The Ancient Faith
WILL A MAN ROB GOD?
Paul O. Nichols
In a society two of the most despised of characters are liars and robbers. A liar cannot be trusted, and the robber will steal from others, even if it means running the risk of being punished. In the Old Testament God accused h is people of robbing him.
He said, “For I am the Lord, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed. 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? Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings. Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation” (Malachi 3:6-9).
This was a terrible indictment against a people who were favored by god and who had been given the law of the Lord, but failed to appreciate their position. They had been blessed abundantly, but were too stingy and self-serving to return to their Lord that which was his. However, some Christians should be more merciful in their judgment of these people, because they themselves may be guilty of the same sin. The apostle Paul warns, “therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things (Rom. 2:1).
GIVING WITH FAITH
Are we guilty of robbing God? Giving of our means upon the first day of the week is commanded by the Lord in the New Testament, just as tithing was commanded in the Old Testament (1 Cor. 16:1,2). Yet, many members of the church seem to take this command very lightly. The Lord is not a beggar and his demands are not unreasonable. The Bible teaches us to “seek first the kingdom of God” (Matt. 6:33) and He promises to see to all of our needs. The expression, “O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt” was an expression used by Jesus in speaking to Peter upon one occasion. Perhaps it is applicable to some of us today. “but wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?” (James 2:20). Do we really believe the Lord will supply our needs if we put God first in our lives?
Some have been led to believe that even though the Lord has told us to give, he has left the amount entirely up to us. But is this true? I believe God not only tells us to give, but tells us how to give, as well. It is true that we are taught to give as we purpose in our own hearts (2 Cor. 9:7), but our giving must be determined according as we have been prospered (1 Cor. 16:1,2). If our prosperity increases, we are to give more.
HONOR THE LORD WITH THY SUBSTANCE
“Honour the Lord with thy substance and with the first fruits of all thine increase” (Proverbs 3:9). We must have the right attitude for our contribution to be acceptable. “For if there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not (2 Cor. 8:12). One must not give grudgingly nor of necessity, for God loves a cheerful giver (2 Cor. 9:7).
GIVE WITH SIMPLICITY
“He that giveth, let him do it with simplicity. . .” (Rom. 12:8). The marginal rendering of the word translated “simplicity” means “liberally”. “But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully (2 Cor. 9:6). Do we actually believe this?”.. . And remember the words of the Lord Jesus, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” (Acts 20:36). The Lord blesses those who give as the scriptures teach.
LYING TO GOD IN GIVING
It is possible for one to sin, even if he does give to the Lord. We have all heard the saying, “Actions speak louder than words.” In Acts chapter 5 we have an incident recorded from which all can learn a lesson. Ananias and Sapphira his wife sold a piece of property and wanted credit for contributing all the money for the benefit of the needy saints. The fact was, they were only contributing a part of the proceeds and the apostle Peter accused them of lying to god and to the Holy Spirit – Ananias by his actions, and his wife by verbally claiming an untruth. They paid the penalty with their lives. We, too, may be guilty of lying to God by our actions if we do not give as the word of God teaches, and furthermore we are guilty of “robbing God” if we do not give as we are prospered.
The Jews were compelled by God to tithe – give 10% of their income to the Lord for his cause. The Pharisees tithed (Luke 11:42), but with a wrong attitude. Their unrighteousness was pointed out by Jesus. And he taught His disciples, “For I say unto you, that except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 5:20).
Giving to the Lord and His cause is serious business. It would be terrible to go through life thinking that we are serving the Lord in an acceptable way, only to hear in the final day the Lord say to us, “you robbed me. Depart from me into everlasting punishment prepared for the devil and his angels.”
[This was originally published in the August 2007 Issue of the Old Path’s Advocate].