“For I the LORD do not change; therefore you, O children of Jacob, are not consumed. From the days of your fathers 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 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. 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. Then all nations will call you blessed, for you will be a land of delight, says the LORD of hosts. – Malachi 3:6-12
Allen P. Ross writes:
The command of the LORD is simply a reminder of their covenant duties under the Law: “Bring all the tithe into the storehouse.” The inclusion of the word “all” suggests that they may have been bringing something, but not nearly enough. And the purpose of their doing this was that there might be food in His house. The food in the temple would be a constant supply for the offerings, for the priests’ share and their families’ share, for the Levites, musicians, temple servants, and the poor. It was important for the economy as well as the religious activities that the people bring what was required.
Then, as if to motivate the people with a challenge, the LORD called for them to “test Him and see” if He would provide for them if they gave. The word “test” would have the sense here of proving something, such as testing a new product or a plan. To test God would here be an act of faith; and that would be very different from the wilderness generation who tested God because they did not believe Him. God was calling the people to act on His promises, to prove them true.
What they would discover if they did was that He would open the floodgates of heaven and pour blessings upon them. We have a couple of figures of speech here. The floodgates are an implied comparison for the clouds that will open and pour down the rain; and the blessing is the result of the rain that will come. The Law had warned the nation that if they were disobedient, God would withhold the rain; if they were obedient, He would send the rain. God was here calling the people to trust Him to send the rain, but they would have to demonstrate their trust in Him by giving Him His proper due.
MEMORY WORK – Shorter Catechism Q/A 47
Q. 47. What is forbidden in the first commandment?
A. The first commandment forbiddeth the denying, or not worshiping and glorifying the true God as God, and our God; and the giving of that worship and glory to any other, which is due to him alone.