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Robbing God: Malachi 3:7-17
Since Malachi only mentions the fatherless once, you might think that we should have been done with this yesterday, but we're not. Why? Because the next section goes on to discuss something that directly affects them. This is why I said that the breaks in my Bible could make the thread hard to trace. It separates dealing with those who are oppressing others from robbing God of tithes, when really the two are part and parcel of one another.
God puts another very direct question to Israel, and again their answer is pretty pathetic. In this conversation you can clearly hear the heartbreak of God and the foolish hearts of His people.
"Even from the days of your fathers ye are gone away from mine ordinances, and have not kept them. Return unto me, and I will return unto you, saith the Lord of hosts. But ye said, Wherein shall we return? Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed the? In tithes and offerings. Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation." (3:7-9)
I find this a very interesting situation. Paradoxical, in fact. The message has been to the priests - the Levites. And who stands to benefit from the tithes - the Levites! They had no portion in the inheritance because God was to be their portion and He chose to provide for them through the tithes. And yet they are not encouraging the people to worship God with the tithes. They have fully forsaken God's plan for the provision of His house and His priests. But is it really all that uncommon for God's children to forsake the things through which He desires to bless them, simply so that they (we) can do according to their own pleasure?
The forsaking of the tithe would not only affect the Levites, but would also have an effect on the fatherless, the widow, the stranger and the poor. You may remember that early on in our study we discovered that every three years, when they gathered the tithe, it was to be shared with the Levites as well as these other people groups. (See Deuteronomy 14:28, 29.) When the tithe was being neglected, so were they.
What was God's response to this whole situation? You, as a nation, are cursed. The complete opposite of what it was when the people were doing what they were supposed to do in this area. God had already promised a blessing for carrying out the tithe (Deuteronomy 14:29) and He repeats the promise here:
"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."
What a promise! God so greatly desires our obedience.
The chapter ends with a comparison between those who said that it was vain to serve the Lord and those who feared Him. The latter spoke of Him often and their names were written before Him in a book of remembrance. His promise:
"And they shall be mine, saith the Lord of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him. Then shall ye return, and discern between the righteous and the wicked, and between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not."
Are we serving Him as we ought? Do we fear Him? Do we obey Him or are we robbing God?
"Asshur shall not save us; we will not ride upon horses: neither will we say any more to the work of our hands, Ye are our gods: for in Thee the fatherless findeth mercy." Hosea 14:3
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