In Today's Scripture Reading:
The Lord's love for Jacob; the sins of the priests; Israel's unfaithfulness rebuked; the day of the Lord and final judgment
The first generation of Israelites that returned to Jerusalem with Zerubbabel to rebuild the Temple had died, and the following generations had lost sight of the purpose God had for them as His people.
Malachi declared that God may not always be fully understood, but He is questioned only by those who reject or neglect His Word, saying: If ye will not hear, and if ye will not lay it to hear . . . saith the Lord of hosts, I will even send a curse upon you (Malachi 2:2).
Malachi left no room for excuses when he declared that the Israelites were thieves. He boldly asked: Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed Me. . . . In tithes and offerings (3:8). He then pronounced the inevitable judgment of God: Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed Me, even this whole nation (3:9).
The people were cursed with a curse because the tithes belonged to God for the spiritual needs of the people and the support of the priesthood. They had ignored the command to honour the Lord with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase (Proverbs 3:9; Exodus 22:29; II Chronicles 31:5).
Returning one-tenth of all our increase (income) to God expresses our faith that all we are and all we have belong to the Lord, and tithing demonstrates our love and gratitude to Him as our Savior and Lord.
More than 500 years before the Law was given, tithing was demonstrated by Abraham, the father of all them that believe (Romans 4:11), who brought a tenth of everything to the priest of the Most High God (Genesis 14:18-20). When we refuse to return unto God the things that are God's (Matthew 22:21), we keep for ourselves what God has said is for proclaiming the Gospel of Christ. Is it greed, selfishness, indifference, or just a stubborn refusal to be obedient to what the Word of God clearly states? The seriousness of this sin can be seen in the severity of the famine that Israel was experiencing: Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed Me (Malachi 3:9).
The Christian is to give not grudgingly, or of necessity (under compulsion): for God loveth a cheerful giver (II Corinthians 9:7).
The Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to His Temple (Malachi 3:1; Mark 11:15-17), which meant that Jesus was the promised Messiah.
1:6 fear =b> reverence, willing obedience; 1:13 snuffed at =b> sneered, lightly esteemed, despised, scorned; torn =b> stolen; 2:12 the master and the scholar =b> the priest or the layman meaning all people; 3:13 stout =b> arrogant, harsh.
Pray for The English International Shortwave Radio Broadcasts sponsored by Dr. John A. Hash • Government Officials: Sen. Blanche Lincoln (AR) and Rep. Thomas Reynolds (NY) • Country: Kyrgyzstan (4.7 million) eastern central Asia • Major languages: Kirghiz and Russian • Religious freedom • 75% Muslim; 20% Russian Orthodox; 5% Other (Jewish, Buddhist, Catholic, Protestant) • Prayer Suggestion: Let your prayers express gratitude to God for His wonderful works (Psalm 9:1).
Memory Verse for the Week: Malachi 3:10