Tithing, Giving and the Scriptures: It’s Not What You Think [Part 15]

Malachi and the Lord’s List of Charges Against Israel (Malachi)

1:1The burden of the word of the Lord to Israel by Malachi. 2″I have loved you,” says the Lord. “Yet you say, ‘In what way have You loved us?’ Was not Esau Jacob’s brother?” Says the Lord. “Yet Jacob I have loved; 3But Esau I have hated, And laid waste his mountains and his heritage For the jackals of the wilderness.”

4Even though Edom has said, “We have been impoverished, But we will return and build the desolate places,” Thus says the Lord of hosts:

“They may build, but I will throw down; They shall be called the Territory of Wickedness, And the people against whom the Lord will have indignation forever. 5Your eyes shall see, And you shall say, ‘The Lord is magnified beyond the border of Israel.’

6″A son honors his father, And a servant his master. If then I am the Father, Where is My honor? And if I am a Master, Where is My reverence? Says the Lord of hosts To you priests who despise My name. Yet you say, ‘In what way have we despised Your name?’

7″You offer defiled food on My altar. But say, ‘In what way have we defiled You?’ By saying, ‘The table of the Lord is contemptible.’ 8And when you offer the blind as a sacrifice, Is it not evil? And when you offer the lame and sick, Is it not evil? Offer it then to your governor! Would he be pleased with you? Would he accept you favorably?” Says the Lord of hosts.

9″But now entreat God’s favor, That He may be gracious to us. While this is being done by your hands, Will He accept you favorably?” Says the Lord of hosts. 10″Who is there even among you who would shut the doors, So that you would not kindle fire on My altar in vain? I have no pleasure in you,” Says the Lord of hosts, “Nor will I accept an offering from your hands. 11For from the rising of the sun, even to its going down, My name shall be great among the Gentiles; In every place incense shall be offered to My name, And a pure offering; For My name shall be great among the nations,” Says the Lord of hosts.

12″But you profane it, In that you say, ‘The table of the Lord is defiled; And its fruit, its food, is contemptible.’ 13You also say, ‘Oh, what a weariness!’ And you sneer at it,” Says the Lord of hosts. “And you bring the stolen, the lame, and the sick; Thus you bring an offering! Should I accept this from your hand?” Says the Lord. 14″But cursed be the deceiver Who has in his flock a male, And takes a vow, But sacrifices to the Lord what is blemished—For I am a great King,” Says the Lord of hosts, “And My name is to be feared among the nations.

2:1″And now, O priests, this commandment is for you. 2If you will not hear, And if you will not take it to heart, To give glory to My name,” Says the Lord of hosts, “I will send a curse upon you, And I will curse your blessings. Yes, I have cursed them already, Because you do not take it to heart.

3″Behold, I will rebuke your descendants And spread refuse on your faces, The refuse of your solemn feasts; And one will take you away with it. 4Then you shall know that I have sent this commandment to you, That My covenant with Levi may continue,” Says the Lord of hosts. 5″My covenant was with him, one of life and peace, And I gave them to him that he might fear Me; So he feared Me And was reverent before My name. 6The law of truth was in his mouth, And injustice was not found on his lips. He walked with Me in peace and equity, And turned many away from iniquity.

7″For the lips of a priest should keep knowledge, And people should seek the law from his mouth; For he is the messenger of the Lord of hosts. 8But you have departed from the way; You have caused many to stumble at the law. You have corrupted the covenant of Levi,” Says the Lord of hosts.

9″Therefore I also have made you contemptible and base Before all the people, Because you have not kept My ways But have shown partiality in the law.”

10Have we not all one Father? Has not one God created us? Why do we deal treacherously with one another By profaning the covenant of the fathers? 11Judah has dealt treacherously, And an abomination has been committed in Israel and in Jerusalem, For Judah has profaned The Lord’s holy institution which He loves: He has married the daughter of a foreign god. 12May the Lord cut off from the tents of Jacob The man who does this, being awake and aware, Yet who brings an offering to the Lord of hosts!

13And this is the second thing you do: You cover the altar of the Lord with tears, With weeping and crying; So He does not regard the offering anymore, Nor receive it with goodwill from your hands. 14Yet you say, “For what reason?” Because the Lord has been witness Between you and the wife of your youth, With whom you have dealt treacherously; Yet she is your companion And your wife by covenant. 15But did He not make them one, Having a remnant of the Spirit? And why one? He seeks godly offspring. Therefore take heed to your spirit, And let none deal treacherously with the wife of his youth.

16″For the Lord God of Israel says that He hates divorce, for it covers one’s garment with violence,” says the Lord of hosts. “Therefore take heed to your spirit, that you do not deal treacherously.”

