I read Malachi 3:6-12 and couldn’t help but wonder what I could take from that passage. There are clearly passages that should not be taken as word for word commands and others that can not be understood in any other way. Husbands are told to love their wives in Eph 5:25 and there is no wiggle room. David worshiped in his underwear…we should try to avoid that here in the US.
Malachi 3:6For I the LORD do not change; therefore you, O children of Jacob, are not consumed. 7From the days of your fathers you have turned aside from my statutes and have not kept them. Return to me and I will return to you, says the LORD of hosts. But you say how shall we return? 8Will man rob God? Yet you are robbing me. But you say how have we robbed you? In your tithes and contributions. 9You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing me, the whole nation of you. 10Bring the full tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the LORD of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need. 11I will rebuke the devourer for you, so it will not destroy the fruits of your soil, and your vine in the field shall not fail to bear, says the LORD of hosts. 12Then all nations will call you blessed, for you will be a land of delight, says the LORD of hosts. (ESV)
Can we take this passage to be directed at us? Is this for Israel and not Don Coldwell? Does this mean if we give, we get? This book was more than likely written during the time of Ezra and Nehemiah and we can bring a few things to the table as a result of this.
1 – This would have been written for the nation of Israel. Vs 9 states that the ‘whole nation’ is robbing God. The nation is coming back from exile and they have been robbing God for years and probably a while even here since we read that Ezra leads a revival when they get bogged down. The assumption is that the blessings would be national as opposed to individual.
2 – He isn’t talking about the US but is He speaking to the Church? If the Church is the new Israel then it is a bit of a different answer than if not. Hard-line dispensationalists would more than likely say that we are not ‘new Israel’ so therefore we can not claim any part of this passage. Our good friends who are a bit more reformed might look at us as the ‘new Israel’ so we need to take a quick peek which brings me to …
3 – I wonder why there were specific provisions for the poor if God is going to give us back more than what we give Him? If He is going to bless them to the point of having ‘no more need’ then why would there still be need? Is Malachi leading us to the new covenant of Jesus? It sure does point to Him but it is clearly OT in function.
In Luke 21 a woman is praised for her giving of her two copper coins. Her last two. We don’t get to see the next week of her life. Did she get a check placed under her door for the exact cost of the electric bill as s many stories would suggest? Did she end up dying of starvation for giving here only money to the church?
Is the tithe right or wrong? No.
Is this a promise that if I give to God, He’ll give me more? No.
In the end I think that the trite sayings that “You can’t out-give God” and “God’s shovel will always be bigger than yours” don’t end up doing people any good.
If we see what God has done for us every day and we can see and teach people to understand the gospel in a way that shows that we are already sitting in God’s shovel; we will then be able to give in a way that will not cause God to bless us but will allow us to see all the ways in which He already has.
How’s that for my 100th post?