Vineyard Life Journal

An online forum for our church family to connect around our 2012 daily Bible reading plan using the S.O.A.P. method.

Day 289

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Welcome to Day 289 of our Life Journal!

Click here for today’s reading: Malachi 3; Malachi 4; Psalms 148; Acts 5 (2012 Daily Bible Reading Plan)

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

S cripture

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.”

O bservation

“Will a man rob God?” certainly is a compelling question, isn’t it?

A pplication

“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?”

P rayer

Lord, help me to always be faithful in this regard, and to be a generous person!


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2 thoughts on “Day 289

  1. Mal.3:6 I, the Lord do not change. So you O descendants of Jacob are not destroyed. 8) 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.10) 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 open the floodgates if heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room for it.
    O) I shared this story with my class (community of hope). I have always tithes. Recently however I found myself behind on rent due to illness (last Jan) still playing catch up. I didn’t have food. So I put an I owe you in the tithe box. Sat for the next week miserable. Yea I had food and my medicine. But my sacred covenant with my King was broken. He asks so little of me. The devil always always tries to tell me I’m not gonna make it if I tithe. (No I’m not hearing voices ha ha) Satan is the author of confusion and tries to place blocks in my path to the tithe box. But what’s changed is me. I don’t care if my fridge is empty or Kroger has to give me 1/2 of my medicine till pay day. Its MY covenant with Him who drew me with loving kindness and walks with me everyday. I am never alone in a battle. My offering is one of love to Him who saved me. And when I give I make sure it is not like verse 14 grumbling all the way there! I make sure my heart is right. Father thank you… thank you.

  2. Bring your full tithe to the Temple treasury so there will be ample provisions in my Temple. Test me in this and see if I don’t open up heaven itself to you and pour out blessings beyond your wildest dreams. For my part, I will defend you against marauders, protect your wheat fields and vegetable gardens against plunderers.

    Self explanatory. I don’t think that “marauders / wheat fields / vegetable gardens” was meant to be taken literally.

    “So I am telling you: Hands off these men! Let them alone. If this program or this work is merely human, it will fall apart, but if it is of God, there is nothing you can do about it—and you better not be found fighting against God!”

    Things that are contrived in the hearts and minds of men will inevitably fall apart. Sometimes, we just need to wait and see or to push through and fight for something. I wonder if he was telling them not to worry because this would most likely fall apart like the others, or was he warning them that it might actually be the truth. Regardless, the fact that it is still going and growing today makes his words very important.

    Sometimes, we just need to keep fighting. I notice that they didn’t stop because they were warned off. Too many times in life, I have given up after being discouraged. It must not be God, right? However, I think the enemy is permitted to test us to the point were we have to learn valuable lessons to go forward. We have to come to the conclusion that there is no hope of doing something on our own… that we need God to intervene.

    Motives matter to God too. It’s not good enough just to serve in a soup kitchen for publicity or because we want to feel good. That might be a good start, but we need to serve because we want to help… to see God’s kingdom advance. That’s where God’s presence comes into the picture. Otherwise, we are just giving a handout to someone to get them to the next day. We need God’s presence in our giving as well as our living.

    Lord, I want a generous heart. I want what you want. I want to remove the shards of mistrust and doubt. I can only do this with Your presence in my life.

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