Summary: Christians have been taught that the tithe is a "spiritual bill" they must pay in order to keep the "windows of heaven" open. Is it possible that this passage is being used to teach something that it does not teach?
As a child, before my brothers and sisters and I would sit down for breakfast, we asked our father what we could do to please him so that he would let us eat. He’d tell us. If we wanted lunch money for school we would ask our father what would please him. He’d tell us. At supper time, as we sat down we knew that if we hadn’t pleased our father, we wouldn’t have anything to eat.
I remember the first time I asked my father for a new outfit for Easter. “Daddy, what can I do for you so that you will buy me a new outfit for Easter?” That’s just one example of many.
All our lives, my brothers and sisters and I had to please our father before he would take care of us. Not once did he say “I’m your father and I love you. Don’t worry about it.” If we didn’t do something for him first, then he wasn’t too concerned about doing something for us.
It saddens me that this is how many Christians view their Heavenly Father. My earthly father never did what I just described. Never! He took care of his family. At one point in his life, he worked three jobs – a full time and two part-time – so that we would have what we needed. He was our Daddy and he loved us.
And yet, what I have just described is how many Christians see the “Father of fathers.”
Giving to God to Get from God
Certain verses and passages have been pounded into us over the years – and now we believe them without question – that seem to support the notion that “God gives to us when we give to Him.” They are passages that describe my “fictional” earthly father to a tee.
“Is it possible?”
I have been sensing the Lord’s desire to examine verses and passages that are used to teach us, not necessarily on purpose, to respond to Him as if we are not His children. Today I am introducing the series “Is it possible?”
So, let’s begin the lesson on Malachi 3:8-11.
(8) Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings.
(9) Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation.
(10) Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.
(11) And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground, neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the Lord of hosts.
This is the king of all prosperity passages. And it’s also the king of all passages used to “encourage” people to pay their tithes, especially with the veiled threat of a curse and closed heavenly windows hanging over their heads if they don’t.
I find it interesting that, in general, when Christians talk about the tithe, they say “I have to pay my tithe”. They don’t say “I have to give my tithe”. And more times than not, they say they have to pay the tithe as if they have no choice in the matter.
Let’s be honest. The tithe, for many Christians, has become a “spiritual bill” they must pay in order to keep the “windows of heaven” open. And, sadly that’s how many in pulpit preach this passage. Some preach it this way on purpose. Some preach it this way because this is how they were taught.
What is the truth that Malachi 3:8-11 teaches us?
When we read the book of Malachi we need to keep in mind:
? The law is still in effect.
? The Levitical priesthood is still in operation.
? Who the primary group God is speaking to
We’re going to start with verse 8.
“Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings.”
The word “rob” means “to cover or defraud”. What an interesting choice of words. Many of us have heard the phrase “cover your tracks”. A person who covers his tracks has done something he wants to keep secret. He wants everything to appear as normal. That’s deception. That’s fraudulent behavior.
A person who covers his tracks is purposefully trying to deceive someone by withholding that which the person values. The question we must answer: “What is being withheld from God that He values? Remember this.
“In tithes and offerings”