Sermon #14 Malachi Sermons
Title: “Will a man rob God?”
Text: Malachi 3:7-12
Subject: Giving God His Due
Date: Sunday Evening — December 13, 2009
Tape: Malachi #15
Readings: Darin Duff and Ron Wood
The title of my message is found in the words of God spoken to us by his prophet Malachi. — “Will a man rob God?” Will Adam pillage Elohim? Will frail, weak man attempt to supplant the great and mighty God? Dares mortality attempt the robbery of immortality? Dares the creature draw out his dagger and try to slip up on the Creator, to rob him? Impossible as it is for man to rob God, insane as it is to attempt, this is an ancient crime and a crime of which all the human race is guilty.
Malachi 3:8 is one of those verses preachers have used and abused to beat people over the head and shame them into paying their religious taxes, their tithes. “If you don’t pay your tithes God’s going to get you. Your children will get sick. Your bills will pile up until you have to file bankruptcy. The Lord might even kill you, or your wife, or one of your children.” Preachers are worse than the Federal government. They make tax evasion (tithe evasion) a capital offence! Then they promise that if you tithe, “God will pour out his blessings upon you, enrich you and make you happy.” Needless to say, that is not Malachi’s message. You can’t bribe God; and God won’t bribe you.
Turn with me to Malachi 3:7-12; and let’s see what God the Holy Spirit here teaches us about men robbing God.
“Even from the days of your fathers ye are gone away from mine ordinances, and have not kept them. Return unto me, and I will return unto you, saith the LORD of hosts. But ye said, Wherein shall we return? 8 Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings. 9 Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation. 10 Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. 11 And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the LORD of hosts. 12 And all nations shall call you blessed: for ye shall be a delightsome land, saith the LORD of hosts.” (Malachi 3:7-12)
The first thing the Lord mentions in our text is apostasy, the relentless apostasy of whole house of Israel from him. — “Even from the days of your fathers ye are gone away from mine ordinances, and have not kept them.” Israel brought upon themselves the judgment of God by their willful departures from him. The previous generation brought themselves into Babylonian captivity by their departures from God, his worship and his revealed will (Jeremiah 2:13).
“For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water.” (Jeremiah 2:13)
But this is not God’s Word to a group of people who lived 2500 years ago. This is God’s Word to you and me. — “Even from the days of your fathers ye are gone away from mine ordinances, and have not kept them. Return unto me, and I will return unto you, saith the LORD of hosts. But ye said, Wherein shall we return?”
What a solemn charge this is! After contemplating the great goodness and faithfulness of our covenant God, goodness and faithfulness arising from his everlasting immutability (v. 6), the Lord God directs our thoughts to the consideration of our unfaithfulness and our countless, sad and shameful departures from him!
There was a time when the blessed and holy doctrine of the Gospel was cherished in this nation, cherished by the rich and the poor, cherished in the church house and in the school house, preached from the pulpit and pleasing to the pew. The distinguishing truths of the Gospel, such as the everlasting covenant love of God the Father, the atoning blood and justifying righteousness of God the Son and the quickening, converting, comforting operations of God the Holy Ghost, were heard, preached, published and received with joy and thanksgiving. —— How we have fallen!
Apostasy from the Word and worship and will of God brings the judgment of God upon men and nations. It is this departure from God, a departure to which the nation has been led by will-worshipping preachers, that has led to the moral degeneracy of the nation (Romans 1:16-32); and it is this apostasy from the worship of God to the worship of man that is the sure sign of antichrist in this world (2 Thessalonians 2:1-17). — Freewill, works religion is the apostasy of this day and the ruin of this day!
“16 ¶ For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. 17 For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith. 18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness.”
“19 ¶ Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. 20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: 21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. 22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, 23 And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things. 24 Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: 25 Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. 26 For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: 27 And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet. 28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; 29 Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, 30 Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, 31 Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: 32 Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.” (Romans 1:16-32)
Yes, you read the Book of God correctly. — Homosexuality is a moral perversity, a degeneracy of man, an act of divine judgment that brings greater judgment. And the root to which the moral perversity is traced is idolatry, the idolatry of will-worship, the idolatry of man worshipping himself!
