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Malachi 3:8

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

Shall a man rob or cheat - , defraud God? God answers question by question, but thereby drives it home to the sinner‘s soul, and appeals to his conscience. The conscience is steeled, and answers again, “In what?” God specifies two things only, obvious, patent, which, as being material things, they could not deny. “In tithes and offerings.” The offerings included several classes of dues to God:

(a) the first fruits;

(b) the annual half-shekel Exodus 30:13-15;

(c) the offerings made for the tabernacle Exodus 25:2-3; Exodus 35:5, Exodus 35:21, Exodus 35:24; Exodus 36:3, Exodus 36:6 and the second temple Ezra 8:25 at its first erection; it is used of ordinary offerings;

(d) of the tithes of their own tithes, which the Levites paid to the priests Numbers 18:26, Numbers 18:28-29;

(e) of the portions of the sacrifice which accrued to the priests Leviticus 7:14.

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

Will a man rob God? - Here is one point on which ye are guilty; ye withhold the tithes and offerings from the temple of God, so that the Divine worship is neglected.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
The men of that generation turned away from God, they had not kept his ordinances. God gives them a gracious call. But they said, Wherein shall we return? God notices what returns our hearts make to the calls of his word. It shows great perverseness in sin, when men make afflictions excuses for sin, which are sent to part between them and their sins. Here is an earnest exhortation to reform. God must be served in the first place; and the interest of our souls ought to be preferred before that of our bodies. Let them trust God to provide for their comfort. God has blessings ready for us, but through the weakness of our faith and the narrowness of our desires, we have not room to receive them. He who makes trial will find nothing is lost by honouring the Lord with his substance.
Ellen G. White
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 2, 653

Many have their hearts so fixed upon their earthly treasure that they do not discern the advantage of laying up for themselves treasures in heaven. They do not realize that their freewill offerings to God are not enriching Him, but themselves. Christ counsels us to lay up treasures in heaven. For whom? For God, that He may be enriched? Oh, no! The treasures of the entire world are His, and the indescribable glory and priceless treasures of heaven are all His own, to give to whom He will. “Lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven.” Men whom God has made stewards are so infatuated by the riches of this world that they do not discern that by their selfishness and covetousness they are not only robbing the Lord in tithes and offerings, but robbing themselves of eternal riches. They could be daily adding to their heavenly treasure by doing the very work that the Lord has left them to do, and which He has entrusted them with means to carry out. The Master would have them watch for opportunities to do good and, while they live, apply their means themselves to aid in the salvation of their fellow men and in the advancement of His cause in its various branches. In so doing they only do that which God requires of them; they render to God the things that are His. Many willingly close their eyes and hearts, lest they should see and feel the wants of the Lord's cause, and by helping in its advancement should lessen their increase by detracting from the interest or the principal. Some feel that what they give to advance the cause of God is really lost. They consider so many dollars gone and feel dissatisfied unless they can immediately replace them so that their earthly treasure may not decrease. They exercise closeness and even sharpness in dealing with their brethren and also with worldlings. They do not scruple to overreach in deal in order to advantage themselves and gain a few dollars. 2T 653.1

Some, fearing they will suffer loss of earthly treasure, neglect prayer and the assembling of themselves together for the worship of God, that they may have more time to devote to their farms or their business. They show by their works which world they place the highest estimate upon. They sacrifice religious privileges, which are essential to their spiritual advancement, for the things of this life and fail to obtain a knowledge of the divine will. They come short of perfecting Christian character and do not meet the measurement of God. They make their temporal, worldly interests first, and rob God of the time which they should devote to His service. Such persons God marks, and they will receive a curse rather than a blessing. Some place their means beyond their control by putting it into the hands of their children. Their secret motive is to place themselves in a position where they will not feel responsible to give of their property to spread the truth. These love in word, but not in deed and in truth. They do not realize that it is the Lord's money they are handling, not their own. 2T 654.1

Many would love to see souls converted if it could be done without any sacrifice on their part; but if their property is touched, they draw back, for it is of more value to them than the souls of men and women for whom Christ died. If those to whom God has entrusted means understood their responsibilities as His stewards, they would retain in their own hands that which God has lent them, that they might faithfully perform the duty devolving upon them to do their part in helping carry forward the work of God. If all could comprehend the plan of salvation, and the worth of even one soul purchased by the blood of Christ, they would make every other interest of minor consequence. 2T 654.2

