Everything good comes from the hand of the Lord.

I’ve just finished leading a series in our church house group on the book of Malachi. I titled it ‘Renewal’ and we split the book into three sessions:

  • Renewing our worship
  • Renewing our service
  • Renewing our giving

I have been so blessed to have been leading the group for the last three weeks that I simply have to share our accumulated thoughts with you. We’ve grown both numerically and spiritually in our house group over the last few weeks and I feel confident that our little group is really growing in the Lord and that it’s going to make a massive change in our church throughout the coming months. I’m veen encouraged by all the prayers, the ministry time, the way in which people are engaging with the word and the way in which it’s impacting their lives and mine outside of church.

So – I’m going to do three blog posts on Malachi, just summarising a few main points about what we learnt. However, I’m going to go in reverse order!

Last night, we looked at Renewing our Giving. The focus passage was Malachi 2:17 – 3:12:

Malachi 2:17-3:12

New Living Translation (NLT)

17 You have wearied the Lord with your words.

“How have we wearied him?” you ask.

You have wearied him by saying that all who do evil are good in the Lord’s sight, and he is pleased with them. You have wearied him by asking, “Where is the God of justice?”

The Coming Day of Judgment

3 “Look! I am sending my messenger, and he will prepare the way before me. Then the Lord you are seeking will suddenly come to his Temple. The messenger of the covenant, whom you look for so eagerly, is surely coming,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.

“But who will be able to endure it when he comes? Who will be able to stand and face him when he appears? For he will be like a blazing fire that refines metal, or like a strong soap that bleaches clothes. He will sit like a refiner of silver, burning away the dross. He will purify the Levites, refining them like gold and silver, so that they may once again offer acceptable sacrifices to the Lord. Then once more the Lord will accept the offerings brought to him by the people of Judah and Jerusalem, as he did in the past.

“At that time I will put you on trial. I am eager to witness against all sorcerers and adulterers and liars. I will speak against those who cheat employees of their wages, who oppress widows and orphans, or who deprive the foreigners living among you of justice, for these people do not fear me,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.

A Call to Repentance

“I am the Lord, and I do not change. That is why you descendants of Jacob are not already destroyed. Ever since the days of your ancestors, you have scorned my decrees and failed to obey them. Now return to me, and I will return to you,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.

“But you ask, ‘How can we return when we have never gone away?’

“Should people cheat God? Yet you have cheated me!

“But you ask, ‘What do you mean? When did we ever cheat you?’

“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. 10 Bring all 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! 11 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 theLord of Heaven’s Armies. 12 “Then all nations will call you blessed, for your land will be such a delight,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.

I guess the main points from the passage were as follows:

  • We must be mindful to revere God for who he is. It’s important not to twist the truths that he gives to us (2:17)
  • We must acknowledge that all good things come from God and that we are eternally indebted to him – yet he chooses grace and mercy over what we rightfully and fairly deserve. We’re reminded in 3:2-4 that all humans are in the same boat, that no one could stand on their own, only for God’s refining fire to wash us clean of sinfulness and unrighteousness. 3:8 reminds us that all things are God’s and we are not to cheat him out of what is rightfully his.
  • The main reason as to why we give is because God is a giving God – just like we love because he first loved us, we give because he gave (John 3:16) – and sacrificially at that! He is a God who loves to give gifts to his children and as a sign of devotion to him, we give our all to him as a sign of relationship with him, and out of compassion for others.

 

One particular set of verses which spoke to me that I mentioned in the study were from 1 Chronicles:

1 Chronicles 29:10-14

New Living Translation (NLT)

David’s Prayer of Praise

10 Then David praised the Lord in the presence of the whole assembly:

“O Lord, the God of our ancestor Israel, may you be praised forever and ever! 11 Yours, OLord, is the greatness, the power, the glory, the victory, and the majesty. Everything in the heavens and on earth is yours, O Lord, and this is your kingdom. We adore you as the one who is over all things. 12 Wealth and honor come from you alone, for you rule over everything. Power and might are in your hand, and at your discretion people are made great and given strength.

13 “O our God, we thank you and praise your glorious name! 14 But who am I, and who are my people, that we could give anything to you? Everything we have has come from you, and we give you only what you first gave us!

 It’s amazing to think that despite David being the King of Israel and having tonnes of gold and material wealth, he still recognised that none of it was his and that it was by God’s sheer grace that he was in the position he was in.
Do you find it difficult to let go of material wealth and give it over to God? I know I do! It took me 10 months to fill in a standing order form for my church!

0
Share
Dean Roberts

Dean is a Minister in the Anglican Church. Currently he is Curate in the parishes of Bedwas, Machen, Michaelston-y-Fedw and Rudry in South Wales. He was born and bred in Wales, is married to Megan, and has two dogs called Taliesin and Melyn, and two cats named Sinsir and Hâf. He graduated from Cardiff University with a BA Hons. in Theology & Religious Studies, and has studied for an MA in Theology, Ministry & Mission at Trinity College Bristol. He also holds a Cert.RSCM from the Royal School of Church Music. He loves playing music, walking, reading, blogging and horse riding as well as going to the cinema and theatre. Read More @ http://deanroberts.net/about