Daily Devotion Wednesday August 9, 2017
“Will man rob God? Yet you are robbing me. But you say, ‘How have we robbed you?’ In your tithes and contributions. You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing me, the whole nation of you.”
Malachi 3:8-9 ESV
Can a man rob God? This may sound a foolish question yet it is a very crucial one, and the response to it simply is; yes—a man can rob God. In addressing series of disputes between God and the Jews after the Babylonian exile, the fifth dispute Malachi addresses regards the question of robbing God.
I had never read this part of the Bible until some time back in 2002 when in a bid to meet the church’s financial demands, the church to which I belong organised a teaching on stewardship and this passage in Malachi was central in the teaching. The man of God taught for about an hour and these questions raised by Malachi has since then kept rebuking me; “Will a mere mortal rob God? Yet you rob me. “But you ask, ‘How are we robbing you?’” (Mal. 3:8).
When Malachi challenged Judah that they were robbing God, they couldn’t believe that it was possible to rob God. So, they asked; “How are we robbing God?” In his response, Malachi bluntly told them that they rob God “in tithes and offerings.” “When Israel returned from exile, they neglected to offer their tithes… the people were not giving to God the offerings that rightly belonged to him” (ESV Global Study Bible).
God who is the creator, from whom and in whom all things originated solely owns everything as declared by David in his song; “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it; for he founded it on the seas and established it on the waters” (Psalm 24:1-2). Right from the beginning, he has made man a steward (manager) of his creation. In the cultural commission, God had this charge to mankind;
“Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground” (Gen. 1:28).
By this charge, God has made us to be stewards but not owners of his creation. The legal right of ownership has in many ways made us to think we own what is in our charge, as such we are ever tempted to hold to us everything and forget our obligation to make an offering to God in form of tithes, free will giving, thanksgiving etc. Sometimes, we seek to make sure that our budgets are first provided for before we decide how much offering we bring to church. When we do this, like the Israelites; we rob God. When we first satisfy our needs and budgets and then decide what to give God, we not only rob him but it is also true that we don’t trust him to provide for our needs.
“The people were not only bringing defective offerings but also were withholding the tithe, apparently due to the field’s meagre returns. But withholding the tithe is stealing from the Lord. As a consequence, the righteous Lord withheld blessing. Their sin also evidenced a lack of trust in the Lord to provide for their needs if they kept His commands” (Reformation Study Bible).
May we be faithful stewards, faithful enough to give unto the LORD not just the tithes and offerings of our produce and earnings but to cheerfully offer our all to him. And, may we without doubt trust the LORD God for our needs. He invites us to test him and see whether he will not shower us by opening the floodgates of his heavenly blessing. I hope you will indeed test him. So, Can a man rob God? Yes, a man can rob God and I ask that you shouldn’t rob God. Amen! Rev. J