Wednesday, March 07, 2012

The Tithe: The Book of Malachi

“Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse…prove me now…if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing…” (Malachi 3:10)

It’s a waste of time to follow God’s laws and to give to His temple. This was one of the prevailing teachings confronted by Malachi. Even those who were tasked with teaching of God’s righteousness had grown slack, overlooking the people’s transgressions. They had stopped believing in the principles of God, and were teaching others of the vanity of the faith. In this context the issue addressed in Malachi 3:10 is not simply one of people not giving to God. Malachi dealt with an incorrect world view.

With a world view that said serving God was a waste of time (Malachi 3:14), the people had no reason to give to the temple. In their hearts they believed tithe giving would simply leave one with 10% less money. God as provider was no longer a part of every day life. They did not believe and thus did not give, justifying their actions with permission from religious leaders. Malachi challenged these beliefs, telling the people they were robbing God. He called them to return to the principles of God, using the tithe as an example of where they had gone wrong.

Malachi tells us to repent and follow God. Test His principles and see if they do not work. Bring the tithe and offering into the storehouse and see how the Lord responds. The command comes in the context of the tithe as a tool to help the nation of Israel learn to revere God. The cycle of blessing described in Malachi was a challenge to sinful man to repent, returning to this principle of giving which would allow them to learn how God operates. While blessings are mention, Malachi was not giving the world a new get rich quick scheme. He gave us all direction in how we can grow spiritually.

But spiritual growth is just part of the goal found in the words of Malachi. The prophet’s words also foreshadow the work done by Christ. How? Check back next week as we look at the parallel between Malachi 3 and the gift of salvation.

{This is part 3 of a series on tithing. See also part 1 and part 2.}

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