Worship From God’s Perspective: “Worshipful Bringing”

 

Worship from God’s Perspective • “Worshipful Bringing”

Malachi 3:6-15

August 21-25, 2017

 

 
 
Have you noticed this year how frequently we have had rainfall in Celina this year? Most of you know that we have among the highest water rates in North Texas

, https://sites.google.com/site/celinatestsite/departments-1/utility-billing/water-sewer-rates so the well- spaced rain we have had this year has made it much less necessary to water our lawns and flowers https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-8_0seoCoOwIn.

That’s a good thing.

 

A few weeks ago we discussed the prospects of a universal flood when we studied the Genesis passages on Noah. (See

Digging Deeper for August 7-11). Not only did it rain cats and dogs for 40 days straight, a couple of other phenomena occurred…the fountains of the great deep burst forth and the windows of heavens

were opened.

 

Noah and his family escaped on the ark as God began to judge the earth through the flood.

11 In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, on the seventeenth day of the month, on that day all the fountains of the great deep burst forth, and the windows of the heavens were opened. 12 And rain fell upon the earth forty days and forty nights.

Genesis 7:11-12

 

God’s Word says, “

the windows of heaven opened and the rain fell upon the earth…” Can you even begin to imagine the downpour of rain that lasted forty days and forty nights? In the past week or so, we’ve seen rain move through our area and it hasn’t been just piddly rain; it has been a deluge of rain as that fell very hard and very fast. When I think of the windows of heaven opening up and rain falling upon the earth as it did in Genesis 7, that’s what I imagine. What about you? But did you know there is only one other time the phrase “the windows of heaven opened…”

is mentioned in the Bible?

10 “And thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need.”

Malachi 3:10

 

This other time the phrase “

open the windows of heaven…” is used is NOT in connection with judgment, but in direct connection to God’s blessing; a blessing so large that every need would be and will be met. This promise of blessing is given in the context of tithing. The Lord of Host, Yahweh Sabaoth יַהְוֶה צְבָאוֹת, was the name of the Lord we studied last week. It reminds us that the Lord has all the resources and abilities to overcome circumstances. The people of Israel needed to see the Lord clearly as Yahweh Sabaoth יַהְוֶה צְבָאוֹת

, so they would respond in worship by bringing their tithe to the Lord of Hosts. When you see the Lord clearly as Lord of Hosts, you will respond in worshipful bringing of your tithes to Him. Read this verse in its context…

6 “For I the Lord do not change; therefore you, O children of Jacob, are not consumed. 7 From the days of your fathers you have turned aside from my statutes and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you, says the Lord of hosts. But you say, ‘How shall we return?’ 8 Will man rob God? Yet you are robbing me. But you say, ‘How have we robbed you?’ In your tithes and contributions. 9 You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing me, the whole nation of you. 10 Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need. 11 I will rebuke the devourer for you, so that it will not destroy the fruits of your soil, and your vine in the field shall not fail to bear, says the Lord of hosts. 12 Then all nations will call you blessed, for you will be a land of delight, says the Lord of hosts. 13 “Your words have been hard against me, says the Lord. But you say, ‘How have we spoken against you?’ 14 You have said, ‘It is vain to serve God. What is the profit of our keeping his charge or of walking as in mourning before the Lord of hosts? 15 And now we call the arrogant blessed. Evildoers not only prosper but they put God to the test and they escape.’ ”

 

In last week’s study of Malachi 1:6-14, God chastised the people of Israel for offering lame and blind animals in sacrifice to Him rather than giving Him their best animals. Fast forward that truth, and from God’s perspective you are instructed to give God

excellence in your worship and not your leftovers. The Lord rebuked them for NOT giving Him His tithe and keeping the best for themselves and giving God leftovers “You are robbing me

.” Wow! What strong words!

 

Have you ever been accused of stealing something? To steal something means that you take a possession that belongs to someone else and that’s exactly what the people of Israel were doing…stealing. By not tithing, they were taking a possession that belonged to someone else, in this case, to the Lord of Hosts. (

He has all resources as Lord of Hosts so you don’t bring it to Him because He needs it; you bring it to Him because you recognize He has given it to you in the first place

.) The tithe belongs to the Lord….

30 “Every tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land or of the fruit of the trees, is the Lord’s; it is holy to the Lord.”

Leviticus 27:30

 

The tithe was the top 10% of the Lord’s provision for the people whether it was crops from the field, seeds, fruit or animals. In Proverbs 3:10

, God’s people were instructed to honor Him with their wealth and “the FIRST FRUITS of all your produce

.” The first fruits were the most excellent portions of their land and animals and the tithe was to be the first and best, right off the top.

 

MONDAY: From God’s Perspective Tithing Is Bringing To God What Rightfully Belongs To Him—The Most Excellent Portions Of His Provision For You.

