Bible Pathways Daily Bible Reading Devotional

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Bible Pathways 09/30/2002

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 coming of John the Baptist; the day of the Lord and final judgment.

Verses for Today:

If ye will not hear, and if ye will not lay it to heart, to give glory unto My Name, saith the Lord of hosts, I will even send a curse upon you (2:2).

The first generation of Israelites that returned to Jerusalem with Zerubbabel to rebuild the Temple was dead, and the new generations had lost sight of the purpose for which God had chosen them as His people. Consequently, their attitude was one of indifference toward His Word.

Malachi declared that the love of God may not always be fully understood, but it will only be questioned by those who reject or neglect His Word.

Malachi left no room for excuses when he declared for God that the Israelites were thieves: Will a man rob God? Yet [you] have robbed Me. But [you] say, How have we robbed [You]? In tithes and offerings. [You] are cursed with a curse: for [you] have robbed Me, even this whole nation (Malachi 3:8-9).

The people were cursed with a curse because the tithes belonged to God for spiritual needs (Leviticus 27:30-32; Numbers 18:26-31; Deuteromony 14:28-29). They failed to honor the Lord with . . . the firstfruits of all their increase (Proverbs 3:9; Exodus 22:29; 2 Chronicles 31:5).

Returning one-tenth of all our increase to God shows that we realize that all we have is the Lord's and it demonstrates our love and gratitude to our Savior and Lord.

Faithful stewards recognize we are not [our] own. For [we] are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in [our bodies], and in [our spirits], which are God's (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). Obviously, the standard of accountability under the Old Covenant has not been lowered in the Kingdom of Christ. With our opportunities and responsibilities to teach the world His Word, how could we think of giving less than a tenth of our income to make Christ known?

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 tithes of all . . . to the priest of the Most High God (Genesis 14:18). To refuse to return to God the things that are God's (Matthew 22:21) is to keep for ourselves what God has said is sacred and is to be set aside for proclaiming the Gospel of Christ. Is this greed, selfishness, indifference, or just unbelief in the Word of God? The seriousness of this sin can be seen in the severity of the sentence pronounced by His prophet: [You] are cursed with a curse.

The Christian will do as Jesus taught and give to Caesar (the government) the things which are Caesar's (taxes); and to God the things that are God's (tithes and offerings) (Matthew 22:21). To ignore this fact is to disregard the Word of God, for He said: Bring . . . all the tithes into the storehouse . . . and prove Me . . . I will . . . pour you out a blessing (Malachi 3:10).

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; 1 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:

Government Official: Sen. Blanche Lincoln (AR) · Pray for one another · Country: Venezuela (23 million) on the northern coast of South America· Major languages: Spanish and Indian dialects · Religious freedom · 94% Roman Catholic; 1% Protestant; 1% Indian pagan religions · Prayer Suggestion: Praise and glorify the name of the Lord.

Memory Verse for the Week: Romans 15:4

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