Why you need to keep giving... even in a recession!
The above article is on our Home Page for the rest of the month of October. You need to read this balanced teaching for these difficult times, and if you don't have a copy of the book "Four Keys to Prosperity", get one before the print run is exhausted. There are only about 340 copies left.
The article below follows the theme of our Home Page. It is taken from chapter 14 of our new book Seeds and Secrets
A well-known passage from the last book in the Old Testament will shed
some further light on this secret of "Give and Receive". "Will man rob God? Yet
you are robbing me. But you say, ‘How have we robbed you?' In your tithes and
contributions. You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing me, the whole nation
of you. Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house.
And thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows
of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need
[there will not be room enough to receive it, KJV]. I will rebuke the devourer for you,
so that it will not destroy the fruits of your soil, and your vine in the field shall not
fail to bear, says the Lord of hosts" (Malachi 3:8-11).
That is God's promise to Israel in the Old Testament. And I believe that anything God did for Old Testament people, He does better and greater for New Testament believers. The book of Hebrews teaches us this. God has for us better promises, better covenants, better results. So whatever God promised in Malachi, He is not going to give me anything less than that, for the Word declares that His intentions towards us are far greater.
"You are robbing me", God said to them. That is Old Testament terminology.
The nation of Israel were robbing God because they had not given Him their
tithes and offerings. In New Testament terminology, the emphasis is not on
robbing God when you fail to give. In actual fact, you are robbing yourself,
because you have failed to sow a seed, you have failed to make an investment
in your own future. Some people get uptight when the preacher starts talking
about money. And the reason is usually that their attitude towards money is
wrong. The true preacher is encouraging you to get a greater benefit out of your
life. I want you to do something positive with your life. And God's way to do it is
to sow a seed, to "give, and it will be given to you".
There are some other things in Malachi I would like to show you. Do you
have a pencil? Underline the verbs, and we will see their impact. In verse 10 it
says "Bring". That's a verb, a word of action. Then further into the verse you have
the word "Test" or "Prove" (KJV). These are the two things we must do -- "Bring"
and "Prove". Then God says, "I will open." He says, "I will pour." And in verse 11 he
says, "I will rebuke." Underline those three verbs -- "Open", "Pour", "Rebuke" -- all
three are God's part. Those five words you have underlined will give you the key
to God's secret of success: Bring, Prove, Open, Pour, Rebuke.
Let us look at the first two words, the actions that you and I have to do. "Bring
the full tithe into the storehouse." The Jewish people were told that they should
give the first 10 per cent of everything they received, whether it be animals,
produce, or whatever, to the priest in the synagogue. In addition to that, they
were given the privilege of bringing offerings over and above the tithe. The
minimum was 10 per cent.
In New Testament terminology, Jesus says, "Give, and
it will be given to you." The amount you give can be proportionate to your income
if you wish, but attitude is more important than amount. Paul taught that people
should give to the church where they were getting fed. He told the Corinthians
that he did not want a collection when he came, but every Sunday, every first day
of the week, they should "put something aside and store it up, as he may prosper"
(I Corinthians 16:2). So Christians were encouraged to give on the first day of
the week, and we also practice that principle. The verb "to bring" demands an
action on our part.
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The next word is "Prove", and this is incredible. God says, "Prove me now,
put me to the test". Some scholars say it is the only place in the Bible where God
invites us to put Him to the test. How do you test God out? By sowing the seed, by
applying the principle. Do you want to see how the principle of gravity works?
Stand up on a chair and take a step forward, and see if you hit the ground or
not. If gravity is working, you will hit the ground, won't you? If gravity is not
working you might hit the ceiling! Yet we know that the principle of gravity
always works, and we apply the principle all the time. "Prove me now", God
says. That is a great challenge to humanity. We want to receive. God is saying,
"Start giving and watch it work!" Let's apply God's principle, let's sow the seed.
Now God says He will do three things. First, He says, "I will ...open the
windows of heaven for you" -- the lattices of heaven. What does this mean? The
expression was first used in Genesis 7:11, in the time of Noah and the flood.
Some believe that this was the first time that it rained on the earth. When it
rained the ground got wet, and then it could not soak up the water and there
was a flood. And the flood was so great that the ark finished up on Mount
Ararat. That was quite a flood to produce so much water! Now that is the same
term that God is using in Malachi. He says, "Prove Me now... if I will not open for
you the windows of heaven." You had better watch out. When you give there is
going to be a flood.
The next verb that God uses is "Pour". Lamsa's translation has it, "I will...
pour out blessings for you until you will say, ‘It is enough'." Oral Roberts has said it
will be not a trickle, not a stream, not a river, but a flood! A flood happens when
so much rain has been given that the earth can no longer absorb it. That is
what God is talking about when He says that "there will not be room enough to
receive it" (KJV) or "until there is no more need" (ESV). You only have to give, and
God said He will pour out to you so much that you will not be able to contain it.
It certainly implies health, wealth, and happiness to me! "I will... pour down for
you a blessing..." Your need is not just money. There are other things in your life
that you need, such as better relationships, improved health, peace of mind, to
name a few. God will pour out for you such a blessing.
The third verb God uses to describe His part of the agreement is "Rebuke".
He says, "I will rebuke the devourer for you." He will rebuke those limiting
circumstances that are dragging you down. The devourer I take to be the enemy
of God. Satan always wants to drag you down. Satan wants you to have poverty,
Satan wants you to have sickness. God will rebuke the devourer and everything
you touch will grow and produce the fruit that you are expecting. I'm glad that
I'm on God's side!
These Old Testament verses from Malachi are a powerful way to illustrate
God's secret of success, Give and Receive. If He did so much for Jewish people
under Jewish law, who were bound to a works-based consciousness of their
relationship to God, what will He do to New Testament Christians who belong
to the family of God? We are brothers and sisters in God's family, and we are
operating under a grace-based relationship with God. We do not have to work
at it, for it is freely available to us. God requires us to do one thing, and that is
to apply the principle and give! If you want the kind of blessing that causes
you to say, "Lord, hold off a little, I can't contain all I have right now", then Give
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