The Beginning Place for God’s Blessing
How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher?
Why has God left us here on earth? God left us here so we can do His work and fulfill His kingdom’s purpose, which is to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ to as many people as possible. Think about it: God wants to save people. He could do it all on His own; He doesn’t need our help. But He asks us to partner with Him in that ministry. Romans 10:14 says, “How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher?” God’s plan is for us to partner with Him in ministry and in supporting His kingdom’s work.
We are going to prayerfully consider what we will invest in doing the one thing God left us here to do. This week, we will look at the starting place: tithing. Tithing is the beginning place for experiencing God’s blessing in your life. Some of you are new to the faith, and you don’t give anything, or maybe you give very little, to God’s work. This week will be an encouragement to you to start giving. Others of you already give to the church; many of you give generously. The question for you is, What would God have you to do next as you grow in your giving? To start at the beginning place for God’s blessing, we will look at the book of Malachi.
Malachi was a Jewish prophet who wrote after the nation of Judah had been in exile for 70 years in Babylon because of disobedience. After a time of pruning and purifying, God allowed the people to return to their homeland. The people, initially, were enthusiastic. They recommitted their lives to God, and things were going great. But after a time, they went back to their old ways. So Malachi the prophet was writing to them to challenge them about what had happened.
How did Malachi know the people had backslidden in their relationship with God? One evidence was they were offering inferior gifts to God. “When you present the blind for sacrifice, is it not evil? And when you present the lame and sick, is it not evil?” (1:8). An Israelite would have ten sheep, and one of the sheep was blind and lame–guess which one of the ten was offered to God?
Another evidence of the people’s backslidden nature was that they were marrying unbelievers and engaging in divorce. God says, “‘For I hate divorce,’ says the Lord, the God of Israel” (2:16). Now, God doesn’t hate divorced people. He hates divorce because it tears people apart.
But by far the greatest evidence of the Israelites’ fallen relationship with God was their unwillingness to tithe, to give a tenth of their income back to God. We see that in the accusation God made against the people: “Will a man rob God? Yet you are robbing Me! But you say, ‘How have we robbed You?’ In tithes and offerings” (3:8).
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “The Beginning Place for God’s Blessing” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2015.
Scripture quotations are taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.