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Bible Pathways 9/30/2000

September 30

Malachi 1 -- 4

The first generation of Israelites that had returned to Jerusalem to rebuild the Temple were dead, and the following generations had lost sight of the purpose of God for their being in Jerusalem. Consequently, the Israelite people expressed indifference toward His Word.
Malachi declared that the love of God may not always be fully understood, but it is only questioned by those who reject or neglect His Word: If you will not hear, and if you will not lay it to heart, to give glory to My Name, says the Lord of hosts, I will even send a curse upon you. . . . You have not kept My ways, but have. . . . profaned the holiness of the Lord. . . . You have wearied the Lord with your words (prayers) (Malachi 2:2, 9,11,17).
Malachi left no room for excuses when he said 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 (3:8-9).
The Israelites were cursed with a curse because they were keeping their tithes that belonged to God. They failed to honor the Lord with . . . the firstfruits of all their increase (Proverbs 3:9; Exodus 22:29; II Chronicles 31:5). And, in turn, because of this, the Lord would not honor them with an abundance of blessings (Proverbs 3:10; Deuteronomy 14:22).
We are meant to be stewards, caretakers, or managers of what the Lord has entrusted to us. And if, through selfishness or neglect, we keep for ourselves what belongs to His ministry, we are guilty of robbing God and depriving lost souls from knowing the Lord and receiving His Word. Equally serious, we incur the judgment of God instead of untold blessings He would have poured out upon us (see Malachi 3:10).
Surely we, as Christian stewards, will recognize that we are not our own. For we are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in our body, and in our spirit, which are God's (I Corinthians 6:19-20). Obviously, the standard of accountability has not been lowered in the Kingdom of Christ. With our privileges, opportunities, and responsibilities to teach the world the Word of God, how could we think of giving less than a tenth of our income to make Christ known? This is not obedience to the Law, but as an expression of love.
The principle of tithing precedes the giving of the Law by more than 500 years and was introduced by Abraham, the Father of all them that believe (Romans 4:11,16; see Galatians 3:6-9), who brought tithes of all . . . to Melchizedek, King of Salem . . . and . . . the priest of the Most High God (Genesis 14:18,20; compare Proverbs 11:24-25; II Corinthians 8: 12; 9:6-8). To refuse to give unto God the things that are God's (Matthew 22:21) is to keep for ourselves what God has said belongs to Him. The seriousness of this sin can be seen in the severity of the sentence meted out to the Israelites: You are cursed with a curse.
In the Book of Hebrews, this act of obedience set a spiritual precedent for the Levites, who have a commandment to take tithes of the people according to the Law (Hebrews 7:5). The child of God is commanded to render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's (Matthew 22:21). To ignore this fact is to disregard the Word of God, for He said: Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in My House, and prove Me now herewith, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open (to) you the windows of Heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it (Malachi 3:10).
Christ Revealed:
As the Messenger of the Covenant (Malachi 3:1; also Heb. 9:11-15). This is My blood of the New Testament (Covenant), which is shed for many for the remission of sins (Matt. 26:28; see also Mark 14:24; Luke 22:20; I Corinthians 11:25).
Word Studies:
1:6 fear means reverence; 1:13 snuffed means sneered; torn means lame or diseased; 2:12 the master and the scholar means the priest and the layman; 3:13 stout means arrogant, harsh, accusations.


Government Official: Sen. Blanche Lambert Lincoln (AR) · Pray for Rick Hash and the Bible Pathway Radio Broadcasts on WCVJ-FM, Jefferson, OH · Pray for the Bible Pathway International Radio Broadcast sponsored by Dr. and Mrs. John A. Hash · Country: Eritrea (4 million) in eastern Africa · Major languages: English and Tigrinya · Religious freedom · 51% Muslim; 40% Eritrean Orthodox; 4% Catholic; 1.5% Protestant · Prayer Suggestion: Pray for those who are in adverse circumstances (Hebrews 13:3).
Memory Verse for the Week:
Titus 2:14

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