Highlights:

Casual attitude toward the Lord and worship. Their worship is sloppy and the priests neglect the commands of God. Unworthy sacrifices indicate no honor or respect (1:7-10,12-14). The Messiah, worthy of pure offerings (3:2-3). Repent (3:6-9). Support the work of the Lord (3:10-12). Get ready! Judgment cometh (4:1-6)!

Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed Me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed Thee? In tithes and offerings. Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed Me, even this whole nation. Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in Mine house, and prove Me now herewith, saith 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. And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the LORD of hosts (Mal. 3:8-11).

This opening Scripture may seem quite lengthy compared to others that are normally focused on in Bible Pathway. It is necessary today, however. Every part of these verses has something important to say about tithing. Let us examine each verse briefly here and try to learn what it tells about this important subject.

The message in verse 8 is fairly simple. A question comes from God through Malachi to the people. Will a man rob God? The people probably said no, as we might today. The Lord said yes. He explained that He is robbed whenever His people don't present Him with their tithes and offerings.

Verse 9 says that we are cursed for not giving to God what already is His. Have you ever heard someone say, "I can't afford to pay my bills, much less tithe?" The flaw in this statement is that the tithe should be first. The Scriptures seem pretty clear on the subject. If we try tithing to God with a grateful heart, then those bills might get paid.

The Lord promises just that in verse 10. What is the Lord's response to our tithing? He says that we will find out if we tithe. He tells us, 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.

However, that will not be all the Lord does. His blessings are not tied to finances alone, just as tithing is not tied to finances alone. The Lord even promises that the enemy will be held back during times that he tries to destroy what you are building. The Lord says in verse 12, And all nations shall call you blessed.

Tithing is an important part of living in perfect obedience to God. It is impossible to truthfully claim that your life is in right standing with the Lord if you are not tithing. Some say, “I give what I can, where I can, when I can.” That is not tithing. That may fall under the column of offerings and alms. Now after many years I came to bring alms to my nation, and offerings (Acts 24:17). Tithing is not a gift; it is the act of returning to God what is already God's.

Tithing is the giving of our first fruits to God. As was said before, this involves finances, but also other things. How many of us give a tithe of our time to the work of the Lord? If we think along the guideline of ten percent, that would be 2.4 hours a day. That time could be spent in Bible study, prayer, sharing Christ with the lost, feeding the hungry or a host of other things that build the kingdom of God here on earth. God must always come first - remember to tithe.

Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again (Luke 6:38).

Thought for Today:

The fruit of righteous is a tree of life, and he that winneth souls is wise (Prov. 11:30).

Christ Revealed:

The Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to His Temple (Mal. 3:1). Jesus went into the Temple. . . . saying . . . My House shall be called . . . the House of prayer (Mark 11:15-17).

Word Study:

1:6 fear, reverence, willing obedience; 1:13 snuffed at, sneered at, lightly esteemed, despised, scorned; 2:12 The Lord will cut off . . . the master (who hath married the daughter of a strange god – see 2:11) and the scholar, the priest and the layman will be rejected; 3:13 Your words have been stout against Me, Your attitude has been harsh, strong against Me.

Prayer Needs:

Pray for for Staff: Beth Carlton • Country: Uruguay (3 million) on the southeastern coast of South America • Major language: Spanish • Religious freedom • 60% Roman Catholic; 2% Protestant; 2% Jewish; .7% Eastern Orthodox • Prayer Suggestion: Praise the Lord for His loving-kindness and faithfulness (Ps. 138:2).

Memory Verse for the Week: Psalms 145:21