CURSING OR BLESSING
Lord, we give because we love You.
Read MALACHI 3:6–18
Breaking Covenant by Withholding Tithes
6 “I the Lord do not change. So you, the descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed. 7 Ever since the time of your ancestors you have turned away from my decrees and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you,” says the Lord Almighty.
“But you ask, ‘How are we to return?’
8 “Will a mere mortal rob God? Yet you rob me.
“But you ask, ‘How are we robbing you?’
“In tithes and offerings. 9 You are under a curse—your whole nation—because you are robbing me. 10 Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it. 11 I will prevent pests from devouring your crops, and the vines in your fields will not drop their fruit before it is ripe,” says the Lord Almighty. 12 “Then all the nations will call you blessed, for yours will be a delightful land,” says the Lord Almighty.
Israel Speaks Arrogantly Against God
13 “You have spoken arrogantly against me,” says the Lord.
“Yet you ask, ‘What have we said against you?’
14 “You have said, ‘It is futile to serve God. What do we gain by carrying out his requirements and going about like mourners before the Lord Almighty? 15 But now we call the arrogant blessed. Certainly evildoers prosper, and even when they put God to the test, they get away with it.’”
The Faithful Remnant
16 Then those who feared the Lord talked with each other, and the Lord listened and heard. A scroll of remembrance was written in his presence concerning those who feared the Lord and honored his name.
17 “On the day when I act,” says the Lord Almighty, “they will be my treasured possession. I will spare them, just as a father has compassion and spares his son who serves him. 18 And you will again see the distinction between the righteous and the wicked, between those who serve God and those who do not.
New International Version (NIV)
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“Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” (John 7:37, 38)
A Joseph Rowntree survey showed that 95 percent of those questioned found it offensive to be asked how they spend their money. We know that our use of money does not always reflect the grace of Christian giving. In a prophecy that exposes the fraudulent worship of God’s people, it’s no surprise that the subject of money is a key indicator of commitment.
Malachi tells it straight. By refusing to honor the Lord in mandated tithes, the people are displaying more than indifference: this is direct disobedience. The language of robbing God arises from the fact that they are withholding what rightly belongs to him. The arrogant questions keep coming: “How are we robbing you?” (8). Grace provides the bookends for this section. It begins with the affirmation that the Lord does not change and the people will not be destroyed; it closes with memorable affirmations of the Lord’s compassionate care. The curse against the nation (9) is matched by the promise of the Lord’s blessing, for alongside judgment there is mercy. Even now, there is time to repent, (7) and there is the promise of the Lord’s overwhelming – though undeserved – blessing: “see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it” (10).
This anticipates that final day, when both blessing and judgment will be unveiled. Malachi’s image of the book of remembrance (16) anticipates John’s vision of the Lamb’s book of life (Revelation 3:5; cf., Philippians 4:3). For those who reject the offer of forgiveness there is only judgment ahead, but for those who repent and believe, there is nothing to fear. We belong to the Lord as his treasured possession, (17) and we are safe forever.
Jesus and Malachi speak of the abundance of God’s blessing. Pray today for the Lord’s refreshment to be poured out on your life, your family and your Christian community.
Lord, give us the wisdom to spend the money You have given to us in such a way as to please You and advance Your kingdom.