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The Fruit of the HOLY SPIRIT
Podcast Episode: The Fruit of the HOLY SPIRIT – PEACE #3
“But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: LOVE, JOY, PEACE, PATIENCE, KINDNESS, GOODNESS, FAITHFULNESS, GENTLENESS, AND SELF-CONTROL. There is no law against these things.” [Galatians 5:22-23 NLT]
We need to understand that love is the first characteristic of the fruit of the Holy Spirit. It is well placed at the head of the list, for it permeates all the rest of the attributes. Somehow, if we live a life of love, the other virtues will attend us all the days of our lives. Love is the key that unlocks the entire fruit basket of Galatians 5:22-23, as well as permeating 1 Corinthians 13.
Our Lord Jesus Christ Calms the Storm
In Mark 4:35-41 NLT says, “35 As evening came, Jesus said to His disciples, “Let’s cross to the other side of the lake.” 36 So they took Jesus in the boat and started out, leaving the crowds behind (although other boats followed). 37 But soon a fierce storm came up. High waves were breaking into the boat, and it began to fill with water. 38 Jesus was sleeping at the back of the boat with his head on a cushion. The disciples woke him up, shouting, “Teacher, don’t you care that we’re going to drown?” 39 When Jesus woke up, He rebuked the wind and said to the water, “Silence! Be still!” Suddenly the wind stopped, and there was a great calm. 40 Then He asked them, “Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?” 41 The disciples were absolutely terrified. “Who is this man?” they asked each other. “Even the wind and waves obey Him!””
In these passages or Scriptures, they describe that when evening came, our Lord Jesus Christ suggested that He and the disciples cross to the other side of the lake – that is, to the east side of the Sea of Galilee. The boat probably belonged to one of the fishermen in the group, most likely to Peter. For Peter to set sail in the evening was not unusual because he was used to fishing at night (see John 21:3). Fishing was best then; storms usually came in the afternoon.
Thus, when our Lord Jesus Christ finished speaking, the disciples pulled up the anchor and set sail. Our Lord Jesus’ ministry was never without purpose. He was crossing the sea in order to enter a new area of ministry. Along the way, the disciples would be taught an unforgettable lesson about His power.
A few people in the crowd probably expected our Lord Jesus Christ to come ashore to offer more healing or teaching. But our Lord Jesus Christ, human as He was, needed rest. So, He left the crowds behind when the boat set sail.
The detail that other boats followed is recorded only in Mark and signifies an eyewitness account – perhaps from Peter who sailed the boat and had to watch out for these other boats as they made their way out into the lake. (Josephus, an ancient historian, wrote that there were usually more than three hundred fishing boats on the Sea of Galilee at one time.) The other boats accompanying our Lord Jesus Christ may have been filled with persistent followers. The tiny detail gives us a picture of God’s grace – many people on these other boats were also saved when our Lord Jesus Christ stilled the storm.
The Sea of Galilee is an unusual body of water. It is relatively small (thirteen miles long, seven miles wide); but it is 150 feet deep, and the shoreline is 680 feet below sea level. Because it is below sea level and surrounded by mountains, it is susceptible to sudden storms. Winds sweeping across the land come up and over the mountains, creating downdrafts over the lake. Combined with a thunderstorm that appears suddenly over the surrounding mountains, the water stirs into violent twenty-foot waves. The disciples had not foolishly set out in a storm. In fact, they usually didn’t encounter storms at night and did not see this one coming. Even though several of these men were expert fishermen and knew how to handle a boat, they had been caught without warning by this fierce storm. Their peril was real as they battled huge waves that nearly swamped their vessel.
While this was happening, our Lord Jesus Christ was sleeping at the back of the boat. How our Lord Jesus could sleep during this storm indicates His complete exhaustion and reveals His human nature. That the noise, the violent rocking of the boat, and the cold spray of the water didn’t awaken Him gives us a glimpse of the physical drain on our Lord Jesus Christ throughout His earthly ministry.
