Will a man rob God? Yet you are robbing Me! But you say, “How have we robbed You?” In tithes and offerings.
–Malachi 3:8

In Malachi 3:8, God says when you do not give Him 10 percent of your income, you are robbing Him.

Isn’t God being a little harsh? After all, maybe the Israelites had a good reason for not giving. Maybe they had a high water bill one month. Or maybe they had a tuition bill. Or maybe there was an Ebola outbreak that caused the stock market to go down. But God doesn’t give them any slack; He doesn’t allow for any excuses. He said, “You are robbing Me!”

Notice how God says the Israelites have robbed Him. First, they were robbing God powerfully. The word translated “rob” is a strong word. It is not like an employee who takes a pen home from work. This word “rob” is forced robbery. We would call it armed robbery. Can you imagine doing that to God? The Bible says that is what you do when you do not tithe.

Second, they were robbing God persistently. The verb tense of “rob” is not a one-time action. This is something they were doing week after week, month after month, and year after year.

Third, they were robbing God personally. In the Hebrew text of 3:8, the pronoun “Me” is in the emphatic position at the beginning of the sentence. In other words, God was saying, “Me. Me have you robbed.” When you don’t tithe, it is the Lord God your Creator, the One who gives you life, and the One who sustains your life whom you are robbing.

When we fail to tithe, we hurt the church. Many of you reading this give nothing to your church. Have you ever stopped to think, “How does the work of the church happen? Who pays the bills?” When you give nothing, you are saying, “I think what this church is doing is so worthless that I would just as soon it close as stay open.” When you give nothing, you cast a vote to close the church. When you give nothing or give very little, you are hurting the church. When you give less than a tithe, you ensure that your church’s ministry shrinks, that fewer people hear the gospel, and that more people will spend eternity in hell. And ultimately, you are robbing God. That’s the real issue. When you do not do what God has called you to do, you are robbing God.

Notice what was happening to the Israelites because of that. God said, “You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing Me, the whole nation of you!” (v. 9). They were suffering for it. They had lower production of their crops, the rain wasn’t coming, the fruit was dropping from the vine prematurely. God was hurting them where they would feel it most–in the pocketbook–because they were failing to tithe.

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Today’s devotion is excerpted from “The Beginning Place for God’s Blessing” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2015.

Scripture quotations are taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.