When you withhold the tithe from God, you are robbing Him of what rightfully belongs to Him. In essence, by not tithing you are stealing from God. Hey, I didn’t write this stuff, I just work here.

 

Look, God doesn’t NEED your tithe; He owns all the cattle on a thousand hills—although in truth, He frequently delivers them one hamburger at a time. Perhaps you can impact that by trusting Him when He says failure to do so is highway robbery.

 

Look At It Another Way, By NOT Tithing, You Are Not Only Stealing From God, But You Are Robbing Yourself V. 10.

 

Have you ever stolen from yourself? God’s Word says that by NOT tithing, you are stealing from yourself. Go back to verse 10. The Lord told the people to bring the full tithe, not 5% or 9% but the full 10% to Him,

10 And thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of Hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven FOR YOU and pour down blessing until there is no more need

.” Malachi 3:10

 

The main emphasis of this passage is the blessing of God poured out on His people; on you and me when we tithe.

O.S. Hawkins, who is president of GuideStone Financial Resources

which serves 250,000 pastors, church staff, missionaries, doctors, and other workers of various Christian organizations with their retirement needs. He is the author of more than 30 books and preaches regularly at Bible conferences, evangelism conferences, and churches across the nation. About this this passage, he says:

“The whole emphasis of the Word of God is not on our giving as much as it is on His opening the windows of heaven to pour us out a blessing so that there would not be room enough to receive. God wants to bless us far more than we want a blessing. The tithe is a starting place in getting God into action in the affairs of men.”[i]

 

You see by NOT tithing you rob yourself of…

 

God’s provision v. 10.

A lot of times it’s easy to think,

If I give 10% at the beginning of the month, then I won’t make it. I’ll have more month left at the end of the money

. But God’s Word clearly says here that by NOT tithing you are robbing yourself of God’s provision to meet your need and you won’t make it. However, since the promise of God is that if you will trust Him by tithing, He will supernaturally bless with more than enough to meet your monthly needs. By NOT tithing you also rob yourself of…

 

God’s Protection v. 11.

11“I will rebuke the devourer for you, so that it will not destroy the fruits of your soil, and your vine in the field shall not fail to bear, says the Lord of hosts.”

 

The Lord of Hosts,

Yahweh Sabaoth יַהְוֶה צְבָאוֹת

, who has all the heavenly resources to meet our needs will protect what you have left so that His abundant provision comes from what you have left. You see, God’s abundant provision from the windows of Heaven doesn’t mean you’ll win the lottery, but He will provide abundantly from what you have left over after tithing. Notice this; If you give God your left overs you won’t have enough from the leftovers to make it. However, if you bring to God the most excellent tithe, He will provide for you abundantly from the leftovers. He’ll protect what you have left.

Warren Weirsbe

American pastor, Bible teacher, conference speaker and a prolific writer of Christian literature and theological works wrote,

the money that rightfully belongs to God that we keep for ourselves never stays with us. It ends up going to the doctor, the auto body shop or the tax collector.”[ii]

 

 

Scripture corroborates this statement. Haggai was dealing with the ancestral fathers of these people and stated that not tithing was:

6From the days of your fathers… 7 You have sown much, and harvested little. You eat, but you never have enough; you drink, but you never have your fill. You clothe yourselves, but no one is warm. And he who earns wages does so to put them into a bag with holes

. Malachi 1:6-7

 

You rob yourself of God’s protection and of His provision when you don’t tithe. But that’s not all;

by NOT tithing, you are not only stealing from God and stealing from yourself, you are stealing from others v. 12.

The Lord of Hosts will bless so powerfully if you obey,

12 Then all the nations will call you blessed, for you will be a land of delight, says the Lord of Hosts.

 

The Lord’s abundant blessing upon His people would be then and will be now a living testimony to the world that He is the Lord of Hosts and the true God. If God’s people today, followers of Jesus Christ, will tithe then there will be more than enough resources to fund the Gospel ministry in our communities, our states, our nations and in the world. However, by not tithing, church budgets struggle, missionaries will have to come home, and we rob others of hearing the Good News of Jesus Christ. Let’s look at some applications.

 

Living the Word Applications: What can YOU do to a Worshipful Giver?

 

 

TUESDAY: Restoring Your Relationship With The Lord V. 7.

7“Return to ME and I will return to you says the Lord of Hosts.”

 

 

It only makes sense that you cannot be in a right relationship with someone from whom you are stealing. Right? The way you demonstrate that you are returning to the Lord is by tithing. As long as you are not tithing and stealing from God your relationship with the Lord will suffer. You will rob yourself of the sense of presence in your life—His closeness, and the experience of His provision and protection. Take some extra time today to review your practices of bringing some of what you are blessed to receive back to God. Are you at this minimum level of acceptable giving?

 

 

WEDNESDAY: Taking the Test…Tithing v. 10.

