10) … 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.”
The beginning of the week brings new challenges… and opportunities. We’ve had some very nice weather the last week. We still need rain. I’m reminded of the Proverb “All sunshine and no rain makes a desert.”
So often we read or hear certain scriptures that when we think of a book or prophet that’s the only thing we remember. As if a prophet is a one-verse speaker. Malachi is an interesting book in the Minor Prophets and when I think of Malachi his one-phrase speech is in conjunction with these cross-references to “This is he, of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee.” to signify John the Baptizer’s coming and preparing the way for Jesus. Matthew_11:10, Mark_1:2, Luke_7:27.
(Malachi 3:1 “Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts.”)
But wait there is more to Malachi. When we were in Tennessee, some of the folk, when they were receiving rain in the right amount at the right time would say, “We’re paying the preacher.” Meaning of course that the preacher was getting a good wage and God was pleased with his people for taking care of the preacher.
“6) For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.
7) 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?
8) Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings.
9) Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation.
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.”
Will a man rob God?
“But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings.” And there you have it, but…
We also know that we can’t give God anything that he needs. As the Psalmist says: Psalms 50:10 “For every beast of the forest is mine, and the cattle upon a thousand hills. 11) I know all the fowls of the mountains: and the wild beasts of the field are mine.12) If I were hungry, I would not tell thee: for the world is mine, and the fulness thereof.”
God sets the standard—the standard of good and evil, right and wrong, acceptable and unacceptable. We are told God loves a cheerful giver. I don’t know why, but we are happier when we give cheerfully. We are also instructed to make sure we pay those who have worked for us. To pay them willingly and not keep back their wages.
Those who are stingy and miserly are a curse to themselves and to others around them. It isn’t quite time for the reading of A Christmas Carrol, but Dickens’ classic tale illustrates the difference a willing and liberal heart makes in our lives.
“Offer unto God thanksgiving; and pay thy vows unto the most High: And call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me. But unto the wicked God saith, What hast thou to do to declare my statutes, or that thou shouldest take my covenant in thy mouth? Seeing thou hatest instruction, and castest my words behind thee.”