Back to the Basics: Tithing

Living by faith comes with perks that cannot be explained. God will do things that seem to contradict logic so that people will inquire how that happened.

Obedience isn’t a control issue but a lifestyle that produces supernatural results. Obedience unlocks the blessings of God in your life.

Yet, here in the book of Malachi, 100 years have passed since the people returned from captivity in Babylon, and Israel is returning to pre-captivity behaviors.

When COVID struck the world, and public venues, including churches, were shut down, people were up in arms about the Government violating our rights, preventing us from gathering to worship in person.

Then as the doors reopened, the attendance in most churches remained under their pre-covid numbers.

As the Israelites returned home, rebuilt the temple and the walls of Jerusalem, and resumed religious observances, the whole nation became discouraged as God’s promise of the Messiah wasn’t being fulfilled according to their expectations and timetable.

This led to complacency and negligence of religious and spiritual obligations.

Therefore, God sent a message of rebuke through the prophet Malachi.

Our first takeaway from Malachi 3:6-12 is that even though the people dove headfirst into sin, God will not change nor abandon them.

God’s faithfulness does not mean He excused their behavior. Rather He patiently waits for them to turn from their blessing-blocking ways.

God’s rules or instructions are not to restrict us but are for our good.

It’s an undeniable fact that God is a giver. For this reason, giving is a big deal to God, and He wants to cultivate a giving nature within us.

However, when it comes to tithing, I recognize that Christians have a variety of opinions on this subject. So let me just say this.

#1 “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness.” 2 Timothy 3:16

All scripture is good for training in righteousness.

#2 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.” Matthew 5:17.

Jesus came to give us the correct interpretation of the law, not to repeal it.

#3 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others.” Matthew 23:23

Jesus approved the Pharisee’s tithing but wished they gave equal attention to justice, mercy, and faithfulness.

If God wanted to end tithing, this would have been an ideal time to clarify that. But instead, the New Testament builds upon the teaching of tithing by emphasizing our attitudes and motives for giving. 

  • God loves a cheerful giver, 2 Corinthians 9:7.
  • It is better to give than to receive. Acts 20:35.
  • Don’t let your right hand know what the left hand is doing. Matthew 6:3

So in Malachi 3, God addresses Israel’s attitude toward giving as an indicator of their spiritual health.

Every instruction from God has a purpose. Giving is an act of faith, trusting God to provide for you. We can trust God because His track record supports His trustworthiness.

All scripture, cover to cover, provides us with instructions on how to live a life set apart. That’s what it means to be holy. None of that expired with Jesus’ coming, death, or resurrection.

The arrival of Jesus changed how our relationship with God is established. Putting our faith in Jesus’ once and for-all sacrifice places us in a right relationship with God.

We are to be holy because God is holy, and the Old Testament laws are relevant to assist us in living holy lives.

But the most frightening part of the issues Malachi addresses is how the Israelites have become so consumed with “self” that they are unaware of their behavior. As God points out how they are behaving, the people are oblivious.

God SaysThe People RespondMalachi
“I have loved you.”“How have you loved us?”1:2
“O priests, who despise my name.”“How have we despised your name?1:6
“You have wearied me with your words.”“How have we wearied you?”2:7
“Return to me, and I will return to you.”“How shall we return?”3:6
“You are robbing me.”“How are we robbing you?”3:8

Obedience sets us apart as Christians and unveils God’s glory to the world. So when we choose not to obey, we deny God’s glory and forsake God’s blessings.

From the people to the priest, Israel became relaxed with giving. God instructs the people to bring the full tithe. The tithe is 10%.

To revive the Israelite’s practice of giving tithes and offerings, and ours, God promises to do two specific things if they will give.

#1 Open up the windows of heaven.

The phrase “pour out” means a flood of blessings. It illustrates an abundance that will meet or exceed our needs.

We are stunting God’s willingness to provide by not giving and stewarding His resources correctly.

#2 God will rebuke the devourer.

This second blessing amplifies the first. Rebuking the devourer can materialize in a variety of ways, such as;

  • That 10-year-old car doesn’t break down but keeps on driving.
  • Major home repairs haven’t been necessary.
  • Incidental expenses that can nickel and dime you to poverty don’t affect you.

God stretches the 90% well beyond what the 100% could do.

The purpose of tithes and offerings isn’t because God needs our money, but by trusting Him and living by faith, God pours out blessings on us as the world witnesses God’s favor in our lives.

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