The disciples had embarked on this journey at our Lord Jesus’ request after a long day. They were probably tired too, but they had set sail anyway. Then, of all things, a storm blew in – one that was threatening to sink the boat and drown them. And our Lord Jesus Christ was sleeping through it! They woke Him and asked, “Teacher, don’t you even care that we are going to drown?” Their words were more of a criticism than a call for help. How easy it is for us to complain and criticize God for not coming to our aid, rather than making our request and then trusting Him to answer.
Although the disciples had witnessed many miracles, they panicked in this storm. Added to that, they revealed that they completely misunderstood their teacher. They had seen our Lord Jesus Christ perform great miracles of compassion, but they dared to ask if He cared about them at all. Their question was rude; their misunderstanding was deep.
Our Lord Jesus Christ, abruptly awakened from a deep sleep, arose and without speaking to the disciples spoke instead to the elements. Standing in the stern of the rocking ship, our Lord Jesus Christ rebuked the wind and said to the water, “Quiet down!” The disciples were shocked at the power of their teacher to speak and control the ocean waves. But they should not have been surprised. The storm was out of control, their fears were out of control, but our Lord Jesus Christ was never out of control. He has power over all the forces of nature, and He listens to the appeals of those who love Him.
The disciples had seen our Lord Jesus do incredible miracles, but they hadn’t taken their knowledge of His power and carried it to its logical conclusion. Our Lord Jesus Christ responded, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still not have faith in me?” They wanted Him to do something; He wanted them to trust Him! Despite all that the disciples had seen and heard thus far, and despite their belief in our Lord Jesus Christ as the Messiah, they still had not grasped that our Lord Jesus Christ was Himself God, given God’s power and authority over all of creation.
But the disciples still didn’t understand, as betrayed by their question, “Who is this man?” They should have known because this miracle clearly displayed the truth of our Lord Jesus Christ’s divine identity. Being with the human, compassionate our Lord Jesus Christ was fine; being with the powerful and supernatural Son of God was terrifying.
When we become Born-Again Christians, we enter a cosmic struggle because Satan hates people to believe in our Lord Jesus Christ. Satan’s limited power is launched against believers individually and the fellowship church in general, hoping to sink us to the depths of the sea. But we have the ultimate power on our side, and the final victory is assured. Lord Jesus Christ should be our Savior, to whom we turn with all our needs and fears, knowing that He does care and will help.
Can it be that most of our lives are lived beyond the recognition of the power of God evidenced through the death and resurrection of His Son? Doesn’t God have everything in our lives under control? Should not our own security in troubled times come in remembering this? We have God’s living Son, our Lord Jesus Christ on board in our lives. We may have confidence, therefore, that in our own stormy situations He will calm the turbulence and give us the confidence of His presence. Amen!
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This book, “From The WORDS And THOUGHTS To The SWORDS And BATTLEGROUNDS” is planned and designed with three goals in mind (thought): • To help us become more like our Lord Jesus Christ – so much like Him that our family, loved ones, friends, and others in our lives can see Him manifested and reflected in our words, actions, and attitudes. • To help us surrender and submit to God and resist the devil. • To help us be always victorious in our lives by winning the spiritual battles. Author’s next book is coming soon, entitled, “From The BATTLEGROUNDS and WARS To The OVERCOMING And VICTORIES”
Eliphaz’s First Response to Job
In Job 4:1-6 NLT says, 1 Then Eliphaz the Temanite replied to Job: 2 “Will you be patient and let me say a word? For who could keep from speaking out? 3 “In the past you have encouraged many people; you have strengthened those who were weak. 4 Your words have supported those who were falling; you encouraged those with shaky knees. 5 But now when trouble strikes, you lose heart. You are terrified when it touches you. 6 Doesn’t your reverence for God give you confidence? Doesn’t your life of integrity give you hope? 7 “Stop and think! Do the innocent die?
When have the upright been destroyed?”
Eliphaz – was the oldest and mildest of Job’s accusers. He is given prominence as his speeches are considerably longer than the two other friends. In this first cycle he argues that there is no human being that is perfectly righteous before God.
The three friends are concerned that Job not be offended by their words, yet they feel compelled to speak. It is presumptuous to assume that the one facing great trouble has brought it on himself (John 9:2.).