17You have wearied the Lord with your words; Yet you say, “In what way have we wearied Him?” In that you say, “Everyone who does evil is good in the sight of the Lord, And He delights in them,” Or, “Where is the God of justice?”

3:1″Behold, I send My messenger, and he will prepare the way before Me. And the Lord, whom you seek, will suddenly come to His temple, even the Messenger of the covenant, in whom you delight. Behold, He is coming,” says the Lord of hosts.

2″But who can endure the day of His coming? And who can stand when He appears? For He is like a refiner’s fire and like launderer’s soap. 3He will sit as a refiner and a purifier of silver; He will purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer to the Lord an offering in righteousness.

4″Then the offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasant to the Lord, as in the days of old, as in former years. 5And I will come near you for judgment; I will be a swift witness against sorcerers, against adulterers, against perjurers, against those who exploit wage earners and widows and orphans, and against those who turn away an alien—because they do not fear Me,” says the Lord of hosts.

6″For I am the Lord, I do not change; therefore you are not consumed, O sons of Jacob. 7Yet from the days of your fathers You have gone away from My ordinances and have not kept them. Return to Me, and I will return to you,” says the Lord of hosts. “But you said, ‘In what way shall we return?’

8″Will a man rob God? Yet you have robbed Me! But you say, ‘In what way have we robbed You?’ In tithes and offerings. 9You are cursed with a curse, for you have robbed Me, even this whole nation. 10Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house, and try Me now in this,” says the Lord of hosts, “If I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you such blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it.

11″And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, so that he will not destroy the fruit of your ground, nor shall the vine fail to bear fruit for you in the field,” says the Lord of hosts; 12″And all nations will call you blessed, for you will be a delightful land,” says the Lord of hosts.

13″Your words have been harsh against Me,” says the Lord, “yet you say, ‘What have we spoken against You?’ 14You have said, ‘It is useless to serve God; what profit is it that we have kept His ordinance, and that we have walked as mourners before the Lord of hosts? 15So now we call the proud blessed, for those who do wickedness are raised up; they even tempt God and go free.'”

16Then those who feared the Lord spoke to one another, and the Lord listened and heard them; So a book of remembrance was written before Him for those who fear the Lord and who meditate on His name.

17″They shall be Mine,” says the Lord of hosts, “on the day that I make them My jewels. And I will spare them As a man spares his own son who serves him.” 18Then you shall again discern between the righteous and the wicked, between one who serves God and one who does not serve Him.

4:1″For behold, the day is coming, burning like an oven, and all the proud, yes, all who do wickedly will be stubble. And the day which is coming shall burn them up,” says the Lord of hosts, “that will leave them neither root nor branch. 2But to you who fear My name the Sun of Righteousness shall arise with healing in His wings; And you shall go out and grow fat like stall-fed calves. 3You shall trample the wicked, for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet on the day that I do this,” says the Lord of hosts.

4″Remember the Law of Moses, My servant, which I commanded him in Horeb for all Israel, with the statutes and judgments. 5Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord. 6And he will turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the earth with a curse.”

Malachi Chapter 1

1:1-5 Great ingratitude and arrogance.

1:6 Insolence, rebellion, contempt, neglect and hypocrisy of the priesthood.

1:7 Contempt, greed, disobedience to Law, creating law unto themselves; deeds reveal their hearts.

1:8 Offered unacceptable sacrifices; lowered God’s standards; they think it’s okay to serve God part-way, and make up other rules as it suits them.

1:9 Priests are deceptive, to people and to God, which causes evil to come upon the people; God rejects them, since they are covetous and wicked.

1:10 The Levites didn’t do their jobs; thought God either wouldn’t see or wouldn’t care; God rejects them and their offering.

1:11 Because of the rebellion of both the people and the priests, God rejects His favored nation and promises to make His name great among the Gentiles, who will offer a pure offering. He foreshadows an end to all these legal ceremonies by Christ’s sacrifice alone.

1:12 Neglect by both priests and people, disobedience, impiety, contempt of God and covetousness.

1:13 Laziness, pride in service, lukewarmness, greedy, keeping the best for themselves.

1:14 Lying, breaking of vows, lack of fear of the Lord.

Malachi Chapter 2

2:1 Rebukes the priests.

2:2 God threatens to continue the curse, and increase it, if they continue to refuse to hear, take it to heart, and give glory to Him. God condemns their motivations, not just that the sacrifices are unacceptable, but that they are not rightly motivated, out of appreciation and love. They are doing it for self-gratification, trying to buy God’s blessings.

