Thursday, December 3, 2015

Testing God

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“Bring all the tithes into the storehouse so there will be enough food in my Temple.  If you do,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, “I will open the windows of heaven for you.  I will pour out a blessing so great you won’t have enough room to take it in!  Try it!  Put me to the test!  Your crops will be abundant, for I will guard them from insects and disease.  Your grapes will not fall from the vine before they are ripe,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.  “Then all nations will call you blessed, for your land will be such a delight,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.   Malachi 3:10-12(NLT)
Yesterday we shared the “cause and effect” nature of sin; today let’s take a look at the same principle applied to the opposite of sin – trusting God.

Malachi the prophet offered a challenge to his contemporaries – put God to the test!  Now that sounds ominous, as if one is supposed to get all adversarial with the Almighty.  But that’s not the tone Malachi is suggesting; his purpose is to encourage the people of Israel to begin believing in the promise of God by changing their ways to come in line with what they say they believe, that JHWH, Jehovah God is their God.

Specifically Malachi is referring to the ancient practice of tithing, dedicating a tenth (10%) of what you harvest (earn) to God, and bringing it faithfully to God’s house.  The Lord’s promise concerning this is heaven’s blessing on everything.

Admittedly this is one of those statements issued to the nation of Israel, and you always enter dangerous territory when you adopt someone else’s promises as your own.  Or if you take what is promised to a nation and try to make it fit for an individual. 

However, stewardship in Scripture is a universal principle of worship towards God, and nations, as a whole, do not worship; people worship.  And in this case, applying a worship principle to a worshipper is not a stretch – it’s a given!

Short answer here is:  when you worship, bring your tithe!

Now, I may have just stated the reason why a lot of people have deleted church from their to-do list.  Call it worship-plate-phobia or just plain selfishness, but, there it is!

Here in America we live in the most affluent society on planet earth.  Yet among self-proclaimed Christians stewardship (depending on which source you consult) never gets above 2 or 3%; that’s a far-cry from the tithe!

Is there a reason many churches in the U.S. are closing their doors?

Is there a reason the U.S. economy teeters dangerously close to recession/depression?

Is there a reason food lines are longer, and the storehouses have to turn more away?

It might be that our obsession with material things, accumulating wealth and gathering prosperity, while ignoring the most basic stewardship principle of all is catching up with us. 

Perhaps we have sown to the wind, and are reaping the whirlwind.

Trusting JHWH with our finances should be a simple thing for people who claim to have trusted Him with our eternal souls.  And that, especially when the promise is blessing from above so great it overwhelms the imagination!

For You Today

This stewardship principle of bringing the tithe to the house of JHWH is more than a duty to be observed; it is more the Christian way of living life in Christ. 

After all, when you serve the One who gave everything, 10% starts looking like such a tiny amount.

Think about that out on the Rocky Road today…and have a great day!

[1] Title image:  By Takkk (Own work), via Wikimedia Commons

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