Robert Morris — What Test?
Turn to two passages, please, Malachi 3. Last book of the Old Testament, Malachi 3 and then 2 Chronicles 31, we'll go over there in a moment. And we're going to go through a lot of Scripture in this message. And I want to show you that tithing is Scriptural and it is in God's Word. So, Malachi 3:6, this is where we'll start. Malachi 3:6, "For I am the Lord, I do not change". That's very important. I don't change. "I do not change. Therefore, you are not consumed, O sons of Jacob". Now, I think that's humorous. He says, "I don't change, that's why I haven't killed you yet, personally". That's what I think He's saying there. I was nice and I'm still nice. All right? Verse 7, "Yet from the days of your fathers, you have gone away from My ordinances".
Now, we're going to come back to that word, "ordinance," what does it mean? "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.'" Now, before we read Verse 8, let me just remind you, this is God talking, this is God, the God who does not change. This is the God who does not change talking. He said, "You go away from My ordinances". I just need to probably tell you, the word, "ordinance," means a principle of ordinary behavior. You've gone away from my principles of ordinary behavior for God's children.
And they say, "Well, in what way"? Now, I want you to notice this because this next verse, a preacher didn't make this up. OK? This is God speaking. Verse 8, "Will a man rob God or steal from God? Yet you have robbed Me, you have stolen from Me. But you say, 'In what way have we robbed you?'" Now, watch again. This is God talking. "'In tithes and offerings. You are cursed with a curse, for you have robbed Me, even this whole nation. Bring all the tithes into the storehouse,'" that would be the church, "'that there may be food in My house,'" again, that's the church, "'and try,'" the old King James uses the word, "prove". The English Standard Version uses the word, "test". "'Test Me now in this,' says the Lord of Hosts".
I just want you to understand how many times He puts says Lord of Hosts so we remember who's talking here, the one who can't change is talking. "'Test Me,' says the Lord of Hosts. 'If I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you such blessings, that there will not be room enough to receive it, and I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes — for your sakes. So that He will not destroy the fruit of your ground, nor shall the vine fail to bear fruit for you in the field,' says the Lord of Hosts. 'And all nations will call you, blessed, for you will be a delightful land,' says the Lord of Hosts".
This is God talking and this is the God who can't change. You have to remember that. And He says, "You've gone away from My ordinances. You've gone away from My ordinary principles of behavior. Tithing is an ordinary principle of behavior for God's children to thank God for their income, for their harvest, for their increase. That's an ordinary principle. And He said, "Because you've gone away from my ordinary principles, you're under a curse now".
Now, you need to understand so many times we say, "Well, Christians can't be under a curse because Christ bore the curse of the law on the cross". He did. That is in regards to our salvation. But are you saying then that you can live anyway you want and it doesn't affect you? Is that what you're saying? Because that's just crazy to think that way. See, if we steal, there are consequences. A curse is a consequence. If you steal, there's a consequence. What if you steal from God? And so many people say, "Well, yeah, but the Lord owns it all". Yes, but He actually gives us stewardship over it, but He reserves ten percent for Himself. That's why He says you've stolen because He says, "I have set apart the tithe for the house of God". So, if you keep it, you're stealing it.
And this word is also used in Joshua 6:7, when they took the tithe they were supposed to bring, He said, "Israel has stolen". And again, please hear me. I didn't make these words up. These are strong words. God says, "You've stolen from me. You've robbed me and because of that, you're under a curse and I don't want you under a curse. I don't want you living under a curse, but you're voluntarily placing yourself under a curse because you're going away from my ordinary principles of behavior".
And so, I had a conversation with the Lord one time, and I said, "Lord, the number one reason that I hear that people don't tithe is they say, "Well, that's in the Old Testament". That's in the Old Testament. And so, I said to the Lord, "You know, Lord, You put in this in Malachi 3 and then there's a Malachi 4 and then Matthew 1. Couldn't you have just waited? I mean, just a little while. I mean, that, you know, these verses only missed the New Testament by like 15 verses. I mean, couldn't you have just waited just a little while and put it..". You know what the Lord said? I just felt in my spirit. He said, "I put it right where I wanted it".
