05 September 2008

Prove Me – 9.5.08

Malachi 3:10 Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.

Well, here's a popular verse in Baptist pulpits across the country. Before we move into the practical lesson for today, we need to ask some questions of a doctrinal nature:
  • What did these tithes consist of and what is their purpose?
  • What is the storehouse referred to in this verse?
  • Is this commandment and/or this promise repeated in the NT for the church-age believer?
An honest review and consideration of this and other OT passages will clearly reveal that the Baptists have misapplied the law of the tithe as badly as the Seventh-Day Adventists have misapplied the law of the Sabbath. There was a lot more to the tithe than bringing money to the temple every week just like there was a lot more to the Sabbath than rest and worship on Saturday. What we have done is picked out those parts of the law of the tithe we like and treated them like commands, while leaving out the parts that aren't quite as convenient (like the fact that the tithe was for the support of the Levites NOT the upkeep and outreach ministry of the local "synagogue" or the fact that you had to add 20% if you brought money, not animals and crops).

I'm not saying that 10% is not a good principle for giving, but I am saying that it is not a hard and fast commandment for the NT Christian. We are commanded to give cheerfully out of our abundance in gratitude to the God Who has so richly blessed us, both spiritually and physically, NOT because God promised to make us rich if we do or kill our kids if we don't.

Matthew 15:6…Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition.

Anyway, the thought I wanted to draw out of this verse is God's challenge to the nation of Israel, prove me now herewith. God is reminding the people that when He gave them the law way back in the book of Exodus He attached some promises of blessing for obedience to those commandments. But Israel's problem has always been UNBELIEF. Obviously, they didn't believe God could or they didn't believe God would come through on the blessings He promised. They probably wouldn't have admitted that verbally, but their actions proved it because for hundreds of years they ignored His law.

I believe this challenge is valid for us today. Though the promises God has given us are of a more spiritual nature, there are many exceeding great and precious promises made to us as NT believers. Problem is that we don't REALLY believe God's word. If we did, we'd put it to the test by being OBEDIENT to Him in all situations and allowing Him to bless our lives just like He said He would.

Oftentimes the reason we don't is that it takes longer than we think it should for the blessings to come around. For example, when the trials and hardships come, the temptation is to worry and to take matters into our own hands. However, God has promised blessing to those who pray to Him, trust in Him, cast their care upon Him, and let Him take care of the situation. So we'll try that for a while…but when it doesn't work out like we thought it should we get impatient and give in to the temptation.

Let's take this challenge to heart in whatever temptations we face. It's unfair and dishonest not to believe God will bless your obedience when you haven't given it a shot. Prove God's word. Put it to the test. Rest in His promise.

2 Samuel 22:31 As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the LORD is tried: he is a buckler to all them that trust in him.

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