2 Thessalonians 2
“1 ¶ Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, 2 That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.”
“3 ¶ Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; 4 Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God. 5 Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things? 6 And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time. 7 For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. 8 And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: 9 Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, 10 And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. 11 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: 12 That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.”
“13 ¶ But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth: 14 Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. 15 Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle.”
“16 ¶ Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God, even our Father, which hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace, 17 Comfort your hearts, and stablish you in every good word and work.” (2 Thessalonians 2:1-17)
Oh, that he, who says return unto me, would graciously accompany the invitation with his power, and cause the hearts of the multitudes, as the heart of one man, to return to the Lord, that our land might be called “Hephzibah” and “Beulah” (Isaiah 62:4).
This apostasy from God is nothing less than the robbery of God, a robbery of God that holds men under the curse of the Almighty (Malachi 3:8-9).
“8 Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings. 9 Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation.” (Malachi 3:8-9)
In the Old Testament, under the Levitical government of that typical dispensation, the tithe was a religious tax collected for the maintenance of the tabernacle and the priesthood, a tax levied by God’s law to maintain his worship (Leviticus 27:30-33; Numbers 18:26-28; Deuteronomy 12:18; 14:28-29; Nehemiah 13:10-14).
But the robbery of God here spoken of by Malachi involves much more than money. Remember, Malachi’s message was specifically addressed to the priests of Judah and of Israel who refused to give glory to God’s name (Malachi 2:1-2).
“1 ¶ And now, O ye priests, this commandment is for you. 2 If ye will not hear, and if ye will not lay it to heart, to give glory unto my name, saith the LORD of hosts, I will even send a curse upon you, and I will curse your blessings: yea, I have cursed them already, because ye do not lay it to heart.” (Malachi 2:1-2)
The priests of Israel defrauded God of his worship as God by offering God’s praise and worship to another (Jeremiah 7:8-23), just as the preachers and religious leaders of our day defraud him.
“8 Behold, ye trust in lying words, that cannot profit. 9 Will ye steal, murder, and commit adultery, and swear falsely, and burn incense unto Baal, and walk after other gods whom ye know not; 10 And come and stand before me in this house, which is called by my name, and say, We are delivered to do all these abominations? 11 Is this house, which is called by my name, become a den of robbers in your eyes? Behold, even I have seen it, saith the LORD. 12 But go ye now unto my place which was in Shiloh, where I set my name at the first, and see what I did to it for the wickedness of my people Israel. 13 And now, because ye have done all these works, saith the LORD, and I spake unto you, rising up early and speaking, but ye heard not; and I called you, but ye answered not; 14 Therefore will I do unto this house, which is called by my name, wherein ye trust, and unto the place which I gave to you and to your fathers, as I have done to Shiloh. 15 And I will cast you out of my sight, as I have cast out all your brethren, even the whole seed of Ephraim.”
“16 ¶ Therefore pray not thou for this people, neither lift up cry nor prayer for them, neither make intercession to me: for I will not hear thee. 17 Seest thou not what they do in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem? 18 The children gather wood, and the fathers kindle the fire, and the women knead their dough, to make cakes to the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto other gods, that they may provoke me to anger. 19 Do they provoke me to anger? saith the LORD: do they not provoke themselves to the confusion of their own faces? 20 Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, mine anger and my fury shall be poured out upon this place, upon man, and upon beast, and upon the trees of the field, and upon the fruit of the ground; and it shall burn, and shall not be quenched.”
“21 ¶ Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Put your burnt offerings unto your sacrifices, and eat flesh. 22 For I spake not unto your fathers, nor commanded them in the day that I brought them out of the land of Egypt, concerning burnt offerings or sacrifices: 23 But this thing commanded I them, saying, Obey my voice, and I will be your God, and ye shall be my people: and walk ye in all the ways that I have commanded you, that it may be well unto you.” (Jeremiah 7:8-23)
Think of this matter spiritually, applying it to our day, as God intends for us to do. How does a man rob God? A man robs God by robbing him of his sacrifice and his praise! How do people rob God?
