God and money -- Success, Malachi 3:8-12

Will a man rob God? Yes

The entire book of Malachi is a dialogue between God and His people. God is not happy with the people at the time this book is written. There is widespread greed and corruption in high places. People are neglecting the poor and the so-called religious people have little respect for God. The scripture that I will look at here is often used to talk about people's attitude toward giving financially to the church, but the text has wider implications than that. We cannot be successful and disrespect God at the same time. Yet that is exactly what many people try to do. Many people have a flippant attitude toward God. They think they don't need God...until something happens to show them how many things they have no control over. Even then, they are bewildered and sometimes get angry with God rather than seeking Him to discern what corrective action to take. These verses are especially interesting because there is nothing new under the sun and things that went on back then are going on today.

Malachi 3:8

"Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings."

To be called a thief is a serious charge. But that is what is happening here. God accuses people of stealing from Him. He is making reference to the fact that people are not giving tithes and offerings. The tithe was the ten percent that God expected people to give Him from their income. This money was used for the upkeep of the temple and those who served there. People wanted the temple services but they didn't want to pay any money to keep them going. It is so similar today, and not just in the church. People want a high level of service from those who choose to help but they don't want to contribute to the upkeep of the helpers. Policemen, firemen, teachers, social workers, and ministers are expected to scrape along with a wage that barely makes ends meet. Yet we want topnotch security, protection, education and help in times of crisis and we don't seem to understand when these people leave their professions in frustration. God created a system to take care of His workers and His workplace, but people were not cooperating with that system.

Malachi 3:9

"Ye are cursed with a curse, for ye have robbed Me, even this whole nation."

There are many reasons why people don't pay tithes to God, just as there were back then. For some people, they believe "my money is mine and I don't have to give it." However, God is the source of everything and He has the right to ask what He will. He is the source of the job you have, the money you make, the skills you use, the opportunities that come your way. Refusing to do what God tells us to do is more than robbing Him of money. It is also robbing Him of respect, of loyalty, of honesty, and of love. Others hold back out of fear of not having enough. But isn't this saying God cannot or will not take care of you? Whatever the reason a person gives for not obeying God, it calls for some self examination. It is no accident that our entire economy is struggling to get back on it's feet. All the sectors are fluttering up and down, trying to regain balance. But God offers an answer to the problem.


God gives the power to get wealth

If you want to be successful, you have to give God His due.
If you want to be successful, you have to give God His due.

Let's make a deal

Malachi 3:10

"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."

Here God makes us an offer that is hard to refuse.  He says, I will make a deal with you.  You pay the tithes that you are supposed to pay anyway and I will bless you so much that you won't have room to hold it all.  This is another of those IF-THEN promises.  IF you do your part and pay the tithe, THEN God will bless you with abundance.  IF you keep robbing God, then curses await you.  IF you pay the tithes, blessings await you.  God says through the prophet, "Try Me and see for yourself."  Sometimes when your financial situation is looking pretty bleak, the simple act of tithing can turn things around. 

Malachi 3:11

"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."

In the previous verse, God says He will pour out a blessing.  But in this verse He is offering a different type of help, that of protection.  You can have wonderful plans and be carrying them out when suddenly everything starts falling apart.  Your new business can fail before you have a chance to get rolling.  Your relationship can break up just when you thought things were working well.  All sorts of things can happen to ruin your best plans.  But God says He will protect you from these kinds of disasters if you do what He tells you in verse 10.  He will assist you in bringing your dreams to reality.  He will make sure that the things you start reach their proper conclusion.

Malachi 3:12

"And all nations shall call you blessed, for ye shall be a delightsome land, saith the Lord of hosts."

This is not just an individual blessing but a national one.  If all the people of the nation who follow the Lord would give Him tithes, the whole nation would enjoy the blessings of the Lord.  And other nations would see it and be impressed with our blessed status.  As more and more people seek to understand God and His Word, and as we practice the things we learn, we will move closer to this ideal situation. 

This is still another of God's formulas for success.  It is really just common sense that if we want to be pleasing in the sight of God, we have to respect Him and do the things He tells us to do.  Jesus said, "The one who loves me is the one who keeps my words."  For God and for Jesus, Love is spelled O-B-E-Y.  And this is the way for us to do well in life, individually and collectively as a nation.

 

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Comments 15 comments

IlOvEtHeLoRd! 6 years ago

I just love God and I am so thankful for what he has done for me. I love you, Jesus!!!!!! (with all my heart)


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bjspivey-rivers 6 years ago Author

Thank you for your comment. Praising the Lord is always welcome!


Evi 5 years ago

the Obedient ones shall eat the good of their Lands.


Pam 4 years ago

the tithe in Malachi was not money. It was food. a Tithe was NEVER cash...


Liz 4 years ago

I agree with Pam Tithe was not about money.The tithe was the giving of the crops to the temple so the poor and the Levies would have food to eat.Further more a canker worm can't eat money this verse would have to be referring to crops.It has been said that they used crops back the because they did not have money but they did have money in those days cause if they would travel for a distance they would sell the crops and buy more when they completed there journey.So we need too go back and do more research on these verses in Malachi 3:8-12.


