One of the twelve Old Testament books that we often refer to as “The Minor Prophets” bears the name Malachi.
The prophet Jonah’s name is often linked with a whale. The mentioned of Haggai and Zechariah may prompt us to think about God’s house. Malachi’s prophecy is conducted in a Q & A (question and answer) style. He focuses heavily on the priesthood and cultic worship. And in Christian circles, Malachi’s name is often linked with the biblical concept of tithing.
For I the Lord do not change; therefore you, O children of Jacob, have not perished. Ever since the days of your ancestors you have turned aside from my statutes and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you, says the Lord of hosts. But you say, “How shall we return?”Will anyone rob God? Yet you are robbing me! But you say, “How are we robbing you?” In your tithes and offerings! You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing me—the whole nation of you! Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in my house, and thus put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts; see if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you an overflowing blessing. I will rebuke the locust for you, so that it will not destroy the produce of your soil; and your vine in the field shall not be barren, says the Lord of hosts. Then all nations will count you happy, for you will be a land of delight, says the Lord of hosts.
Prophets often spoke words that were unpopular with God’s people. But they were words that needed to be spoken. Accusing people of robbing God is not really popular talk. That’s what happens sometime when we look at the biblical concept of tithing (giving ten percent of all that God has given us back to God.) Malachi suggests that giving anything less is robbing God. And God, through Malachi, goes on to say that there is no way that we can out give God. God’s response to our generosity is an even more generous blessing to us.
That’s a name and a concept for some further thought.
Dear God, let me count my blessings and rely on Your generosity as I plan and live each day of my life. Amen.