“Will a man rob God? Yet you rob me. “But you ask, ‘How do we rob you?’ “In tithes and offerings.” (Malachi 3:8)
Last week I got a chuckle out of the idea of Job telling God how to run the universe. Imagine a frail and fallible human lecturing the omniscient, all-knowing God. No less humorous, perhaps, is this picture from Malachi 3.
Can you imagine taking something of value from God? Taking something that belongs to him? It is a crazy idea…it is shocking. In fact, it’s meant to shock us. Like all of God’s questions, they are meant to cause us to think.
God equates hoarding our wealth to robbery. So what are we depriving God of when we refuse to be generous? Two things.
First, we rob the ability of the church to do ministry. When there’s no “food in the house” (see 3:10) the church is limited in its ministry. The church can’t meet needs in the community without calling the banker first. And we don’t want bankers running the Kingdom of God.
But on a more personal level, we also rob God of the opportunity to bless us. That’s what he WANTS to do – what he promises to do. “…Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it. I will prevent pests from devouring your crops, and the vines in your fields will not cast their fruit,” says the Lord Almighty. “Then all the nations will call you blessed, for yours will be a delightful land,” says the Lord Almighty.” (Malachi 3:10–12) But if we retain control over our finances, that option is off the table.
Ultimately, the question isn’t about money. The question is about what we put first in life…where we put our trust. In that sense, money is just a test itself.
In the end, we don’t really rob God of money after all – we rob him of honor. That’s much worse, in my opinion.
Join us Sunday as we dig into this powerful passage and continue our series “Questions God Asks.”