DeeRod 4 years ago

I have been struggling financially for the last year or so. I have done everything in my power to "man up" and try to resolve the situation and it has gotten me know where. It has made me tired, depressed and generally unhappy. Today I cried out to God and he spoke to me through Malachi 3:8-12. I understood clearly what God was telling me but I wanted to get a bit more depth of his voice/word so I googled it. This post came up and I am very grateful. When I next get the chance I am going to tithe in faith and give all that God asks of me and more! Not because I want the blessings (although I would like them, and I think I might need them ) but because it is the right thing to do and I want to honor God. Once again, thanks for the post


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bjspivey-rivers 4 years ago Author

Thank you for the feedback. I am glad the post was helpful to you.


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bjspivey-rivers 4 years ago Author

The people were farmers and keepers of animals. The tithe was the first fruits of their labors. Unless you are a farmer or raise cattle or sheep or goats or similar animals, the fruit of your labor is money. I suppose you could go out and buy grain and animals to take to church, but where would they put it? The Jerusalem temple had storage facilities to put grain and they ate whatever meat was brought. We use money because money is what we get for our labor. The principle is still the same, returning to God a little of what he allows us to have. Thanks for your feedback.


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bjspivey-rivers 4 years ago Author

Thanks for your feedback. You are correct in that the food was used to feed the poor and those who served in the temple. They used crops and animals because that was the fruit of their labor. They were farmers and animal keepers. The symbolism is that your prosperity is from God and tithing is returning a little of that prosperity to Him. People also paid a temple tax, so there was some money exchange. The money and food was used for the upkeep of the temple, the care of those who served in the temple, priests and Levites and to serve the needy in the community. It should be the same today.


Eliot Lugo-Hernandez 3 years ago

Let use some logic. Abraham circumcised Isaac on the eighth day; the male was circumcised, under the Law, on the eighth day, and Jesus was circumcised on the eighth day. Before the Law and under the Law, males were circumcised. However, Christian males are not circumcised at the eighth day. Concerning tithes, context has been thrown out the window. When Jesus speaks of the tithe on Matthew 23:23, the second sacred cow for tithe advocates, Jesus was still under the Law. The New Covenant did not take effect until Jesus died. Read Hebrews. If Paul preached the same message of the Kingdom of Heaven as John the Baptist and Jesus did, why Paul did not mention tithing? Some people believe that tithing was a given so there was no reason to mention it. However, prayer was a given and the Church of Jesus Christ was born at a prayer meeting, so why mention prayer if it was a given? Tithing is not for the New Testament Church. However, giving is. When you read about the conversion of Cornelius on Acts 10, you can see that his praying and alms giving, not tithes and offerings, touched God. "Your prayers and alms have ascended as a memorial before God."

Malachi 3 is addressed to the Nation of Israel. God was mad, among other things, with His people for robbing Him. Tithing is not an eternal principle. The New Testament Church did not tithe, they sold everything they had and brought it to the Apostles. Also, Adam and Eve did not tithe, either, as some preachers are saying.


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bjspivey-rivers 3 years ago Author

Thank you for your feedback. We could use many arguments to dispute the practice of tithing. But I find that people who do it have a tendency to prosper, not only in their finances but overall. So I guess God is still honoring His promise even though some people think it has gone out of style. You are correct in pointing out that in the New Testament people gave everything they had to the apostles. If people have a problem with giving a portion of what they have back to God, it is unlikely that they will give all their wealth to Him. In fact these are symbolic acts of faith. The tithe is just the beginning of giving. God does want us to come to the place where we give Him everything. Our wealth, our time, our abilities and our talents and our lives. What I mean here is that we let Him determine what we do with all these things. Tithing is the beginning of that commitment. To tithe is to show that you trust God to honor the promise of His Word. Whether you use the word tithe or giving, it still involves transfer of wealth. That transfer says God is more important than money. Faith and trust honors God and in the same way, God honors trust and faith.


CalebSparks 3 years ago

Thanks for the hub, bjspivey-rivers. However I must point out that tithing (giving 10% to God) is not a command for New Testament believers. Malachi was written to the Jewish people under the Old Testament Law. If New Testament believers wish to follow this measure, it's up to them---but tithing should never be taught as a command.


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bjspivey-rivers 3 years ago Author

Thank you for your comment. People often point out that tithing originated in the Old Testament. Would you rather give as the New Testament church did? They gave all their wealth to the Apostles. God honors cheerful giving, whether you follow the instructions of Malachi or Acts. I find that people say tithing is not for Christians today to avoid paying them, but they do not follow the New Testament way either. At least tithers are tithing.


CalebSparks 3 years ago

Thank you. I understand where you are coming from. I just happen to be a detailed person and wanted to point out that tithing is not actually a command. I have heard countless preachers use "tithing" as a tool of fear to ensure that the funds keep coming in. I find this lack of study on the part of pastors disturbing.


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bjspivey-rivers 3 years ago Author

Thank you for commenting and for being attentive to the Word. I agree, we all need to study more, especially those in leadership, so we can rightly divide the Word of truth.

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