2:3 God promises lack, regardless of their actions, and promises filth and shame as consequences of their disobedient feasts.

2:4 God upholds the rightness of His covenant while rejecting those that abuse it.

2:5 God reminds them of His promise of life and peace to Levi; all they had to do was serve Him according to His word (with respect and fear).

2:6 Compares the current priesthood to righteous Levi, who spoke the truth, had it in his heart and taught it to others.

2:7 Priests reproved for not being righteous representatives of the Lord.

2:8 Priests are stumbling blocks and have corrupted the Law.

2:9 God caused the priests to be despised by the people because they dealt unjustly with them, and not according to the justice in the Law.

2:10 In that they take advantage of the people, they try to take advantage of the Lord.

2:11 Profanity and marriage with foreign wives, which led them into idolatry.

2:12 The Lord promises to cut off those who deal deceitfully, yet believe they are okay with God because they bring Him offerings.

2:13 Ignorance of God’s ways, that all it will take is crying out to Him to get Him to bless them once again.

2:14 God explains this curse because they broke the laws of marriage, part of the covenant.

2:15 Exhorts to self-control and acting wisely.

2:16 God hates divorce, which had become acceptable, even amongst the priests.

2:17 They murmured against God, accusing Him of not hearing because He didn’t come when called. They interpreted His timing as favoring the wicked, that He was ignorant of their actions, so pushed their behavior to the limits, to see how far they could go. Blasphemy against the sovereignty and righteousness of God.

Malachi Chapter 3

3:1 God outlines His solution to the problem; promising His messenger (John the Baptist), His coming (as Messiah), and the maker and keeper of the covenant (the fulfiller of the Law, Christ).

3:2 The hypocrites will get what they thought they wanted; the Messiah will begin the judgment with those who abused His people.

3:3 God Himself will purify and purge His priests.

3:4 He will then accept their offering (the coming of the Messiah ushers in a new kind of priesthood).

3:5 God will Himself judge, where they would not, against sorcerers, adulterers, perjurers (liars), thieves and those who fail to take care of the widows and orphans, and don’t take in foreigners, which prove their lack of the fear of the Lord.

3:6 God reminds them of His faithfulness, even in the face of their ingratitude.

3:7 Even though they turned against Him, God promises that if they return, He will likewise. In their arrogance, they continue to defend themselves.

3:8 God accuses them of robbing Him of tithes and offerings.

3:9 God curses the priests and the whole nation with a curse for having robbed Him.

3:10 Yet still gives them one last chance: God challenges the people to see if He is indeed a forgiving and gracious God, in that, even after all this, if they will just do this one simple thing, if they will bring the tithes into the storehouse, on His terms, He will pour out such abundant blessing that they would not be able to contain it.

3:11 The Lord restates His promises to care for His people,

3:12 and to make them a showpiece before the other nations.

3:13 The Lord rebukes them for criticizing Him,

3:14 and questioning His faithfulness, righteousness and providence.

3:15 Israel accuses God of unfairness and rewarding the proud.

3:16 Some in Israel respond to the above admonitions, and were remembered by God.

3:17 He promises to spare them as they serve Him.

Malachi Chapter 4

4:1 God’s judgment against the proud and the wicked: burning and total destruction, leaving neither root nor branch.

4:2 But a promise of healing and comfortable care to those who fear His Name.

4:3 Righteousness will be restored and victory given to those that bear His Name.

4:4 God reminds the people to study the Law of Moses.

4:5 Promise of a zealous Prophet to warn the guilty and revive the righteous.

4:6 His ministry will be on a heart level, which is God’s complaint against Israel in this book (Malachi).

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1. The entirety of this rebuke is clearly related to the Israelites in general, and the priests in particular, failing to have done the whole Law of Moses. To teach on tithing apart from animal sacrifice, and the rest of the written Law, is to mis-handle this scripture.

2. Out of this list of failures, what is it about Malachi 3:8-12 that makes it such a popular verse in church?

A. It gives us something to do in order to gain God’s blessing.

B. It increases funds coming into the church.

C. It clarifies our duty and responsibility toward God;

all of which are CONTRARY to God’s intended relationship with believers today.

3. Throughout this book, God lists adultery, lying, cheating, stealing, not making the right kind of animal sacrifice, divorce, laziness, etc. as grievances against His people. Why is only tithing emphasized as something that needs to be done in order to gain God’s blessing? Because verse 10 (“Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house, and try Me now in this,” says the Lord of hosts, “If I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you such blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it.) promises self-gratification. It’s a way to get what we want. Since there are no other tangible rewards listed for the other scriptures, since we wouldn’t get anything out of it, why bother doing it?

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