The Doctrine of Giving - Part III
“Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings.” —Malachi 3:8
THIS QUESTION, asked by the prophet Malachi, was really a question from the Lord to His people. It’s a simple question, and it portrays Israel’s condition. The word robbed here means “to defraud.” So, you could phrase it this way: “Will a man defraud God?”
This is exactly what happens to a Christian when he doesn’t participate in the act of giving—he defrauds God. Man, who depends totally and completely on the Lord—will he rob from Him who is his sole benefactor? How can that be? As we have stated before, giving is the means by which God has chosen to spread the gospel and bless His children. By refusing to get involved in this act of giving, you defraud—steal—from God, and no Christian in his right mind would ever want to steal from God.
The Holy Spirit points to the reason why the children of Israel were in dire straits—poverty stricken—because they had withheld or robbed God of tithes and offerings. They had ignored their duties of caring for the priests, disregarded the feasts days, and failed to take care of the poor. This was an absolute travesty, and, in doing so, they were now under a curse.
What I am about to say now will not sit well with some of you, but it’s the truth: Just as Israel of old was placed under a curse due to her lack of supporting the work of God, so are those today who do likewise and ignore the command to give. There is no sugarcoating this—every single person who does not participate in giving to God’s work is placed under a curse.
Listen to what the Word of God says about this: Malachi writes, “You are cursed with a curse” (Malachi 3:9). Even though it was the prophet who penned these words, it was the Holy Spirit who actually said this. The reason that Israel was barren and her crops would not grow is because God had pronounced a curse upon Israel for not adhering to the word of the Lord regarding tithes and offerings.
It’s the same now. You may wonder why money seems to be going out as fast as it’s coming in, why things are breaking down in your home, or why you always find yourself in the red, so to speak. Most Christians can trace these results back to the time they stopped supporting the work of God. When their paychecks came in, they took care of their own houses first. Any Christian who refuses to act upon the commandment of tithing and giving offerings is cursed with a curse, which means denial of all blessing. Just as Israel suffered as a result of not giving, so will Christians suffer for not giving to support the work of God.
However, God gave the children of Israel a way to reverse that curse, and it began with them bringing their tithes into the storehouse, which was the temple and the cities where the Levites dwelt. Today, the storehouse is where the soul of the believer is being fed. If that’s a local church, then the believer should bring his tithes and offerings to that local church. If it’s a media ministry, then he should send his tithes and offerings to that ministry.
Whatever or wherever that storehouse is, the believer better make sure that what he is supporting truly is the work of God. The criteria for making sure is very simple:
• Are people being saved?
• Are lives being changed?
• Are believers being filled with the Spirit?
• Are bondages being broken?
• Are sick bodies being healed?
• Is the Message of the Cross being preached?
If so, then you are giving to good ground, and God will bless you as a result.
I understand that many people are apprehensive about giving, seeing that many so-called preachers are nothing more than scam artists. But listen to what the Lord told Israel—He said, “Prove Me, which means, “to put to the test.” The only time we are told to prove or test God is with our giving. This is a challenge. Better yet, it’s a dare. The Creator of the heavens is telling you right now to “prove Him” and then watch what He can do with your gift—things that you would never dream that He could do for you.
The Fourfold Promise Of Blessing
What exactly has God promised to do for those who give? Four things:
Flood of blessing. God promised that He would open up the windows of heaven and pour out a blessing that you won’t have room enough to receive. Think about that for a moment. God said that He will open up the windows of heaven, and pour out upon you blessings unparalleled. This refers back to Genesis 7:11, which had to do with the flood that came upon this world and covered the entirety of the earth with water. Even though it was a destructive force back then, God is saying that He will do the same for us, only instead of destruction, it will be blessing. This speaks of an abundance of blessing that is beyond our human capacity to calculate, and it refers to every part and parcel of our everyday lives. This means that He will bless you abundantly so in your finances, health and well-being, family life, and in every other area of your lives. In other words, whatever you give to support His work, He will give it back to you many times over. Who doesn’t like hearing that? We must not relegate the blessing just to our finances; we must believe that He will bless us in every other aspect of our lives.
Devourer rebuked. God said that He will rebuke the devourer, which refers to Satan—the father of lies. The word rebuke means “to turn back.” This means that when we give to God’s work, He will hold Satan back from the fruits of your efforts. By doing this, it results in prosperity for God’s children. Prosperity is not a bad word. You would be surprised as to how many Christians have a skewed viewpoint of prosperity—many from bad experiences in the church. But it’s not a bad word for the Christian, and it’s something that God wants you to experience. It may not mean that you will become a rich individual regarding your finances, but God does want you to prosper in every area of your life. He wants you to prosper financially. He desires that you prosper in health. But overall, He longs for you to prosper spiritually. He will rebuke, or turn back the enemy from taking what God has given you.
Family blessed. The Lord says, “Neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field,” and this has to do with the harvest being gathered without it being lost. Now, this could refer to many areas of your life, but I want to take this opportunity to bring up your family. I believe that when a Christian begins to give and support the work of God, the blessing that God pours out on him will extend to his children. God has blessed Jill and me with three beautiful girls who are being raised in a godly environment. Even though that doesn’t guarantee their salvation, it definitely helps, and I believe that God will protect them as they get older. And the Word of God teaches that if we train up a child in the way he should go, then when he gets older, he will not depart from it (Prov. 22:6).
Nations will notice. The promise is given that when you support the work of God through finances, all nations will call you blessed. This simply means that as the blessings of the Lord are pouring out upon you, others will take notice as to why you are blessed, and will wonder why. When they realize that you are supporting the work of God, they will call you blessed.
In closing, there is a statement that I hold to be true, as do many Christians around the world: As a believer, you cannot outgive God. As you continue to give, God will continue to give back to you, pressed down, shaken together, and running over (Lk. 6:38). I pray that you take these words to heart and believe that God will do what He said He would do. Never underestimate what God can do or how He does it. He wants to bless you, but you must do your part.
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