And the reason is, here's point number one, because tithing is a test. Tithing is a test. See, God is testing our hearts. Even when a person argues about tithing, I think to myself, what is the spirit behind this? Why would this person argue when God gave His Son for you and you won't even give Him ten percent? Why would you argue about this? It's amazing to me. I'm telling you, it's a test of your heart. It's a test. Now, here's why I believe He chose ten percent. By the way, the word, "tithe," is a Hebrew word. "Maasrah," is the Hebrew word and it means tenth part or ten percent, tenth part, tenth, ok. So, that's where we get this from that we know it's ten percent.
Here's why I think He chose ten percent. First of all, I think He chose a percentage because it's fair to everyone. It doesn't matter if you make $30.000 or $300.000, it's a penny on every dime. It's the same for every person. But here's a reason I think He chose ten. Because for some reason, many times when you see the number ten in the Bible, it represents testing. You'll actually see the word, "test," with it. For instance, let's take a little test. All right?
I'm going to ask you a question and I want you to answer me out loud. All the campuses, all the churches, just say your answer out loud, all right? Here's the first question. How many plagues were there in Egypt? Ten, right? Now, I could have said it a different way. I could have said, how many times did God test Pharaoh's heart? Because that's what He did. But, we're familiar with how many plagues there were. All right? Here's the second question. How many commandments are there? Ten. OK.
Now, I'm going to ask another question and you might not know this, but there's a pattern here. OK? And this is Numbers 14 where God actually says this, you can read it later, all right? And then I want you to say your answer just a little louder, OK? How many times did God test Israel in the wilderness. That's correct. All right. How many times — again, you might not know this, but — OK. How many times were Jacob's wages changed? Ten. God was testing his heart. How many days was Daniel tested? How many virgins were tested in Matthew 25? How many days of testing are mentioned in Revelation? How many disciples were there? No, there were 12. I was just testing you. I was just testing.
So, tithing is a test. But here's something that you might not know, it's a two-way test. God not only tests you, but this is the only place in Scripture that I've found where God says, "You can test Me". Test Me. This word, "Try," that is sometimes translate "test," or "prove," comes from the way you test a metal, the way you test gold to see if it's pure. You know what God is saying, "Test Me to see if I'm pure. I want you to. I want you to see because I want to open the windows of Heaven. I want to bless you. I want to rebuke the devour for you, but it depends on whether you're going to thank Me and worship Me and walk in faith and whether you're going to believe that 90% with God's blessing will go farther than 100% without. And you open an area of faith when we do this.
All right, here's number two. Number one, tithing's a test. Here's number two, tithing is biblical. Biblical. You need to know that it's biblical. There are a lot of people that don't tithe. And here's really, you're not a bad person if you don't tithe. You're not a bad person. I'm not saying that at all. Not at all. You're not a rebellious person. But a lot of people don't really believe it's in the Bible. They don't really believe it's for us today. So, let me show you some Scriptures, all right?
We'll get to 2 Chronicles 31 in a moment. Genesis 14:18-20, "Then Melchizedek, King of Salem," Salem means peace, "brought out bread and wine". There's a representation of communion even in the Old Testament. "He was the priest of God Most High. And He blessed him," now that's talking about Abram, Abraham, Abram, "and said, 'Blessed be Abram of God Most High, possessor of heaven and earth, and blessed be God Most High who has delivered your enemies into your hand.'" Now watch this. "And he," that's Abram Abraham, "gave him," that's Melchizedek, "a tithe of all".
You need to know, if you don't know this, theologically, this is about 500 years before the law. And Galatians says, "Abraham is our spiritual father". And Melchizedek, Hebrews says, is a type of Christ, and many theologians believe it's actually Jesus Christ, because it says he has no genealogy. That's what Hebrews says. No mother, no father, no beginning of days, no end of life. It's pretty amazing. So, it's either Jesus Himself or a type of Christ, and our spiritual father, tithes, gives ten percent, 500 years before the law.
