In reading through Malachi - Chapter 3 - I came to a new understanding.
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?'
8 "Will a man rob God? Yet you rob me. "But you ask, 'How do we rob you?' "In tithes and offerings. 9 You are under a curse—the whole nation of you—because you are robbing me. 10 Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this," says the LORD Almighty, "and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it. 11 I will prevent pests from devouring your crops, and the vines in your fields will not cast their fruit," says the LORD Almighty.
12 "Then all the nations will call you blessed, for yours will be a delightful land," says the LORD Almighty. 13 "You have said harsh things against me," says the LORD. "Yet you ask, 'What have we said against you?'
14 "You have said, 'It is futile to serve God. What did we gain by carrying out his requirements and going about like mourners before the LORD Almighty? 15 But now we call the arrogant blessed. Certainly the evildoers prosper, and even those who challenge God escape.' "
16 Then those who feared the LORD talked with each other, and the LORD listened and heard. A scroll of remembrance was written in his presence concerning those who feared the LORD and honored his name. 17 "They will be mine," says the LORD Almighty, "in the day when I make up my treasured possession. I will spare them, just as in compassion a man spares his son who serves him. 18 And you will again see the distinction between the righteous and the wicked, between those who serve God and those who do not.
God asks that we give him our first tithe. The tithe is to go to the church (storehouse). The offerings are for others. That's over and above the tithe. When we do this He says to "test Him". He will pour out His blessings upon us. Blessings doesn't necessarily mean money, it actually means peace. This I already knew.
What I sometimes think about and wonder about - but never realized it was there in scripture was this: In verse 11 He says that he will devour the pests from destroying your crops. This is if you give Him what is His. I interpret this to mean that if we don't give it to Him freely, He will allow for it to be taken from us in other ways. He says in verse 11 that He will devour the pests for us! Although if we don't give Him what is already His why should He devour the pests?
As I said, I already know that we're supposed to be tithing to the church. We have at times fully trusted in the Lord as we gave our tithe, even when we had nothing. And the Lord showed us just as He says in verse 10 Test me in this," says the LORD Almighty, "and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it. Yet here we are questioning again. Since Dave has been only on unemployment, we are falling short of the budget we had planned. Then I think, well Dave is serving the Lord by helping the homeless. But I don't think that makes us exempt from tithing. Yes, we are struggling financially. Well not really if you compare us to those that have nothing. We live a pretty comfortable life compared to the orphans across the world that have to allow themselves to be raped at the age of 10 in order to get food for themselves and their siblings. (Not that I'm just throwing that last statement out there, because I have much more to say about that. It'll be in another post though.) I just figured that our tithe was our service and then whatever money we could give we would. Even though I know that's just not the case. And so, a couple of weeks ago our basement flooded. We lost a lot of our possessions. BIG DEAL! I really was not upset. They're just things. But now when I read this scripture...I wonder. What IF we had been tithing. Would God have protected our basement from flooding? Maybe - probably. I guess I'll never know. I have come to realize and believe in my heart that if you don't give it up freely, it will be taken in another way. Personally, I would much rather give of my money from my heart...which really is my desire anyways. So, starting immediately we will begin tithing again. I hope that I can give a huge testimony about this. Just like God says, "test me in this". So, I will again accept the invitation to test him. And I will testify to what He does! Stay tuned!
Thank you Lord for your amazing ways!
Closing with this scripture:
1 Corinthians 13:3 (NASB) "And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing."
With love I desire to give freely! According to scripture, perfect love casts out all fear! Help me Lord to have perfect love giving without fear.
Welcome to our journey. The purpose of my blog is not only to journal our life experience, but also to share what God is doing in our lives. I do not claim to be an expert in parenting, marriage, or even the Bible. But I do have a heart to share my experiences and the true love that God has for each and every one of us. You can read our testimony by clicking on the top of the page. And if you'd like to know about the Homeless Ministry my husband started, you can click on the Homeless tab. I hope you will comment freely on my posts and in my community.