|Posted by Lorraine Serra on August 9, 2010 at 10:34 AM|
Chapter 3 of the Book of Malachi opened with a promise: “He is coming”, and it makes a few more along the way: verse 5 “I will come near you for judgment against …” a list of people whose actions prove they do not fear God; verse 6 “For I am the Lord, I do not change” referring to His endless mercy; verse 7 “Return to Me and I will return to you,” basically offering yet another chance to repent and embrace Him; and verse 12, “And all nations will call you blessed, for you will be a delightful land, says the Lord of hosts;” that’s a cool promise!
Does not the Lord God Almighty, the All-Sufficient One, the Creator and Sovereign Supreme Ruler of the Universe ever tire of us? Our selfishness, our covetousness, our insincere worship and ingratitude for all He has done and Who He is? The nation of Israel is not alone here.
For my part, I know that I am easily distracted by the cares and responsibilities of life. I often fail to begin my day making time with Jesus my priority. Truly, is reflects a lack of discipline and the comfort of abiding in His constant love, grace and mercy. But, does He not deserve my best every day? Even every moment? Should I not live with an undivided heart? When so much love has been poured out for me, my response should be undying love, worship, dedication and obedience. He saved my life! Because of His gift of salvation, I have a place in His eternal kingdom and His sheltering presence with me always on the journey.
Yet, if we are honest, we allow our frail, pea-brained minds and the urgency of life to whisk us away into the frenzy, while the Lord Almighty sits and waits, as it were, for His creation, the “apple of His eye” to come and join Him for a time of refreshing and instruction.
Guilty as charged. But, exonerated and forgiven to start fresh every morning by the saving grace of Jesus Christ. With that said, let us look at verses 8 through 11, with a warning about robbing God. Most of us have heard endless exhortations about tithing in our churches. The debate will ensue forever: is 10% enough? Should it be on gross or net income? Can I give it to a charity or a missionary rather than the local church? What if I don’t like how the pastoral and leadership staff is spending our money? Yada, yada, yada.
Did we ever stop to think about this whole issue in the sense that verse 8 declares to us?
“Will a man rob God?”
We can never out-give God. He certainly does not need our money, or our offerings to accomplish what He wills. We do not “rob” Him of finances. We rob Him of our devotion.
He desires our trust and our obedience. He always rewards obedience.
So, at the close of the Old Testament, God instructs His people through His prophet Malachi to lay it all down. Bring your offerings of money, grain, oil, livestock into the storehouse so that there may be food in My house. Then, we can minister to those in need as we are called to do, care for the widows, the orphans, the sick, and the lonely.
Echoed in the New Testament, Jesus instructs the rich young ruler in Chapter 19 about the attitude of his heart. Follow the law and the commandments, but sell what you have and give it away that you may have treasure in heaven. In other words, live with open hands, not closed fists.
God says to us, “Give me your heart, I’ll give you the truth; Give me your trust, I’ll give you peace; Give me your stuff, I’ll provide beyond all measure for you.”
Do you believe Him? I do. He has proven this promise to our family over and over again.
Want to share a testimony? Please do. Let’s give Him praise!
I’ll go first. During a time of unemployment, a surprise visit from our pastor who came as the “messenger” with an anonymous gift….in the envelope….$2000. Later during this season of want, gift cards in the mail for the grocery store on several occasions!
We needed a car. Surprise! Gifts of cars….not once, but twice! Good, sturdy used cars.
We didn’t deserve these things. God knew our hearts relied upon Him, and we always tithed, even when we had little. We trusted in God’s promise of provision and He kept His promise in surprising ways!
The Jewish song “Dayenu” (It is enough) sings of God’s goodness and mercy to Israel during the Exodus.
It lists the things He did, and after each act listed, the words sing “if He did only this, it would be enough.”
He is more than enough. He gives more than enough. He deserves all we got.
Categories: MALACHI Study