1358.) Malachi 3

Mala3 change not

Malachi 3   (ESV)

“Behold, I send my messenger, and he will prepare the way before me. And the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple; and the messenger of the covenant in whom you delight, behold, he is coming, says the Lord of hosts. But who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears? For he is like a refiner’s fire and like fullers’ soap. He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, and they will bring offerings in righteousness to the Lord. Then the offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing to the Lord as in the days of old and as in former years.

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Music:

You are already hearing it in your head, aren’t you?!  HERE   is “But who may abide the day of His coming” from Part I of Handel’s Messiah.  And then,  HERE  is “And He Shall Purify.”  Performed by the London Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorus.

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“Then I will draw near to you for judgment. I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, against the adulterers, against those who swear falsely, against those who oppress the hired worker in his wages, the widow and the fatherless, against those who thrust aside the sojourner, and do not fear me, says the Lord of hosts.

Robbing God

Now we come to the fifth dispute, about repentance and tithing:

Prophet:   Return to Yahweh.

People:   How?

Prophet:    You are robbing God.

People:   How?

Prophet:   By withholding tithes and offerings.

–from “Malachi” in Old Testament Survey, by William Sanford Lasor, David Allan Hubbard, and Frederic William Bush

“For I the Lord do not change; therefore you, O children of Jacob, are not consumed. 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.

Mala3 tithes-and-offerings

from Whispers of His Power,
by Amy Carmichael

Tithes and offerings are not the same.  “Tithes and offerings,” God says.  In writing to the converts in Corinth (2 Corinthians 9:6-11), Paul does not speak of tithes; he takes them for granted.  He speaks of offerings which are over and above tithes.

Love always finds ways to do more than give tithes.  It gives free-will offerings, something over and above what must be given.  That is the joy of love.  It is about such love, and the things such love does, that God says “his righteousness remains forever” (v. 9).  He calls our little love-gifts by that great name, and lay them up as treasures in heaven.

Are we faithful in our tithes?  Are we loving in our offerings?

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.

Mala3 Proverbs
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.

The sixth and final dispute:

Yahweh:   You have spoken against me

People:   How?

Yahweh:   By saying it is vain to serve God.  He will punish the wicked and reward the faithful.

–from “Malachi” in Old Testament Survey, by William Sanford Lasor, David Allan Hubbard, and Frederic William Bush

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.’”

The Book of Remembrance

16 Then those who feared the Lord spoke with one another. The Lord paid attention and heard them, and a book of remembrance was written before him of those who feared the Lord and esteemed his name. 17 “They shall be mine, says the Lord of hosts, in the day when I make up my treasured possession, and I will spare them as a man spares his son who serves him. 18 Then once more you shall see the distinction between the righteous and the wicked, between one who serves God and one who does not serve him.

Verse 17 in the King James Version goes like this —

And they shall be mine, saith the Lord of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him.

I believe it was the first funeral I ever attended.  I was only a child, and it was another child who had died, drowned in the livestock watering tank outside the barn on a neighbor’s farm.  My father and another man sang a duet, a hymn based on an idea from this verse, that God comes to gather his jewels.

When He cometh, when He cometh
To make up His jewels,
All His jewels, precious jewels,
His loved and His own.

Refrain:

Like the stars of the morning,
His brightness adorning,
They shall shine in their beauty,
Bright gems for His crown.

He will gather, He will gather
The gems for His kingdom;
All the pure ones, all the bright ones,
His loved and His own.   (Refrain)

Little children, little children,
Who love their Redeemer,
Are the jewels, precious jewels,
His loved and His own.    (Refrain)

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Music:

Far be it from any of us to get into disputes with God or with those who speak his truth!  And may we not withhold from the Lord the tithes and offerings due to him!  Instead, let me submit fully to You.  HERE  is Robin Mark and “I Surrender All.”

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English Standard Version (ESV)   The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.
Images courtesy of:
I change not.    http://owprince.files.wordpress.com/2012/03/malachi-3_6-god-does-not-change.jpg
Tithes and Offerings.    http://mybethanyumc.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/tithes-and-offerings_std_t.jpg
Proverbs 3:9.   http://sopfamily.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/offering.png

 

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