The people of Malachi's day had let down; their attitude was ho-hum, and they did not realize it.
We belong to God, yet we can, and do, let Him down in many ways. The ministry, like the priesthood, can let down in doctrine and cause great shipwreck to the faith of God's people. We, too, can let down in our offerings: the offering of our lives. We can let down in our marriages by not loving our spouses, or we can let down in not correctly raising our children. God wants a pure heart within us, and He wants us to obey Him in every facet of our lives, not just in tithing. We can let down in study and prayer. We can let down in putting God first. This is short-changing God.
Consider what God did for us. He gave His Son, the finest offering that He could possibly give. Jesus Christ gave Himself - not under constraint, but willingly - for us and for everyone in this world! What should we be giving back? We should be doing our very best to overcome and thus not rob God in the giving of a complete and living sacrifice.
Because of the people letting down, God says, "You are cursed with a curse - even this whole nation!" The response might as well have been, "Well, times are tough!" God could just as easily query, "Well, why do you think times are tough?" He tells them, "It is because you have been cheating Me! Do you not understand that? You have been robbing Me! That is why times are tough! Do not shove me out of your lives. You are letting down spiritually and physically. That is why you are having tough times. You are cursed with a curse for stealing - the whole nation - cursed!"
How do we turn this around?
Bring you all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith," says the LORD of hosts, "if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. (Malachi 3:10)
Why does God want food in His house? We must go back to the purpose for tithing. What kind of food does He want? He wants spiritual food. He wants spiritual teaching. He wants right teaching in order to perfect the people of God. This is why He wants food in His house.
The operation of God's house must run as He intends to perfect the heart and to change the people. "Prove me, test me, try me," God says, "and I will open the windows of heaven and pour out a blessing. I will empty it upon you. I will open the sluices of heaven!" This is a figure of speech showing that a great supply of blessings will come.
God is saying, "Bring your tithes with a right heart and attitude and I will open the sluice, or the floodgates, of blessings and pour them out upon you until you cannot receive it all!" The conditions are a right heart and a right attitude. We do not know if these blessings will be spiritual or physical, but you can bet your bottom dollar that the blessings are going to be there!
John O. Reid (1930-2016)
When we give God back the tithe that is His to begin with, He blesses us abundantly spiritually and physically. Notice that God says He commands tithes so "that there may be food in My house" (Malachi 3:10). Tithes are primarily used to feed His people spiritually! If we support the work God is doing through His faithful ministers, He promises to bless us far above anything we could imagine (Ephesians 3:20-21)!
Richard T. Ritenbaugh
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