When you do not fulfill the requirements of the covenant, there is punishment. It does not mean that you are not saved by the blood of Jesus, but because you are sinning, by robbing God, the enemy has the legal right to bring harm your way.
God’s grace protects you as long as you obey. Some of God’s promises have clear requirements and when you follow what He asks, then you have access to His hedge of protection.
God withholds his blessing as punishment when people become ungrateful and disloyal. What can evil people do with great resources? Answer: So much damage. When people withhold the tithes and the offering, pride and disobedience are the causes. The withholding of the blessing is actually for the offender.
The Israelites’ answer in itself was indignant. The Lord answered with two nouns — in tithes and offering. The tithe was the regular portion of their income that went to the Lord; and their offering was an additional gift that they were to give, often identified as the priest’s due.88 In the Old Testament, all the giving covered the sanctuary offerings for God, the failure to bring these to God was a clear sign of ingratitude and disloyalty.
The whole land was cursed. The word “curse means “to remove from the place of blessing.” The Bible was not specific as how many disobedient people it takes to bring down a national curse, but this is clearly widespread throughout the land.89 Maybe they were experiencing hardships in rebuilding their nation. However, Malachi would remind them that if they thought keeping their money was the most frugal thing to do for their livelihood, then they needed to understand the covenant terms again. If they gave by faith what was due to God, bountiful provisions would be supplied.
First and foremost, it would rain. Secondly, devouring pests would not come. However, since they failed to trust in God’s provision, there was drought and pests. God was teaching them to depend on Him for the rain and the crops, and when He provided for them to show their gratitude with their tithes and offerings (the tithes would be in proportion to the way God prospered them).
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