God’s Promise to Those Who Give
God promises to bless and provide for the faithful giver. In fact, God makes a dramatic promise if we obey His command to give in Malachi 3:8–11.
This passage contains several key points:
- If we fail to bring our tithes and offerings to God, we are actually robbing Him (Malachi 3:8). This reminds us again that giving is not an option in the believer’s life.
- God makes a distinction between tithes and offerings. The word tithe actually means “one-tenth.” In the Old Testament, we read of several instances where a tithe was given: Abraham presented a tithe to the priest-king of Jerusalem, Melchizedek (Genesis 14:18–20); and Jacob pledged to offer God a tithe of all of his possessions (Genesis 28:22). In the New Testament, Jesus mentioned it as well, though He warned that strict tithing must accompany concern for the more important demands of the law—namely those that dealt with just and merciful living (Matthew 23:23; Luke 11:42).
Israel practiced both required giving and freewill offering. Within the required giving, three tithes were specified:
- First was the Lord’s tithe;
- Second was the festival tithe;
- Third was the poor tithe, collected every third year for the needy.
Israel’s practice of tithing (not even including freewill offerings) totaled between 20% and 25%. At that time, the Israelites’ government and religious life were closely intertwined. Today, we are all taxed heavily by our government, and Scripture teaches that we should obey the laws of the land, including the giving of taxes. But our giving to the Lord is a separate matter.
Should we still tithe today?
While we are no longer under the law, as we live under the new covenant in Christ, that does not mean that we disregard Old Testament law. Instead of doing it out of mere duty and fear, we now do it out of love. We as Christians should give a minimum of 10% to the Lord (Matthew 23:23; Luke 11:42). The tithe should go to the church you attend. The tithe for Old Testament believers went to the maintenance of the Temple. The tithe for New Testament believers should go to the maintenance of the church.
God makes an incredible promise to those who obey. He actually challenges you to test Him in this area:
“‘Try Me now in this’ says the LORD of hosts, ‘If I will not open for you the windows of Heaven and pour out for you such blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it. And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, so that he will not destroy the fruit of your ground, nor shall the vine fail to bear fruit for you in the field'” (Malachi 3:10–11).
This challenge is for us today, to give our tithes and offerings to the Lord and see if God is as good as His Word. He is—and you will see that for yourself.