Look at Genesis 28:22, this is talking about Jacob. And this stone, which I've set up as a pillar shall be God's house. Again, an implication that the tithe goes to God's house. And of all that you give me, I will surely give a tenth to you. This is about 400 years before the law. Leviticus 27:30, "And all the tithe of the land," all of it. "All the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land or the fruit of the tree is the Lord's". In other words, it belongs to the God. "It is holy to the Lord". Remember the word, "holy," means set apart. God has set it apart for him. That's the only reason He could say, "You're stealing from me because I set that apart for my house and if you keep it, then you're stealing it".
Deuteronomy 26:1-2, "And it shall be when you come into the land, which the Lord your God has given you as an inheritance and you possess it and dwell in it, that you shall take some of you the first, I'll show you next week in just a moment, and later down in this passage how that refers to the tithe, first of all the produce of the ground, which you shall bring from the land that the Lord your God is giving you and you put it in a basket," now watch this, "and go to the place where the Lord, your God, chooses to make His name abide, again, referring to church. Where you go to church. You go to a place where the Lord chooses to make His name abide.
Then look at Verse 13. "Then you shall say before the Lord your God, "I have removed the holy tithe". In other words, the set apart ten percent. "The holy tithe from my house and have given them to the Levite, the stranger, the fathers and the widow". He directed where the tithe was to go. "According to all Your commandments, which You have commanded me. I've mot transgressed Your commandments, nor have I forgotten them. I've not eaten any of it when in mourning". I didn't use some of the tithe when I went through a difficult time. "Nor, have I removed any of it for any unclean use, nor given any of it for the dead. I have obeyed the voice of the Lord, my God and done according to all that You have commanded me. Look down from Your holy habitation from heaven and blessed Your people". I've removed the holy set apart tenth part from my house and I've given it, brought it to Your house, Lord. And now, He says, "After you do that, you can pray this prayer. Look down from heaven and bless Your servant". OK.
Let me ask you a question, all right? If Jesus said it, that you ought to tithe, would you do it? You want to see the verse? Matthew 23:23, Jesus is speaking, "Woe to you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe," ten percent, "a mint, anise, and cumin," those are spices, "and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith". Watch very carefully. "These you ought to have done without leaving the others undone". OK, here's what Jesus said. "You guys give tithes not only of your first fruits, but you even give tithes of the spices that you're going to put on your food, but you've neglected justice, mercy, and faith". Then Jesus says, "You ought to do that. You ought to do that. But don't leave the other undone". That's Jesus. You tithe, but you don't do this. You ought to do that, but don't leave this undone". Or, "You ought to do those things, but don't leave that undone". Either way.
Hebrews talks about, again, Melchizedek and Jesus and how mortal men receive tithes on this earth. But, let me show you what Hebrew says, talking about Jesus is our Melchizedek. Watch this. Hebrews 7:8, "Here, mortal men receive tithes, but there He receives them of whom it is witness that He lives". Listen, you put your tithe in a plate or offering bag or basket, however it is that you give your tithe, mortal men take care of it, manage it, things like that, but listen, in Heaven, He receives it, of whom it is witnessed, He lives. Jesus Christ receives my tithes. That makes me want to tithe.
So, it is biblical. And here's number three. Tithing is a blessing. Tithing is a blessing. OK. So, let me tell you about 2 Chronicles 31. Now, we're going to read there. So, if you put a marker at 2 Chronicles 31. Hezekiah one day is reading the Scriptures. And he sees these verses about tithing. And they're in an economic recession. And he realizes, "We're under a curse, the whole nation, because we're not tithing. We're stealing from God". So, that's where we pick up this story, 2 Chronicles 31:4, "Moreover, he commanded the people who dwelt in Jerusalem to contribute support for the priest and the Levites that they might devote themselves to the law of the Lord".
Now, just stop for just a moment. Remember, Malachi said, "Bring the tithe in the storehouse that there may be food in my house". And again, they were talking about natural food. But think about it today, spiritual food. In fact, let me just ask you something. All right. When you come to church, do you enjoy the food, the spiritual food that you get? Do you enjoy it? Someone's paying for it. So, let me ask you a question.
