Return to Return: Tithe and Offering
Returning or Repentance
The specific way these people were robbing God in Malachi’s day was in tithes and offerings.
Raymond Calkins, writing on The Modern Message of the Minor Prophets (140), spoke about the people of Malachi’s day in words that are still true, “The loose way in which many members wear their plain obligations to the church … is a scandal which enormously weakens its influence. Desultory church attendance, neglect of public worship, failure to identify oneself with the church’s work and mission in the world, niggardly gifts, lack of all personal interest and loyalty: these are ways in which the laity of today rob God of the honor to which He is entitled” (140).
The verb used here, bāḥan, also occurs in twenty-nine verses. In nineteen of those, God is testing man, often his heart (lit. “kidneys”) or mind (1 Chr 29:17; Jer 11:20; 12:3; 17:10; 20:12; Pss 7:9; 17:3; 26:2; Prov 17:3). Though the word usually has a “theological” sense, according to Brensinger, in cases where this is lacking (Gen 42:15–16; Job 12:11; 34:3; Ezek 21:13 ) “the key concern involves evaluating the dependability of something.”45 In Ps 95:9 it is used of man testing or provoking God, but only in parallel to nāsâ. It also has this sense in Mal 3:15, where it probably was used instead of nāsâ because bāḥan had been used in v. 10. The NIV translation “test me in this” is literal and urges or commands the Judean community to give God the opportunity to prove his faithfulness in response to their faith.
The others are nāsâ and ṣārap