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Bible Pathways 9/30/2001

September 30

Read Read Malachi 1 -- 4

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. 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: 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 (Malachi 2:2).

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 (3:8-9).

The people were cursed with a curse because the tithes belonged to God for spiritual needs. They failed to honor the Lord with . . . the firstfruits of all their increase (Proverbs 3:9; Exodus 22:29; II 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 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 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 14:18,20). 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 to be set aside for proclaiming the Gospel of Christ. Is it 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: You are cursed with a curse (Malachi 3:9).

The Christian will give to Caesar (the government) the things which are Caesar's (taxes); and to 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 . . . 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 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; 2:12 the master and the scholar means the priest and the layman; 3:13 stout means arrogant, harsh.

Prayer Needs:
Government Official: Sen. Blanche Lincoln (AR) · Pray for Reverend Henry Lantang, Indonesian translator · Pray for the Bible Pathway International Radio broadcast sponsored by Dr. & Mrs. John A. Hash · Country: Belize (236,000) on the eastern coast of Central America · Major languages: English and Spanish · Religious freedom · 64% Roman Catholic; 26% Protestant; 2% spiritist/animist; 1% Hindu; 1% Muslim; 1% Baha'i · Prayer Suggestion: Pray without anger or resentment in your heart (I Timothy 2:8).

Memory Verse for the Week: Malachi 3:10

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