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Ellen G. White
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 3, 398

Christians forget that they are servants of the Master; that they themselves, their time, and all that they have belong to Him. Many are tempted, and the majority are overcome, by the delusive inducements which Satan presents to invest their money where it will yield them the greatest profit in dollars and cents. There are but few who consider the binding claims that God has upon them to make it their first business to meet the necessities of His cause and let their own desires be served last. There are but few who invest in God's cause in proportion to their means. Many have fastened their money in property which they must sell before they can invest it in the cause of God and thus put it to a practical use. They make this an excuse for doing but little in their Redeemer's cause. They have as effectually buried their money in the earth as had the man in the parable. They rob God of the tenth, which He claims as His own, and in robbing Him they rob themselves of the heavenly treasure. 3T 398.1

The plan of systematic benevolence does not press heavily upon any one man. “Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given order to the churches of Galatia, even so do ye. Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come.” The poor are not excluded from the privilege of giving. They, as well as the wealthy, may act a part in this work. The lesson that Christ gave in regard to the widow's two mites shows us that the smallest willing offerings of the poor, if given from a heart of love, are as acceptable as the largest donations of the rich. 3T 398.2

In the balances of the sanctuary the gifts of the poor, made from love to Christ, are not estimated according to the amount given, but according to the love which prompts the sacrifice. The promises of Jesus will as surely be realized by the liberal poor man, who has but little to offer, but who gives that little freely, as by the wealthy man who gives of his abundance. The poor man makes a sacrifice of his little, which he really feels. He really denies himself of some things that he needs for his own comfort, while the wealthy man gives of his abundance, and feels no want, denies himself nothing that he really needs. Therefore there is a sacredness in the poor man's offering that is not found in the rich man's gift, for the rich give of their abundance. God's providence has arranged the entire plan of systematic benevolence for the benefit of man. His providence never stands still. If God's servants follow His opening providence, all will be active workers. 3T 398.3

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Ellen G. White
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 9, 249

The tithe is sacred, reserved by God for Himself. It is to be brought into His treasury to be used to sustain the gospel laborers in their work. For a long time the Lord has been robbed because there are those who do not realize that the tithe is God's reserved portion. 9T 249.1

Some have been dissatisfied and have said: “I will not longer pay my tithe; for I have no confidence in the way things are managed at the heart of the work.” But will you rob God because you think the management of the work is not right? Make your complaint, plainly and openly, in the right spirit, to the proper ones. Send in your petitions for things to be adjusted and set in order; but do not withdraw from the work of God, and prove unfaithful, because others are not doing right. 9T 249.2

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Ellen G. White
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, 734

There are poor men and women who are writing to me for advice as to whether they shall sell their homes and give the proceeds to the cause. They say the appeals for means stir their souls, and they want to do something for the Master who has done everything for them. I would say to such: “It may not be your duty to sell your little homes just now; but go to God for yourselves; the Lord will certainly hear your earnest prayers for wisdom to understand your duty.” If there was more seeking God for heavenly wisdom and less seeking wisdom from men, there would be far greater light from heaven, and God would bless the humble seeker. But I can say to those to whom God has entrusted goods, who have lands and houses: “Commence your selling, and giving alms. Make no delay. God expects more of you than you have been willing to do.” We call upon you who have means, to inquire with earnest prayer: What is the extent of the divine claim upon me and my property? There is work to be done now to make ready a people to stand in the day of the Lord. Means must be invested in the work of saving men, who, in turn, shall work for others. Be prompt in rendering to God His own. One reason why there is so great a dearth of the Spirit of God is that so many are robbing God. 5T 734.1

There is a lesson for us in the experience of the churches of Macedonia, as described by Paul. He says that they “first gave their own selves to the Lord.” Then they were eager to give their means for Christ. “In a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality. For to their power, I bear record, yea, and beyond their power they were willing of themselves; praying us with much entreaty that we would receive the gift.” 5T 734.2

Paul lays down a rule for giving to God's cause, and tells us what the result will be both in regard to ourselves and to God. “Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.” “This I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully.” “God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work: (... Now he that ministereth seed to the sower both minister bread for your food, and multiply your seed sown, and increase the fruits of your righteousness;) being enriched in everything to all bountifulness, which causeth through us thanksgiving to God.” 5T 735.1

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