Malachi chapter 3 vs 8-12
Second Corinthian's chapter 9. Vs 6-8
Gods people are called into a "covenant" with God.
Be it the Old Testament, or in the New Testament time. We are to honour Him. We are called to be different, To "not" be like the world! Not to be selfish.
But generous towards God and others.
God's covenants/promises are
The book of Malachi the prophet, is laid out as a "personal letter from God to his people".
And is the last book in the Old Testament. His name means "My messenger". He was called to be a spokesperson for God to a people that were growing weary of Serving God. We read about bored Priests and hard hearted people. The nation of Israel was "going through the motions". Cynicism was rampant. Not unlike the way things are today. I'd like to give a brief overview of the outline of the book. But concentrate on the passage that speaks of "tithing".
And I want us to notice that no matter how far we stray from God. Cynical. Or weary of serving. Disobedient. Not trusting God and doubting His love for us. Realize that. God is always there with open arms waiting for us to change our heart and turn to Him.
Return to me, and I will return to you, says the Lord of hosts. 3:7 The outline of the book is this.
Chapter 3 verse 8.
Will a man rob God? Yet you have Robbed me! But you say, in what way have we robbed you? In tithes and offerings. 9 You are cursed with a curse, for you have robbed me, even this whole nation. 10 Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house, and try me now in this, says the Lord of hosts. if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you such a blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it. 11 and I will rebuke the devourer for your sake's, so that he will not destroy the fruit of your ground, nor shall the vinefail to bear fruit for you in the field, says the Lord of hosts. 12 and all the nations will call you blessed, for you will be a delightful land, says the Lord of hosts.
Notice first. The style of writing. Conversation or dialogue between God and his people. God reasoning with Israel. And their pathetic response.
I want to clarify something... and point out something as well...
For us today. Holding onto our money and not being generous toward God and in our case the ministry of the local church. is just plain wrong! And we need to have our attitudes on this subject correct.
My personal experience with tithing....
This passage of scripture has been missused so many times to manipulate. To make it say something that it doesn't. And has caused people so much pain. In that they are pressured, coerced into giving way beyond what they can possibly afford to various so-called "ministries" "Church leaders" With the promise of. Getting rich.
This "prosperity gospel" message that is very prevalent today among TV evangelists.
Is dangerous, and is a complete and utter lie... don't believe it, you'll hear the same "preachers"blame people and say,,, if it doesn't work, well then you just don't have enough faith etc." For God cannot lie"/ They misinterpret, miss represent God! And His word.
But that doesn't mean we should throw out the baby with the bath water because people manipulate and twist the word of God... we must rightly divide the word of truth.
Tithing, giving is one of those subjects that preachers don't like to give. Because of all the abuse thats out there. So I will do it on behalf of Rockburn presbyterian church...
The whole topic of giving... How much? 10%. 15%. 5%.
Paul gives us a pretty good understanding in the new testament
2nd Corinthian's chapter 9 vs 6-8 notice it's not a question of percentage but of the heart!
But I say, he who sows Sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. 7 so let each one give as he purposes and his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity, for God loves a cheerful giver. 8 and God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.
So here we see that is not an old testament thing... It is for us today. But that it is an "attitude of the heart" We are to give cheerfully, generously, We don't do it to get rich. We don't do it to get noticed. And we realize that it is a blessing. A true blessing towards Gods work. There is no set amount other than that which we decide in our heart to give. We should stick to that and trust God to provide and to bless us. And noticed that the more we give and the more we learn to trust the more we will be willing to give.
So you see in conclusion..
We are called to honour God. To put him as our top priority.
If you wanna know how people feel about something. Look at where they spend their money!
The very act of tithing is both an act of worship. And reveals our trust in Him to provide for us, for his workers. And work. Personally, materially and spiritually.
In doing this we share in God's plans. We invest in eternity.
I am reminded of the passage. Luke chapter 12 verse 34. "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also"...
God has made a promise to us, he has made a covenant with his church. He's making a promise to you today. For We are called to be different than the world. In that we are not to be selfish and hoard all our riches. But we are called to honour and obey God in all things.
Are we ready to trust him with money.
Can we rob God? Yes we can,,, let's not! Let us be cheerful giver's from now on.