This morning if you have your bible go ahead and turn to Malachi 3:6-12. You can also find and hold your place in 2 Chronicles 31. This morning I want to show you that tithing is scriptural and it is in God’s word. I ask you to dig deep with me today. We are going to take a deep dive into what the word says about tithing.
Malachi 3:6-12 ““For I am the Lord, I do not change; Therefore you are not consumed, O sons of Jacob. Yet from the days of your fathers You have gone away from My ordinances And have not kept them. Return to Me, and I will return to you,” Says the Lord of hosts. “But you said, ‘In what way shall we return?’ “Will a man rob God? Yet you have robbed Me! But you say, ‘In what way have we robbed You?’ In tithes and offerings. You are cursed with a curse, For you have robbed Me, Even this whole nation. Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, That there may be food in My house, And try Me now in this,” Says the Lord of hosts, “If I will not open for you the windows of heaven And pour out for you such blessing That there will not be room enough to receive it. “And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, So that he will not destroy the fruit of your ground, Nor shall the vine fail to bear fruit for you in the field,” Says the Lord of hosts; And all nations will call you blessed, For you will be a delightful land, says the Lord of Host.”
Key Takeaways from the Passage:
This is very important. God says I am the Lord, and I do not change. Therefore you are not consumed. It’s kind of humorous. Its like He is saying I don’t change, thats why I haven’t taken you out yet.
From the days of your fathers you have gone away from my ordinances. Remember the God who does not change is talking. He says you go away from my ordinances. The word ordinances means principles of ordinary behavior. He is saying you have gone away from my principles of ordinary behavior for God’s children. They say in what way? Now pay attention to the next verse because a preacher didn’t make this up. This is God speaking.
God’s Response to their question. Malachi 3:8 ““Will a man rob God? Yet you have robbed Me! But you say, ‘In what way have we robbed You?’ In tithes and offerings.” He basically told them you are stealing from me.
The result of Robbing God: He says, you are cursed with a curse. Malachi 3:9-10 “You are cursed with a curse, For you have robbed Me, Even this whole nation. Bring all the tithes into the storehouse (the church), That there may be food in My house (the church), And try Me now in this,” Says the Lord of hosts, “If I will not open for you the windows of heaven And pour out for you such blessing That there will not be room enough to receive it.”
It’s interesting that the phrase “says the Lord of Host” is mentioned 4 times in 6 verses. God is reminding us who is talking. The one who does not change it is He that is speaking.
What was it that he was trying to convey? That they had gone away from His ordinances, or His ordinary principles of behavior.
In this case it was tithing which is an ordinary principle of behavior for God’s children. This was how they were to thank God for their income, their harvest, and for their increase. And he says to them, because you have gone away from my ordinary principles your under a curse now.
I have heard from people that believe Christians cant be under a curse because in Galatians it says, Christ bore the curse of the law on the cross and we are now living under grace. He bore the curse in regards to our salvation. A further question is this. Can a person live any way they want and have it not affect them because they are under grace? Obviously not.
If we commit adultery there is a consequence. If we steal there is a consequence. So, a curse is simply a consequence of an action.
So what if you steal from God? Is there a consequence? The simple answer is yes. God has given us the responsibility of stewardship. I shared with you last week that it all belongs to him. What He has chosen to reserve for himself is 10%.
So the reason He says you have robbed me is because He has set apart the tithe for the house of God (The Church). In His eyes, if you keep the tithe your stealing it. I know that this probably seems a bit strong out of the gate this morning, but I want to remind you that this is what God was saying to the people.
God is saying because you have stolen from Me and gone away from my ordinances you have voluntarily placed yourself under a curse, and I don’t want you under a curse. _______________________________________________________
Tithing is a Test. Last week I shared that it is all about the heart. God uses tithing to test our hearts.
The word tithe is a Hebrew word maʿăśēr (mah-a-sayr) and it means a tenth part.
Why did God choose a percentage? It is fair to everyone. It doesn’t matter if your make $30k or $300k its a penny on every dime, and it is the same for every person.
Beyond that here is another reason that I think He chose ten. Many times when you see the number 10 in the bible it represents testing. You’ll actually see the word test with it.
Let me show you. Let’s take a little test. I am going to ask you some questions and I want you to answer me out loud.
Here is the first question: How many plagues were there in Eygpt? 10, (that question could have been asked How many times did God test Pharaohs heart?
How many commandments are there? 10, You might knot know this but there is a pattern here (sarcastic tone)
How many times did God test Israel in the wilderness? 10.
How many times were Jacobs wages changed? 10 God was testing his heart.
How many days was Daniel tested? 10
How many virgins were tested in Matthew 25? 10
How many days of testing are mentioned in Revelation? 10
How many disciples were there? 12 I was just testing you (tone humorous)
So we can see that tithing is a test, but here is something that you might not know. It is a two way test. God not only test you, but this is the only place in scripture that I have found where God says you can test Me. Malachi 3:10.
