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Bible Pathways 09/30/04

September 30

Read Malachi 1 - 4

In Today's 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 was dead, 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 you will not hear, and if you will not lay it to heart . . . says 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 you have robbed Me. . . . In tithes and offerings (3:8). He then pronounced the inevitable judgment of God: You are cursed with a curse: for you 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 honor the LORD with your substance, and with the firstfruits of all your 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 introduced 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 to 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: You are cursed with a curse: for you have robbed Me (Malachi 3:9).

The Christian is to give not grudgingly, or of necessity (under compulsion): for God loves a cheerful giver (II Corinthians 9:7).

Christ Revealed:

As the Messenger of the Covenant (Malachi 3:1; also Hebrews 9:11-15). This is My blood of the New Testament (Covenant), which is shed for many for the remission of sins (Matthew 26:28; see also Mark 14:24; Luke 22:20; I Corinthians 11:25)

Word Studies:

1:6 fear = reverence; 1:13 snuffed = sneered; 2:12 the master and the scholar = the priest and the layman; 3:13 stout = arrogant, harsh.

Prayer Needs:

Pray for BP Staff: George Church · Government Official: Sen. Blanche Lincoln (AR) · Country: Swaziland (985,000) in southern Africa · Major languages: English and siSwati · Religious freedom · 67% Protestant; 19% animism, spirit-possession cults, and divination; 11% Roman Catholic; 3% Baha'i 

Prayer Suggestion: Pray in such a manner that others would be encouraged to praise and glorify God also (Jude 1:24-25).

Memory Verse for the Week: Romans 15:1


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