Let me just put it in a — talking about food here, let me give you an analogy. Would any of you here go to a restaurant, eat a meal, and then leave without paying for it? Any of you? Some Christians do that every week. They go to church, eat a meal, and skip out on the check. Here's the sad thing. You're the one that's hurting. I don't preach on tithing because the church needs money. We're doing fine financially. I promise you I'm doing this to help you. This'll change your life, your family, your finances, your marriage, your children, your grandchildren. This will change you. I promise you.
So, He says, "Everyone needs to bring the tithe to the house of God". Now, look at Verse 5, "As soon as the commandment was circulated, the children of Israel brought in abundance the first fruits". Again, I'll show you next week how that relates to the tithe. "Of grain and wine, oil, and honey, and of all the produce of the field, and they brought in abundantly the tithe of everything". There it is right there showing you it's the tithe. "And the children of Israel and Judah, who dwelt in the cities of Judah brought the tithe of oxen and sheep. Also, the tithe of holy things, which were consecrated to the Lord, their God, they laid in heaps. In the third month, they begin laying in heaps and they finished in the seventh month".
Now, these months relate to the harvest. OK? "And when Hezekiah and the leaders came and saw the heaps they blessed the Lord and His people Israel. Then Hezekiah questioned the priest and the Levites concerning the heaps. And Ezeriah, the Chief Priest from the House of Zadok answered him and said, 'Since the people began to bring the offerings into the house of the Lord,'" again the tithe always comes — goes to the House of God, "'we have had enough to eat and have plenty left for the Lord has blessed His people and what is left is this great abundance'".
Here's what happens. The King sends out this commandment and says, "We're supposed to be tithing to the House of God. So, the people begin doing it. They begin in the third month, which is a harvest time, but then there is another harvest, the seventh month. And they continue through that time. And so, when the king comes to visit and sees these heaps, heaps that the people brought to the house of God. Here's what in essence he says. It says, "He questioned them about the heaps". Here's what he was saying. "Are the people OK? Are they OK? I mean, look how much they've given or do they have enough left"? And the Priest said, "Oh, King, as soon as the people started to do it God's way, God so blessed them, what you're seeing here is just the ten percent. If you think there heaps here, go look at the 90%. Go look at how God blessed His people when they began obeying His Word".
I've been in ministry now for over 30 years. I've heard two testimonies for that time about tithing — consistent testimonies. You know, Scripture says in the mouth of two or three witnesses. OK, here are the two testimonies people have said to me. Tithers consistently have said to me, "We are so blessed. Boy, it all changed when we began tithing. We are so blessed, Pastor Robert. We are so blessed". That's what tithers have said. Here's what non-tithers have said. "I can't afford to tithe". That's their testimony. I can't afford to tithe. And again, not mean, not rebellious people, just, "I can't afford to tithe".
Listen to me, you will never be able to afford to tithe until you tithe. Because tithing is what breaks the curse and rebukes the devourer. As soon as you start to get ahead, something else will break because the devourer. But tithing is what rebukes him. Think about this, Jesus said, "I'm going away for a while". Is that right? "I'm going away, but I'm coming back. But, while I'm gone, I want you to take care of My wife. Ten percent, you can keep the 90".
Let me just to remind you, is the church the Bride of Christ? Listen to me very carefully. Tithing might be more personal to Jesus than what you thought because it's His wife. He has the power — and if you say, "Why? I can't believe you just take it away and give to the others". If you don't think Jesus will do that, read the parable of the talents". When he took from the one that wasn't faithful and gave it to the one who was faithful. He wants to provide for you. But why would He provide and bless people who will not even be concerned about His wife. It's a test. And it's very important that we pass this test.
Every time we get paid, we take a test. And that test is, whom are we going to honor for our paycheck. And we want to honor God. And I want to encourage you, tithe to your local church. Put God first in every area of your life, including your finances. I want to also encourage you, that if you'd like to get this entire series, because there's a lot more that I covered when I shared this with this the church that I can't cover each week on the television program, or even every day as we go on television in many places, so, I want to encourage you, get the series, get the book, let God speak to you, and be the generous person that God created you to be. See you next time.