Bible Study for July 15: Tithing: an obedient response to a gracious God

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Malachi 3:7-12
Harris Malcom, state missionary
Middle Georgia Region

Tithing is the biblical standard for how the child of God manages the resources God has entrusted to them. It is an act of obedience to God. It is designed for the good of the believer and destined for the good of the kingdom. 

The Bible says, “Bring the whole tithe. Bring it to the “storehouse.”  He doesn’t leave an option here. We are commanded to nothing less or we are guilty of robbing God.   

God is interested in your money. God is interested in how you secure it, spend it, save it, and share it. 

Jesus says, “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” (Matthew 6:21) 

Adrian Rogers once said, “A faith that hasn’t reached your wallet, probably hasn’t reached your heart.” 

There is no subject that Jesus talked about more than money. He honored the widow who gave all she had in the presence of the Pharisees who were tipping God.  

He spoke of the unjust steward who was unfaithful with his money and the rich young ruler who was controlled by his money.  Their stories had to do with money; that is why their stories are in Scripture. 

Satan is interested in your money. He desires to keep you in bondage by giving you an ungodly attitude about giving. The Bible says that the one who is not obedient with the tithe is “cursed with a curse.” 

You are also interested in your money. Research shows that the average church goer gives less than 2 percent to his church. You can’t even use the word “tithe” in connection with that.   

When it comes to the tithe there are several attitudes. One says, “It’s mine and I can do what I want to with it.”  Another says that the tithe belongs to God and the rest is mine.  Then there is yet another that says it all belongs to God and He has made me a steward of it. 

So what is the tithe? 

First it is a definite proportion. The Bible commands the tithe. It is a definite 10 percent.  You haven’t even begun to tithe until you give 10 percent. God put it in the heart of His people (Gen. 14:17-20). Abraham gave the tithe (Gen. 28:22). Moses commanded it. (Lev. 27:30). Malachi confirms it in our text. And oh, Jesus commended it (Matt. 23:23).  So who are we to question or withhold it? 

Second, it is to a designated place. You can give to other ministries, but the tithe is the Lord’s and it belongs in His storehouse. That storehouse is the local church. There are other viable ministries, but they are not the storehouse.   

We give to God first. We give the “first fruits” not “leftovers.” The tithe is the Lord’s. It is not mine. It does not even belong to the church. We are merely stewards. 

God says, “Trust Me and put Me to the test and see if I will not open the windows of heaven and pour out a blessing on you.”

The writer of Proverbs says, “Honor the Lord from your wealth and from the first of all your produce.” (Prov. 3:9) 

Verse 11 takes it a step further and says “Then I will rebuke the devourer for you.”  These were agricultural people who had enemines to their crops like locusts, floods, and drought. God said, “Put Me first and I will take care of those things.”    

Third, there is a divine purpose. He wants to set us free from ourselves to set us loose for His purpose. You have to decide if your possessions will control you or if you will surrender your possessions to God.   

In the story of the feeding of the 5,000, there was this little boy with a small lunch. In his hands it was no more than a one-person meal. However, when he surrendered it to Jesus it fed a multitude with leftovers.   

There is a certain breed of monkey in Africa that is considered a delicacy to eat. Natives capture this creature by building a little box with a hole in the side. They fill the box with fruit and nuts. The hole is just big enough for the monkey to slide his hand through, but once he grabs the food he can’t pull his fist out.  He will stand there for hours rather than drop the food. The natives walk right up and knock him in the head. Dinner’s on the way.   

I’m not sure what “breed” of monkey this is, but it is obviously a greedy monkey. 

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