Monday, May 16, 2022

          Malachi is the last book of the Old Testament.  He was one of the minor prophets with a book that spans only four chapters.  In Malachi 3, the prophet spoke about the Lord God returning to His people as they returned to Him.  Returning to the Lord is a daily mission for any way we may have departed from Him.  The prophet posed a rhetorical question in Malachi 3:7 about how to return to the Lord.  And then the prophet gave the Lord’s answer in 3:8. He wrote, “Will a mere mortal rob God? Yet you rob me.  ‘But you ask, ‘How are we robbing you? In tithes and offerings.’”  Now, the immediate context for this verse was the tithe.  God’s people had robbed Him of what rightfully belonged to Him by denying Him the tithes that were part of their worship and devotion to Him.  And even today, we can deny God the same way and rob Him the same way.  We can refuse to tithe or ignore that expectation that God has for us.  God blesses us and then calls us to respond to those blessings by giving a tithe back to Him as an act of worship and thankfulness. 
            But we could also rob God in other ways.  We can deny Him time in worship, prayer, Bible study and service.  We could deny Him our attention and devotion.  We could rob Him of His glory when we seek to claim credit that should go to Him alone.  When we push Him off the throne of our heart, we rob Him of His well-deserved place of leadership and authority.  We can rob Him of our love.  We can plow ahead without seeking the Lord’s wisdom and counsel.  And when we live by what is right in our own eyes, we are usually wrong and ready for a fall. We can rob God by choosing our ways above and beyond His ways.
            When it comes to giving things like tithes, money, time and acts of service to the Lord, we do not give these things because the Lord needs them or is lacking in some way unless we give them.  God is neither poor nor deprived in any way.  Rather, God is teaching us to be givers.  He is teaching us to live a lifestyle of giving and serving.  The practices themselves simply train us and discipline us to live in ways that are right and good just as a parent trains a child to go in ways that are good and right.  God often teaches us heavenly and eternal lessons by using earthly and temporary things.  We can easily rob God of the faith and trust that are due to Him when we hold on too tightly to the things of this life and world.
            One great test we can apply to many things in life is the question, “for whom am I doing this?”  Am I doing this for God?  Am I making this decision for His glory?  Am I seeking Him above self-gain or self-approval?  There are countless times in life where we have to choose God above self and to lean on Him rather than plotting our own course in life.  As our Main Street Kids reminded us on Sunday, Peter could walk on water only insofar as and as long as He kept His eyes on Jesus.  As Grayson Carter reminded us, we are not to make our troubles bigger than Jesus.  And if we see water or trouble more than we see Jesus, we are robbing the Lord of a chance to go to work in our lives in a way that blesses us and brings glory to Him. 
            Remember you can share our worship anytime at youtube.com/FirstBaptistKannapolis.  Look for ways to bless God today by what you give or entrust to Him.  The blessing will be returned to you.  When God is glorified, we are always satisfied.  Have a great Monday!

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