3-Week Series: Double Blessing


Summary: Tithe


Three Christians were asked how they tithed.

The first replied, “Ten percent of my earnings right off the top and sometimes I give an offering of more.”

The second said, “I take what I need and give the rest to the church.”

Then the last believer stated, “I throw it all up into the air. What ever God wants, he takes. What ever comes back down, is mine.”

Malachi, as you know, is the last book of the Old Testament, and like other prophetic books, the contrasting themes of jubilation and judgment , death and deliverance, trouble and triumph are clear, stark and unmistakable. In times of chaos, the Lord insists His name is not compromised. The phrase “my name” occurs seven times in the book (Mal 1:11, 11, 14, 2:2, 2:5, 4:2) and the phrase “My name shall be great” is unique, occurring twice in the book (Mal 1:11, 11). In the book, however, Malachi accuses Israel of “profaning” His name (Mal 1:12), the covenant of the fathers (Mal 2:10) and the holiness of the Lord (Mal 2:11).

As believers, how do we uphold His name? Glorify His name? Magnify His name?

Return from Transgressing

1 "See, I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me. Then suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, will come," says the Lord Almighty. 2 But who can endure the day of his coming? Who can stand when he appears? For he will be like a refiner's fire or a launderer's soap. 3 He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; he will purify the Levites and refine them like gold and silver. Then the Lord will have men who will bring offerings in righteousness, 4 and the offerings of Judah and Jerusalem will be acceptable to the Lord, as in days gone by, as in former years. 5 "So I will come near to you for judgment. I will be quick to testify against sorcerers, adulterers and perjurers, against those who defraud laborers of their wages, who oppress the widows and the fatherless, and deprive aliens of justice, but do not fear me," says the Lord Almighty. 6 "I the Lord do not change. So you, O descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed. 7 Ever since the time of your forefathers you have turned away from my decrees and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you," says the Lord Almighty. "But you ask, 'How are we to return?' (Mal 3:1-7)

Martin Luther was known to say these famous words: “There are two days in my calendar: This day and that day.”

God’s coming judgment upon the Israelites is popularly known as “the day” or “the day of the Lord,” a phrase that makes its debut in the prophetic books (Isa 2:12), also known as the day of the Lord's vengeance (Isa 34:8), the day of the Lord's anger (Lam 2:22, Zeph 2:2-3) and the day of the Lord's wrath (Zeph 1:18). Malachi’s unique contribution from other books on his subject is his preference for calling it as “the day of his coming” (Mal 3:2). The day of the Lord is contrasted to the time, or “days” (plural) in KJV, of your forefathers when Israel turned away from God and did not keep His decrees (Mal 3:7).

From chapter three onwards, the word “day” debuts to four times each in chapters 3 and 4, eight times (Mal 3:2, 4, 7, 17, 4:1, 1, 3, 5) altogether in the book, spelling the day of his coming (Mal 3:2) or the great and dreadful day of the Lord (Mal 4:5), where the wicked will burn like fire in a furnace or oven (Mal 4:1). They will be like stubble reduced to ashes (Mal 4:3). The people and their practices will perish in a painful process. What do fire and soap (v 2) have in common and for use? They are both cleansing agents. One for things - metals and minerals, and the other for people. Nothing cleanses like fire. Fire cleanses thoroughly, once and for all, but soap is external, for daily use.

After the justification was introduced in chapters 1-2, the judgment announced in chapters 3-4 could not get any worse. Many words are associated with fire. Silver and gold (v 3) are two most coveted metals, but fire reduce them to nothing. Compared to the 100°C or 212° F boiling point of water at sea level, gold melts at about 1064 Celsius or 1948 Fahrenheit, so melting gold over a stove top is a no-no. A man asked on the internet suggested a furnace for the job and a crucible to melt it in, one usually made of clay and sillica.

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