Summary: This message is taken from author’s book, CHRISTIAN STEWARDSHIP.
IT IS BETTER NOT TO ROB GOD
Introduction: The question is asked in Malachi chapter 3, "Will a man rob God?" I could understand a "yes" answer to this question if it was being asked to a lost man, but I cannot understand why a saved man would even think about robbing God. Have you thought lately about all the good things that God has done for you? Have you thought about the way that He gave Himself on the cross to save you, and all the blessings that He permits you to have on an ongoing basis? Yet, there are saved people in this church today who either have or may presently be robbing God.
From this most interesting text, I can prove from the Scriptures that it is far better not to rob God. If you really love God, as you should, why would you ever want to steal from God? Would you steal from your own mother; would you steal from the bank that you do business with? Would you go next door to your neighbor’s house, and steal the gas out of his car. Even with Gas being as expensive as it is, I can’t imagine you going next door and stealing your neighbor’s gasoline. Yet some of the good people that I am referring to, would never think of stealing one cent from someone else, but have been guilty stealing from God. The Bible says that such a person is cursed with a curse. I say again, "It is better not to rob God". In addressing this subject, and also while helping our church, I wish to consider two thoughts this morning. 1. The People’s Rebuke for Not Giving. 2. The Promised Result of Ones Giving.
I. THE PEOPLE’S REBUKE FOR NOT GIVING. (Vv. 6-9).
The Mosaic law had a sophisticated system of giving that was based on the tithe (10%); but tithing predated the law (Genesis 14:18-20). Contrary to what many believe, the tithe continued after the law into the New Testament as these verses clearly show:
Mat 23:23 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier [matters] of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.
Luk 11:42 But woe unto you, Pharisees! for ye tithe mint and rue and all manner of herbs, and pass over judgment and the love of God: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.
Our text shows us that when the people failed to give God the entire tithe, they were in fact robbing Him. The giving of the tithe was a way of acknowledging that God owns everything; if you failed to pay your tithe, you were assessed a 20% penalty (Leviticus 5:14-16; 22:14; 27:31-32). God wanted His people to have an awareness of the severity of robbing God. The very fact that God uses the very strong word "rob" shows just how serious that it is to withhold the tithes and the offerings from the Lord.
A. The People Were Rebuked For Their Failure In Giving. (Vv.6-8).
When people do not give, there is a failure. It is a failure involving ones faith, and it is also a failure that involves fear. II Corinthians 8:1-3 shows us that you prove your love by your giving. It calls giving a grace. Notice, these verses:
Moreover, brethren, we do you to wit of the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia;
How that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality.
For to [their] power, I bear record, yea, and beyond [their] power [they were] willing of themselves;
When there is not proper Biblical giving taking place, then that is an indication that something Spiritually is wrong. It indicates that one is failing to appropriate the grace that God has for all that we do, which includes the grace that is necessary for giving.
The Nation of Israel was in disobedience because they had departed or "gone away" from the ordinances of God. This disobedience was their failure, and it is the same for those of us who now live in the church age.
B. The People Were Rebuked For Their Faithlessness In Giving. (Cf. V. 10)
When giving is exercised with the proper motive, the giver is demonstrating his confidence in the Word of God. A person that believes the Bible to be the very Word of God will demonstrate it in a very practical way, and will also prove his love for the Lord as he gives. The nation of Israel had gone away, in unbelief from the ordinances of God, and God is seen in our text challenging them to return to Him and "prove" Him, as to His faithfulness, by their giving the tithes and the offerings.