He literally says in Malachi 3:10 “Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, That there may be food in My house, And try Me now in this,” Says the Lord of hosts, “If I will not open for you the windows of heaven And pour out for you such blessing That there will not be room enough to receive it.”
The NKJV uses the word try, The KJV uses the word prove, NIV uses test. The word try is translated test or prove and it comes from the way you test a metal like gold to see if it is pure.
You know what God is saying in this? Test me to see if I’m pure. Test me. I want you to because I want to open the windows of heaven. I want to bless you. I want to rebuke the devour for you but it depends on whether your going to thank me, and worship me and walk in faith. Are you going to believe that 90% with God’s blessing will go further than 100% without.
2. Tithing is biblical: There are many people that don’t tithe. Often I hear some say that tithing was only for the Old Testament or tithing is under the law and we don’t do it anymore because we are now under grace.
If we operate with this logic we will error. There are many other principles outside of tithing that were also given in the law and yet we continue to walk in them even though we under grace.
For example: Thou shalt not commit adultery was under the law. Would you then say that as a believer you can walk in adultery without consequences because of grace?
Example #2: Thou shalt not murder was under the law, are you saying that because it was wrong under the law that its right under grace? Of course not! That sounds crazy.
There are many principles that are in the old testament that we continue to follow today. I want to show you something about the tithe. It actually predates the law.
ABRAM: Genesis 14:18-20. 500 years before the law.
In Genesis 14:18-20 it says, “Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine; he was the priest of God Most High. And he blessed him and said: “Blessed be Abram of God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth; And blessed be God Most High, Who has delivered your enemies into your hand.” And he (Abram) gave him a tithe (10%) of all.”
You need to know this theologically if you don’t.
1) Melchizedek Hebrews 7 says, is as type of Christ, and many theologians believe its actually Jesus Christ because it says, He is without father, without mother, without genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but made like the Son of God.
2) So Melchizedek is either Jesus Christ or a type and shadow of Christ and it was to him that Abram our spiritual father gave 10% 500 years before the law.
JACOB: Genesis 28:22. 400 years before the law.
Genesis 28:22 “And this stone which I have set as a pillar shall be God’s house, and of all that You give me I will surely give a tenth to You.”” This about 400 years before the law.
ISRAEL: Leviticus 27:30, Deuteronomy 26:1-2, 13-15, The Tithe now commanded in the law. It is Holy to the Lord.
Leviticus 27:30 “And all the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land or of the fruit of the tree, is the Lord’s. It is holy to the Lord.”
Remember the word Holy means set apart. God has set it apart for Him. That’s the only reason He could say in Malachi, your stealing from Me, because I have set that apart for My house. If you keep it then your stealing it.
Deuteronomy 26:1-2 ““And it shall be, when you come into the land which the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance, and you possess it and dwell in it, that you shall take some of the first of all the produce of the ground, which you shall bring from your land that the Lord your God is giving you, and put it in a basket and go to the place where the Lord your God chooses to make His name abide.” (I will talk about the principle of the first in a later message.)
Deuteronomy 26:13-15 “then you shall say before the Lord your God: ‘I have removed the holy tithe from my house, and also have given them to the Levite, the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, according to all Your commandments which You have commanded me; I have not transgressed Your commandments, nor have I forgotten them. I have not eaten any of it when in mourning, nor have I removed any of it for an unclean use, nor given any of it for the dead. I have obeyed the voice of the Lord my God, and have done according to all that You have commanded me. Look down from Your holy habitation, from heaven, and bless Your people Israel and the land which You have given us, just as You swore to our fathers, “a land flowing with milk and honey.” ’”
Jesus: Matthew 23:23. Tells the scribes and Pharisees that they ought to tithe, but also not to neglect the weightier matters of justice, mercy, and faith.
Matthew 23:23 ““Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone.”
Jesus is saying you guys not only give tithes but you give tithes of the spices you put on your food, but you’ve neglected justice, mercy, and faith. Then Jesus says, you ought to do that (tithe), but don’t leave the other undone.
Hebrews talks again about Melchizedek and Jesus and how mortal men receive tithes on this earth but let me show what Hebrews says talking about Jesus as our Melchizedek.
Hebrews 7:8 “Here mortal men receive tithes, but there he receives them, of whom it is witnessed that he lives.”
Listen you or I put our tithe in an offering bag in a service and men receive it, take care of it, and manage it. Hebrews tell us that when we tithe Jesus Christ receives it.