10put ME to the test, says the Lord of Hosts…”

 

 

This is the one place in Scripture where God’s people are told to test Him. The Lord wants us to test Him in this promise to “

open the windows of heaven and pour down a blessing until there is no need

.” Understand that this is a step of faith for those who are tithing and those who are not tithing. If you are tithing, share with others how you have seen God’s provision in your life and continue to tithe. If you are not tithing, then God’s Word challenges you to test Him and then watch Him provide.
Mary Hunt is one of my all time favorites. I get a free blog from her everyday. It’s called “

Everyday Cheapskate

” and is a delightfully written pilgrimage to find better, cheaper, faster ways to get things done in your life. I love it.

 

She also is a huge proponent of the 10-10-80 rule you have heard me talk about before. Here is a 50+slide deck in a .pdf format:

http://www.debtproofliving.com/Portals/0/Articles/Web%20Desk/Crossroads_Odessa.pdf

It’s worth a browse. She also offers a

Debt-Proof Living

system that is worth a look. The wise counsel is that you must give away 10% of what you earn, save 10% of what you earn (not your 401k, but money you bring home) until you have an emergency fund equal to at least six months of your income and then learn to live on 80% of what you earn. It requires discipline of the highest order. I urge you to take a look. A part of what you earn is yours to keep.

 

The Gorgeous Redhead and I took this to heart some years ago and now are debt free. We don’t purchase anything we cannot pay for in the month the purchase is made. For us, living frugally is not a fad, it’s a lifestyle. I grew up with the mantra ‘

Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without

.’ It’s not a chore anymore to continue to do so and it enables us to keep on saving and giving.

 

Pastor Kevin made you this deal Sunday: Tithe this month and if you don’t make it, if you don’t see God provide for you, then tell him and the church will refund your tithe back to you. This is an easy deal to make, because I believe in the promise of God so strongly. Are you in?

 

 

THURSDAY: Moving Beyond The Test…Offerings V. 8.

This robbing of God was also mentioned in conjunction with offerings. The tithing was to be the beginning point for God’s people and they were move beyond that to offerings. An offering is over and above the tithe and is another step of faith in trusting the Lord for His provision. Maybe the next step of faith for you is moving to giving above your tithe. Will you do that? Will you trust God to provide?

 

I find it interesting that once you move into New Testament, the Apostle Paul adds another wrinkle about giving.

2 Upon the first day of the week, let every one of you lay aside in store as God hath prospered him, so that there need be no gatherings when I come.

I Corinthians 16:2

 

8 And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others.

II Corinthians 9:8

 

In the first letter to the church at Corinth, God suggested through Paul that perhaps the tithe was the minimum standard in proportionate giving and if and as God prospers you more, you will be motivated to give more.

 

It seems that God wanted the New Testament believers to KNOW that they could give generously and still have plenty left over for everything else.

 

FRIDAY: Changing Your Perspective On Tithing…Bringing V. 10.

10 “Bring the full tithe into the storehouse…” This could literally translated, “You bring

…”

 

I find it interesting that God doesn’t say, “

Give your tithe” because most often it is described as “give.” “Bring

carries a different connotation. Bringing points toward returning to the Owner of all things, the Lord of Hosts, what is rightfully His. It isn’t giving but repaying. You can bring it with your checkbook or cash or even on your phone with automatic withdrawal. I think one of the challenges of automatic withdrawal is that it happens without ever thinking about it. However, while the people were bringing their tithes they were mindful of God’s blessing to them. Practically, if you are set up with automatic withdrawal, then each month as you look at your bank account, find that tithe withdrawal and spend a few moments worshiping God for His provision for you. Bringing was a personal act of worship where the worshiper was bringing to the Lord in reflection of the Lord’s provision.

From God’s perspective, tithing is a personal act of worship coming from a heart that acknowledges God’s provision in your life.

 

Some of you know who Craig Groeschel is. He’s senior pastor of

LifeChurch with HQ in Edmond, OK. That church meets in about 30 locations around the country and globally online. He’s a dynamic communicator. One of his series dovetails with this week’s study. It’s a 4 part series and I urge you strongly to take time to gather your family around and watch this archived series entitled Making Change

. Life Church makes these archived messages available free of charge to anyone who wants them. You will find the message video, sermon outline, copy of the transcript and a discussion guide for follow up. The titles of the presentations are:
  • Less is More
  • Stress is Bad
  • Giving is Good
  • Tomorrow Matters

https://open.life.church/resources/2749-making-change

 

Barb and I have watched this series and it’s dynamite. We encourage you to do the same this week as you ponder the calls to action for generous giving. We’d l love to hear from you if you do this.

[i] Hawkins, O.S. Money Talks.

Annuity Board of the Southern Baptist Convention, 1999. 44-45.

[ii] Weirsbe, Warren. Be Amazed.

Victor Books, 1996. 160.