Witness Him Now
One of the things I love most about my God is that I can take one small step toward Him, and He comes running to me. In Malachi 3 God lays out a small step that we can take to return to Him. He says, "Return to Me, and I will return to you." "You ask, but how?" "You have cheated Me of the tithes and offerings due to Me. You are under a curse, for your whole nation has been cheating Me. Bring ALL of the tithes into the storehouse so there will be enough food in My Temple." "If you do," says the LORD of Heaven's Armies, "I will open the windows of heaven for you. I will pour out a blessing so great you won't have enough room to take it in! Try it! Put Me to the test! Your crops will be abundant, for I will guard them from insects and disease. Your grapes will not fall from the vine before they are ripe," says the LORD of Heaven's Armies. Then all nations will call you blessed, for your land will be such a delight," says the LORD of Heaven's Armies.
In the coming days things are going to get rough in a lot of ways. We are going to feel it a lot in our finances, so God lays out a very concrete plan...tithe. Give 10% of everything that comes into your hands back to Him. Now, let me tell you, God does not need our money. He wants our heart, but somehow our money and our heart are tied together. In the past we have been cheating God. We have not given Him our first, and we have not given Him our best, and because of this, we have been cursed. BUT...if we bring Him our first fruits, THE LORD OF HEAVEN'S ARMIES begins to fight for us. Wow! The curse is broken and the blessings begin.
So where do we give this 10%? It always goes to your local church. Don't give it to a TV evangelist. You give them your offerings. Give the first of your money to the church. If you don't have a church, get one. God says, "Do not forsake the assembling of yourselves together...especially as you see the Day approaching." Find a church that preaches Jesus, repentance, and love. It won't be perfect, but it will be God's place of safety and provision.
Now some of you are saying in your heart, I've tried that tithing stuff before and it doesn't work. Listen to what the Bible says just after this verse in Malachi 3, "You have said terrible things about Me," says the LORD. "But you say, 'What do you mean? What have we said against you?" "You have said, 'What's the use of serving God? What have we gained by obeying His commands or by trying to show the LORD of Heaven's Armies we are sorry for our sins? From now on we will call the arrogant blessed. For those who do evil get rich, and those who dare God to punish them suffer no harm." If we think this promise is about getting rich, we are sadly mistaken, and I think this is how we have interpreted it in the past. There are rich people being fattened up for slaughter right now as we speak. This verse has to do with trusting God to take care of us. That burden no longer falls on our shoulders. He takes care of us.
Anyway, in the coming days we will not make it if we withhold our money from God. We will be tying His hands. He will not be able to do for us what He wants to do for us, but if we give him that little bit...the first part of our money - before we pay bills - before we buy groceries...He will do the rest. The windows of heaven will be opened to us, and we will not be able to receive all His goodness.
The scripture says, "May you prosper and be in health, even as your soul prospers."