3. Tithing is a blessing. 2 Chronicles 31. When we follow God’s ways He releases the blessing.
Hezekiah becomes king and realizes that the children of Israel are not following God’s ordinances. Hezekiah reading the scriptures sees these verses about tithing and proper worship towards God and he realizes the whole nation is under a curse because they aren’t following Gods command.
As a result in 2 Chronicles 31:4 it says, “Moreover he commanded the people who dwelt in Jerusalem to contribute support for the priests and the Levites, that they might devote themselves to the Law of the Lord.”
Remember that Malachi said bring the tithe to the storehouse that there may be food in my house. For the levites they were set apart by God to attend to the house of the Lord. When the rest of the tribes received an inheritance in the promised land they did not.
God commanded them to provide for the priest as they ministered to the Lord. This was natural food for the priests then, but think about it today. Each week in church you are receiving spiritual food.
Now let me ask you something.
When you come to church do you enjoy the spiritual food that you get? Are you refreshed or encouraged by it, are you strengthened through the ministry for the week ahead?
If so and your not a tither, this is going to be blunt but hear me. Someone is paying for it.
I’m not trying to be offensive, but the truth is, someone is paying for this building. Someone is paying for the utilities, staff salaries, etc. Someone is paying not just for me to devote myself to the word of God and bring messages but for all the staff, lay leaders, and volunteers. Youth ministry, children’s ministry, worship ministry, teaching classes, mens and women’s classes, outreaches and missions.
The building mortgage being paid off while we were in the middle of a construction project to build out the 12,000 sq. ft.kids wing. Which was also built debt free. Many people and generations will enjoy what happens here, but Someone paid for it.
I know this is direct but I want you to see it. With the illustration of physical and spiritual food. Let me continue the analogy. Would any of you here go to a restaurant eat a meal and then leave without paying for it?
Naturally we wouldn’t do that, but some Christians do that every week. They go to church, eat a meal, and then skip out on the check.
Here is the sad thing. If thats you you’re the one its hurting.
I’m telling you right now this is the first time since becoming pastor of Waymaker Church on May 1st of 2016 that I have preached on tithing. I have shared a few principles around the time of the offering, but I have never preached a single message on tithing. This message today is not being preached because the church needs money. There is no special offering planned for the end of the service.
I can tell you today. We are doing fine financially. I promise you I am doing this to help you. This will change your life, your family, your finances, your marriage, your children, your grandchildren. This will change you if you get ahold of it.
As I said last week with the children’s addition buildout. Not one time did I stand up here and beg for money. Nor did I pressure or guilt people into giving. But God in His goodness provided enough to do it debt free.
Even more so He has continued to provide to a point that the next phase of the vision that He has placed in my heart is beginning to take shape in building a distribution center that will allow us to resource other churches and ministries to do outreach in our community to hurting and broken people. It will enlarge our capacity to distribute food to people who need it. To bless and partner with more schools than ever before. God is making a way for it to happen.
Look what happens to Israel when they are obedient to walk in God’s ordinances. (*By the way they were in tough economic times when this is taking place.) Hezekiah puts out the command that everyone needs to bring the tithe to God.
It says in 2 Chronicles 31:5-10. (*they brought the tithe, God released the blessing.)
“As soon as the commandment was circulated, the children of Israel brought in abundance the firstfruits of grain and wine, oil and honey, and of all the produce of the field; and they brought in abundantly the tithe of everything. And the children of Israel and Judah, who dwelt in the cities of Judah, brought the tithe of oxen and sheep; also the tithe of holy things which were consecrated to the Lord their God they laid in heaps. In the third month they began laying them in heaps, and they finished in the seventh month. And when Hezekiah and the leaders came and saw the heaps, they blessed the Lord and His people Israel. Then Hezekiah questioned the priests and the Levites concerning the heaps. And Azariah the chief priest, from the house of Zadok, answered him and said, “Since the people began to bring the offerings into the house of the Lord, we have had enough to eat and have plenty left, for the Lord has blessed His people; and what is left is this great abundance.””
You see when you surrender to doing things God’s way according to His principles and ordinances he blesses your life. This is what its about in living the blessed life. Walking according to His ways and He releases divine favor over your life. Just like the story of Hezekiah God blesses His people when they obey His word.
As I close I want to share this final thought with you.
There are two testimonies I have heard consistently in my time in ministry:
1) Tither’s: Oh we are so blessed. It all changed when we began tithing. God always meets the need. We are so blessed.
2) Non-Tither’s: Oh I cant afford to tithe. Can I tell you that you will never be able to afford to tithe until you tithe because tithing is what breaks the curse and rebukes the devour. When your living under the curse it always seems that as soon as you start to get ahead something else always starts to break. It is because of the devourer. But tithing rebukes it.
This morning Tithing is a test, and it is most important for us to pass the test.
Would love to share Diamonds recent Testimony here to show this point.
Lord Help Us.