Š You rob God when you refuse to believe him.
Š You rob God when you despise his sovereignty and dominion as God (Isaiah 45).
Š You rob God when you deny his eternal purposes and performances (Romans 8:28-30; Ephesians 1:3-6).
Š You rob God when you slight his darling Son and rob him of the merit and efficacy of his blood and righteousness (Isaiah 53:9-10; Hebrews 9:12; 10:9-14).
Š You rob God when you deny the Spirit’s mighty operations of grace in regeneration, conviction and effectual calling (John 16:7-11).
Š You rob God when you mix the works of man with the work of Christ (Galatians 5:1-4).
Š You rob God when you make man’s will omnipotent and God’s will subservient (Romans 9:16).
Š You rob God when you put your hand to his Ark, put your tool to his Altar and break his Sabbath, — when you despise his Son!
Š You rob God when you give man a place of glorying before the triune God (Psalm 115:1).
“1 ¶ Not unto us, O LORD, not unto us, but unto thy name give glory, for thy mercy, and for thy truth’s sake. 2 Wherefore should the heathen say, Where is now their God? 3 But our God is in the heavens: he hath done whatsoever he hath pleased.” (Psalms 115:1-3)
If you rob God of his offering he says, in verse 9, “Ye are cursed with a curse!” It is written, “Cursed is everyone that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.” — “Ye are cursed with a curse,” God declares, “for ye have robbed me.” — There is always a reason for God’s judgment. He never punishes where no offense exists.
Now, look at verses 10-12 and learn of God to bring God’s tithe, God’s Sacrifice into the storehouse.
“10 Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. 11 And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the LORD of hosts. 12 And all nations shall call you blessed: for ye shall be a delightsome land, saith the LORD of hosts.” (Malachi 3:10-12)
The storehouse was the “tithe barn” (Nehemiah 13:11-13) where all the sacrifices of grain and such were brought and kept. The tithe money was kept in the temple treasury. But here the tithe specifically speaks of the storehouse and the grain that was kept there. — God says, “Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house.”
When God’s Christ is our Christ, and the Lord’s Holy One, is our Holy One, when poor sinners come to the Lord and look with an eye of faith to God’s Christ and his rich covenant mercy in Christ, they find meat in God’s house, for Christ himself is the living bread. In him and by him the windows of heaven are opened, and God’s blessings are so profusely poured out, that the gladdened heart finds more than it can hold. Then the enemy is restrained. — Satan is rebuked. God’s ordinances are blessed. And God’s Church is made fruitful. The barrenness of the land is taken away! Oh, that our God would grant such blessedness in our day, for Christ’s sake!
Indeed, when our God has finished his work in us and for us, he who sought to devour us shall be devoured and we shall be blessed (Romans 16:20; Malachi 3:12; Ephesians 2:7; Revelation 19:1-6).
“And all nations shall call you blessed: for ye shall be a delightsome land, saith the LORD of hosts.” (Malachi 3:12)
“And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.” (Romans 16:20)
“That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.” (Ephesians 2:7)
“1 ¶ And after these things I heard a great voice of much people in heaven, saying, Alleluia; Salvation, and glory, and honour, and power, unto the Lord our God: 2 For true and righteous are his judgments: for he hath judged the great whore, which did corrupt the earth with her fornication, and hathenged the blood of his servants at her hand. 3 And again they said, Alleluia. And her smoke rose up for ever and ever. 4 And the four and twenty elders and the four beasts fell down and worshipped God that sat on the throne, saying, Amen; Alleluia.”
“5 ¶ And a voice came out of the throne, saying, Praise our God, all ye his servants, and ye that fear him, both small and great. 6 And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth.” (Revelation 19:1-6)
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