough;
You drink, but you are not filled with drink;
You clothe yourselves, but no one is warm;
And he who earns wages, earns wages to put into a bag with holes.’
Thus says the LORD of hosts: ‘Consider your ways!’” (Hag. 1.6, 7).

“And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4.19).

We are not talking about a health and wealth gospel, nor are we promoting a give to get attitude. What we are proclaiming is that God will take care of those who do not rob Him. He sees and He knows. But of course, He cares for those who do rob Him; but in the greater scheme of things, it is better to do it His way, than ours. It is better to be innocent of a crime than to be guilty. It is always the best thing to obey.

Tithing is a proven and simple way to be obedient to God.
And the benefits far outweigh the perceived deficits (Mal. 3.10).
“Will a man rob God?” (Mal. 3.8) Count me out. Nope. Never.

For reflection
1. How important are tithes and offerings in your relationship with God?

2. Why do you think some people find it so difficult to give God what He commands?

3. Are there other ways that we rob God of His glory and honor? How can you keep from falling into these sins?

The Lord God is not in want; he does not demand recompense but honor. He does not require you to pay back something of yours. He asks the firstfruits and tithes, and do you refuse? Caesarius of Arles (470-543), Sermon 33.2

Pray Psalm 51.16-19.
Pray that the Lord will renew your heart for obedience in all things. Offer yourself to Him entirely, as a living sacrifice, to do His will.

Sing Psalm 51.16-19.
(Aughton: He Leadeth Me)
No sacrifice, no offering would You have us, Your people, bring;
but broken spirits, cleansed of lies, and pure hearts You will not despise.

Refrain vv. 15, 18
LORD, open now our lips to raise to You sweet songs of joyous praise!
Thus let Your favor on us fall, and build and strengthen Zion’s wall!

Now build Your Church, raise high the wall of those who on Your mercy call.
And take our lives and let them be sweet sacrifices, LORD, to Thee!

T. M. and Susie Moore

Two books can help us understand our own captivity and lead us to seek revival and renewal in the Lord. The Church Captive asks us to consider the ways the Church today has become captive to the world. And Revived! can help us find the way to renewal. Learn more and order your free copies by clicking here and here.

Support for Scriptorium comes from our faithful and generous God, who moves our readers to share financially in our work. If this article was helpful, please give Him thanks and praise.

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Except as indicated, all Scriptures are taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. For sources of all quotations, see the weekly PDF of this study. All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalteravailable free by clicking here.


T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
Books by T. M. Moore

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