READ: Malachi 3-4
THINK: Have you ever committed a robbery? Hopefully not, though God can forgive anyone who sincerely repents. But some don't even realize the offense. Apparently, God's people in this passage needed a reminder that they were robbing God by failing to bring Him their tithes (one-tenth of their income). God established this principle long ago-even before His Old Testament Law-as a means of providing for His ministers and ministries, and He promises to bless those who follow it. Because the privilege and responsibility to honor God and the need for ministry hasn't changed, Christians today also have the responsibility to support the Lord's work through giving. Tithing is a privilege that allows God to stretch our faith and develop greater discipline and responsibility in our lives.
RESPOND: Who is "the messenger of the covenant" the people desired (3:1)? (See 3:1 and 3:1-5 notes.) What covenant did the Messiah establish, and how? (See 3:1-5 note.) What are the two implications of "the day of his coming" (3:2)? (See 3:2 note.) How did Jesus' first coming serve to purify people (3:3) and to judge (3:5), and how will His second coming serve both purposes? (See 3:2 note.) How were people robbing God (3:8), and what was the result (3:9)? What's a tithe and what are its purposes? (See 3:8 note.) What are God's warnings and promises regarding the tithe (3:8-9,10-12)? (See 3:8 note, subpoint 1.) Why is tithing relevant and applicable today? (See 3:8 note, subpoint 2.) What were people saying against God (3:13-14), and what did they fail to recognize? (See 3:14 note.) What assurance does 3:17-18 give those who trust and honor God? (See 3:16 note.) In what ways does Jesus' coming mean different things to those who oppose Him and those who honor Him (4:1-2)?
PRAY: Give thanks for Jesus' ability to spiritually purify His people and to enact perfect justice for all in the end. Give thanks for the opportunity to honor God and support ministry through the tithe. Pray that you'll always be faithful to give God His due and trust Him to take care of your needs, no matter what your circumstances.
ACT: Willingly and consistently obey God by giving a tithe (a tenth) of your income through your church offerings. (For further comments and answers to questions on this issue, see article on Tithes and Offerings, p. 1254 in the FBSE.)
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