This weekend, Lead Pastor Ben Snyder asked us a pretty interesting question: “Did you know that you can rob God?” I am not sure if you’ve ever thought about it, but if you don’t give back to him, that is what you are doing. It is not that you prevent God from doing what he wants to do in the world, but you are preventing him from doing what he wants to do in you and through you. God wants to bless you—don’t make the mistake of limiting his blessings to the earthly things you’re holding on to.
“The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.”
When we give to God, we connect with him and trust that he will provide for us. One of the ways we give is by tithing, which means we give back to God out of our resources. The literal translation of “tithe” is 10 percent—it’s the first 10% of what we produce or earn. Giving from our first is important because when God’s first, everything falls into its proper order.
This weekend, Ben shared a story from the book of Malachi about the Israelites stealing from God. Malachi was a prophet sent by God to the Israelites with a message. At that time, Israel was in exile—far from a blessed life.
Malachi 3:6-10 (NIV)
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.”
In this text, we see Malachi challenging the Israelites to return to God. When they ask “How?” he answers:
“STOP ROBBING GOD.” He tells them that because they are withholding their firsts. They’re under a curse—the opposite of a blessed life.
Instead, they should, “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, and then God will bless you.”
According to Scripture, our greatest motivation for giving comes from God’s love for us which grows our love for others. Just as Jesus Christ died for the sins of others, we ought to freely give of ourselves for others (2 Corinthians 8:8–9). In turn, God promises to reward and bless us when we do.
38 Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full—pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back.”
Do you believe God wants to bless you? Do you want a rich and satisfying life in Christ?
In Malachi 3:6-10, what was keeping the Israelites from God’s blessing? How did Malachi tell the Israelites to return to God?
I have held many things in my hands, and I have lost them all; but it is what I have placed in God’s hands, that I still possess. Giving 10% of what God gives to you demonstrates your thankfulness to him for what he has provided and helps you to remember to rely on God instead of riches. Pray for his continued gifts and guidance in your life today. Ask for his guidance in determining your next step in giving.
Dear Lord, please help me reflect you in all my relationships with others. Please help me humble myself and think of the needs of others before my own. Help me see how I can serve those around me. Help me show others they matter and let them know they are not alone.
This post was written by Gary Schnabel, a regular contributor to the LivingItOut Bible Study.
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