The Robber and the Robbed

Malachi 3: 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.

Robbing God is a strong accusation.  Have you ever been robbed at gunpoint?  We used to try to rob daddy of his change when we were kids, but his pants would jingle and we’d always get caught.  Robbery is a big crime now days.  We all take precautions at home to protect our property.  We take precautions here at the church that we didn’t use to.  Robbery is an age-old crime and for God’s people to be guilty is a strong statement.  If we don’t properly do right by God we can be a robber and thereby leave God the robbed.  He is robbed more than we realize; he sees it each time, and it should make us mindful every day that we need to give God what he deserves.

I have no weapon to go to heaven and “hold up” God, but we can hold back what belongs to him thereby robbing him.  Verse 10 is a statement about taking what belongs to God and using it for ourselves.  That’s robbery in God’s eyes.  Because we are born again children of God, we belong to him.  He’s our God, not our property.  He’s our owner.  He’s in charge of us; we are not in charge of him.  He can never be our property because he can’t be bought.  If we’ve dedicated our heart to him, it belongs to him.  I’ve seen many come to the altar and profess salvation and then think all is done and they can do anything they want to do.  That’s nonsense.  That is giving something to God—your heart and life—and then taking them back.

We should act like we are God’s property.  He has invested blessing after blessing we wouldn’t have without him.  We have an advantage in this world because of God.  All he expects is for us to be proper stewards.  He wants our heart, soul, and life.  It doesn’t mean that we spend all our time on our knees or reading our Bible or praying.  I know some people who used to take their Bible to the factory with them and try to read it while they worked.  They thought they were doing the right thing but because they weren’t giving their attention to their task they got a little too much juice when they plugged the wrong wires together.  They asked me what they were doing wrong.  I told them their Bible could lay there while they worked and be a testimony.  They could read it on break or at lunch, but when they worked they should give their attention to it or else they were robbing the company.  Being a good employee is a testimony too.

A tithe is 10%.  It’s not all that much.  Some think they need it all or they can’t make it.  We think we need all our time for ourselves.  God deserves it all, but all he asks monetarily is $1 of every 10.  That’s not much.  When it gets to be $100 out of a $1,000 it might hurt, but that belongs to God; it is not ours.

There are many ways to rob God.  The church is financed by tithes, and we honor God by bringing them in.  We can’t pat ourselves on the back when we tithe because it belongs to God to start with.  If not for him we wouldn’t have what we have.  We are all rich by the world’s standards.  God asks for a small portion; we can’t afford not to give it to him.  Not doing so is robbing God.

God is also due a place in our lives.  The Bible tells us seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.  One reason things may not work out sometimes is that we don’t give God his place—that is first.  He needs to be on the throne of our lives.  Proverbs says trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.  I can have the best life possible when God is given first place.  If we don’t give it, he is robbed and we are the robbers.

If we don’t give him our time and acknowledge him in our lives we rob him.  That doesn’t mean we beat people over the head with the gospel.  If we are ourselves in the Lord, he will be shown to others.  There is a time to pray and a time to put legs on our prayers.  There is a time to read the Bible and a time to put it to practice.  Words are cheap if they are not backed up by the way we live.

Many feel they can’t do anything, that they have nothing to offer.  Paul said I can do all things through Christ.  He said this from a jail cell in Rome.  When we give ourselves to God he will enable us to do things for him.

We have to surrender to God.  We behave as if God should give in to us.  As a child I expected daddy to bring me a toy every Friday night when he bought the groceries.  Most times he did surrender to my notions.  I was spoiled.  God is to be surrendered to.  He has delivered us from the power of darkness.  The only way we were saved was to surrender to his strong, everlasting arms.  The Lord is our refuge and the only way to have those arms around us is to surrender to him.  We can’t carry God around like a possession.  The best way to be surrendered is to do it each and every day.

Will a man rob God?  I’m afraid we all do.  If we’ll bring it all—tithe, testimony, life, time—and surrender them to God we will see his promise come true.  He will open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.  Is God exaggerating?  Not on your life!  He means it.  Give God what he deserves and see who comes out ahead.  Let’s not be robbers.  If we do as we should, we will be blessed.

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