Quit Robbing God and Return (Malachi #9)

Text: Malachi 3:7-12

You’ve forsaken God by forsaking the care of God’s house and God’s business (vs 7)

  • What Malachi preaches is from Nehemiah 10:28-32, 35-39.
  • Attending but not tithing means you’ve forsaken the house of God. Going but not contributing to the upkeep means you’ve forsaken the house of God.
  • If you’re sitting on your couch in your home and your roof is falling in, water is leaking in the house, and you continue to sit on the couch.  You may be in your house, but you’ve forsaken your house. You saying the house is leaking is not a contribution. You offering moral support from your couch to whoever is trying to fix the leak is not a contribution.
  • What if you had some employees who showed up to work and just sat around watching you do all the work? That’s not moral support. That’s demoralizing.
  • So the Lord equates someones presence without active participation as having forsaken Him.

You’ve robbed God with what’s required and what’s discretionary (vs 8)

  • Mandatory tithes
    • Leviticus 27:30-34
      • (vs 30) Tithe is food for the Levites.
      • (vs 31) If you convert it to money, you add 20% to it.
      • (vs 32) Tithe is not money, it is food for the Levites.
      • (vs 33) Israelites not allowed to pick and choose which ones.  It’s simply that you count one to give, then count nine for yourself.  If you decide to change it out, then the Israelites could not sell the one they held back or the one they wanted to trade it with.
      • (vs 34)  This is law.
    • Numbers 18:20-32
      • (vss 20-21) Tithe would compensate the Levites since they had no land.
      • (vss 22-23) Only one tribe could perform the ministry and if anyone else tried to they would die. Not like today.
      • (vs 24) Explains the compensation of the tithe.
      • (vss 25-28) Levites were to tithe as well.
    • Deuteronomy 14:22-29
      • (vs 22) Tithe is a tax on the increase of the field that God has given.
      • (vs 23) Tithe to learn to fear the Lord, like you would the IRS if you didn’t pay your taxes.  If you don’t give of the increase of your land and of your flocks, then God will take away your land and flocks.
      • (vss 24-27) The place God has chosen is too far and the food will spoil before it gets there. Then sell the food for money and take the money and when you get to the place the Lord appointed for the tithe, buy food for the Levite.
      • (vss 28-29) Tithe happens every third year (26:12)
  • Discretionary giving
    • You ask how can someone be breaking God’s commands when the offerings are discretionary?
    • Leviticus 1:3 gives conditions for a voluntary offering for instance.
    • It’s like a food bank. Bringing food is your choice, but you can’t bring rotted meat or spoiled milk. Yes, it’s your choice and yes, there are guidelines.

Blessings of giving (vss 9-11)

  • (vs 9) Not tithing brings a curse on the land in Israel’s case.
  • (vs 10) Giving is how God meets the need.
  • This is specifically addressed to Israel and their relationship to the land God gave them. And God through this would show his character and his blessings to all nations through the nation of Israel. So there will be much to learn about God through this whole lesson.

A lesson for all nations (vs 12)

  • There is more in the New Testament about giving than there is about witnessing. There is more about giving than there is about heaven. There is more about giving than there is about hell. For a Christian, if 10% is all they’re doing, it’s a start, but not particularly impressive. Considering Jews were required by God to give a tenth of their animals, fruits, vegetables, seeds, etc. so the basic functions of the house of God could go on.
  • Where your treasure is there your heart is also. Some of you pay more for entertainment in a month than you’ll give to the work of God for the year. That should let you know that your heart isn’t anywhere near the things of God. Your god is entertainment.
  • 1 Corinthians 16:1-2
    • Collect on the first day of the week.
    • Liberality, not law.
    • No tribe that it is given to.
  • 2 Corinthians 9
    • Give out of good will.
    • Give sparingly reap sparingly. It’s not a law. God isn’t going to burn your house down if you don’t.  But it is a farming principle. The more that’s invested in the work of the Lord, the more the Lord is able to work.
    • Not covetous, not grudgingly, not of necessity, but cheerfully.