Tuesday, October 16, 2012
Welcome to Day 289 of our Life Journal!
Before you comment or read what I have posted, please read the following passages for yourself and complete your own S.O.A.P. exercise… How does this work?
S.O.A.P = Scripture, Observation, Application, Prayer
Malachi 3:8, “Will a man rob God? Yet you rob me. “But you ask, ‘How do we rob you?’
“In tithes and offerings. 9 You are under a curse—the whole nation of you—because you are robbing me. Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. 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. 11 I will prevent pests from devouring your crops, and the vines in your fields will not cast their fruit,” says the Lord Almighty. 12 “Then all the nations will call you blessed, for yours will be a delightful land,” says the Lord Almighty.”
13 “You have said harsh things against me,” says the Lord. “Yet you ask, ‘What have we said against you?’ 14 “You have said, ‘It is futile to serve God. What did we gain by carrying out his requirements and going about like mourners before the Lord Almighty?”
Malachi 4:6, “He [“Elijah”] will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers.”
Psalm 148:13, “Let them praise the name of the Lord, for his name alone is exalted; his splendor is above the earth and the heavens.”
Acts 5:38, [Gamaliel, a Pharisee addressed them, saying…] “Leave these men alone! Let them go! For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. 39 But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God.”
“Will a man rob God?” certainly is a compelling question, isn’t it?
“You have said harsh things against me,” says the Lord. “Yet you ask, ‘What have we said against you?’ 14 “You have said, ‘It is futile to serve God. What did we gain by carrying out his requirements and going about like mourners before the Lord Almighty?”
I hear statements like this made pretty often. Usually people have been hurt in church or are angry at God for something. (Usually the tragic loss of a loved one.)
Isaiah 45:9 comes to mind, “How terrible it will be for those who argue with the God who made them. They are like a piece of broken pottery among many pieces. The clay does not ask the potter, ‘What are you doing?'”
Yet we do it all the time, don’t we?
Somehow we all seem to get by, and get through. No matter how bad things may seem…
I wonder how many people who are struggling financially aren’t tithing. I wonder how their situations might improve simply by being obedient to this one scripture?
But we aren’t supposed to give to get. That’s a wrong motivation. We should give out of worship, not simply because “we have to.”
People often will ask, “Is tithing in the New Testament?”
The answer is simple. Yes.
When Jesus was confronting the Pharisees, he said, ““Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cummin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former.” Matthew 23
Yet I think the New Testament calls us to a higher standard… Generosity. We just read how a couple sold a piece of land and gave the proceeds. Their issue was lying about the price, but the principle is that people sold pieces of land and shared it with others, not just a percentage.
(I really don’t like talking about tithing any more than I liked talking about divorce in yesterday’s blog.)
Tithing clearly is giving to the local church, “the storehouse,” to support its work. (Not to Feed the Children or the United Way.) Offerings are above tithes. (Tithe means, “tenth part.” or 10%)
Abraham tithed to Melchizedek, 400 years before the time of Moses and the Law, and according to Romans 4:12 we are to walk in the footsteps of the faith of Abraham. If tithing was good for him, it should be good for us, too.
We give tithes like Abraham gave them—
not by the Law but by faith.
And beside that, if the people of God gave ten percent before the Law, and ten percent under the Law, shouldn’t we, who live by grace, be doing any less when we have a better covenant (Hebrews 7:22)?
I have heard it said that the most sensitive nerve in a person’s body is the one that runs from their heart to their wallet…
As I pondered today’s four chapters, I was like, “Really?? Tithing?? Is that what jumped out at me??”
There are few statements as compelling in the whole Bible as “Will a man rob God?”
Lord, help me to always be faithful in this regard, and to be a generous person!