Gone . . . Drifted Away
Yet from the days of your fathers You have gone away from My ordinances And have not kept them Return to Me, and I will return to you, “Says the Lord of hosts. “But you said, ‘In what way shall we return?’ 8 “Will a man rob God? Yet you have robbed Me! But you say, ‘In what way have we robbed You? ‘In tithes and offerings. 9 You are cursed with a curse, For you have robbed Me, Even this whole nation. 10 Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, That there may be food in My house, And try Me now in this, “Says the Lord of hosts ,”If I will not open for you the windows of heaven And pour out for you such blessing That there will not be room enough to receive it. Malachi 3:7-10 NKJV
“Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers” (3 John 2). These were the words of the Apostle John that he wrote to a body of believers. He clearly inculcated to them that health and prosperity can never be realized beyond the prosperity of one’s soul. Obviously, a prosperous soul honors God and keeps His commandments. This is the bottom line—the conclusion of the whole matter—you must “fear God, and keep His commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.” (Eccl. 12:13).
Here in our text, the prophecy of Malachi given to the remnant of Israel who had returned to the Jerusalem, after 70 years of Babylon captivity, was: “from the days of your fathers you have gone . . . [drifted] away from the ordinances of God, but if you’ll return to God, He will return to you.” How do you know when you’ve drifted away from God? Like Israel, when you fail to keep God’s ordinances, i.e., enacted orders, decrees, and commandments, you have gone away from God; you have drifted away.
What is very interesting is that Israel’s most flagrant violation of the ordinances of God was not specifically breaking any of the Ten Commandments but “robbing God in tithes and offerings. Ergo, when you breach the ordinance of not paying tithes and giving offerings, spiritually speaking, you have already violated each of the commandments in your heart. Paying tithes and giving offerings is never about money per se. It is about your heart. Jesus taught in His Sermon on the Mount that “where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matt 6:21). Honoring God with tithes and offerings is, first and foremost, about the heart—not money or other substance. God’s indictment against Israel was an impeachment of their heart’s condition. They had gone . . . drifted away from God in their hearts. It is the state of one’s heart that predetermines their outcomes in life (Prov. 4:23). God said through the prophet that “robbers” of tithes and offerings would be “cursed with a curse” (Mal. 3:9) because they have “departed from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron” (1 Tim 4:1-2).
When you drift away from the truth and refrain from being a doer of truth, you are living a lie; and, the lie unrepented of, will become “your truth” concealed in ignorance and blindness even to the point where you become numb to conviction or the guilt of not keeping God’s ordinance. Not honoring God in tithes and offerings is to be gone from God . . . drifted away!