Eliphaz acknowledges Job’s righteousness and compassion particularly on those who were “feeble” and “falling” as he was now himself.
Job’s past reactions to the calamities of others has now seemed to go by the wayside as he himself faces trouble by cursing the day of his birth and wishing for death rather than, as the wise, treasuring long life.
Our fear of God is our confidence, hope, and uprightness. Eliphaz approaches Job by asking indirect rhetorical questions which draw him into reflection but also expose the problem Eliphaz perceives. If Job fears, trusts, and hopes in God then he has no reason to fear, for God will not destroy an innocent person. Whoever perished, being innocent? – This is Eliphaz’s main argument by which he affirms the doctrine of retribution: that God distributes life and blessing to the righteous, and death and calamity to the wicked (Psalm 1).
The cycles of talk between Job and his friends begin in Job 4:1–5:27. The first cycle in Job 4–14 forms a complete pattern of Job responding to each of the three friends. The next two cycles are not so complete, indicating a progressive breakdown of ideas and arguments.
Eliphaz (Job 4:1), the first of Job’s three friends to speak, argued on the basis of personal experience (Job 4:8) and his mystical vision (Job 4:12-21) that calamity was the lot of sinners, not saints. His thesis, and that of his colleagues, was that suffering was always an immediate result of sin. However, though sin certainly brings trouble, not all trouble results from sin (cf. John 9:1-3). The truth that those who sow evil also reap it (Job 4:8) is reflected in Proverbs 22:8.
It is amazing how the advice we have shared to bring others peace is often neglected in our own lives. Yet God’s purpose for our lives always begins with our willingness to believe and apply what we preach to others. If there is hypocrisy in our Christian practice of discipleship, it may well lie in the area of personal peace.
The continuing proliferation of denominations is evidence that peace is not easy to attain. Christians have been known to resort to “holy wars” over the minutest nuances of Scriptural interpretation. Families have become divided over doctrinal quarrels. Surely, it is important to fight for those cardinal, important, cores, basic, fundamental doctrines that define us, but what about those highly individual viewpoints that isolate Christians into camps over less significant doctrinal differences? Should we abandon our peace over every divergence, discrepancy, or disagreement? No! God will help us through His Holy Spirit who will always lead and guide us. Amen!
Paul’s Thanksgiving and Prayer
In Philippians 1:3-6 NLT says, “3 Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God. 4 Whenever I pray, I make my requests for all of you with joy, 5 for you have been my partners in spreading the Good News about Christ from the time you first heard it until now. 6 And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue His work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.”
In these passages or Scriptures describe that every time Paul thought about the Philippians, he gave thanks to God for them. The Philippian church had brought Paul much joy and little pain. Some of the churches had developed severe problems, and Paul’s letters had focused on dealing with the problems. Paul’s letter to the Philippians, while mentioning some concerns and giving some advice, could be considered a beautiful thank-you note for their unwavering support.
Paul probably visited Philippi on three separate occasions: (1) on the second missionary journey, when the Gospel was planted (Acts 16:12); (2) on his journey from Ephesus through Macedonia on his way to Greece, where he stayed for three months; and (3) on his way back to Jerusalem (Acts 20:6). While the length of time of each stay is uncertain, his time with the Philippians had cemented a strong relationship.
The words, I always pray for you, are in the present tense, meaning that Paul was praying for them continually. Paul planted churches and then kept those churches in prayer as he continued in his ministry. When Paul prayed for the Philippians, he thanked God for them, and he prayed with a heart full of joy. This is the first of many times that Paul used the word “joy” in this letter. Coming from an itinerant preacher imprisoned for his faith, joy would be the last attitude one would expect. Paul had joy despite his imprisonment and the uncertain decision on his case. True joy rises above the rolling waves of circumstance; true joy keeps us on an even keel no matter how happy or sad we might feel. One reason for Paul’s joy was that the Philippians had been his partners in spreading the Good News through their generous contribution to Paul’s ministry.
In Verse 6 describes the verb tense indicates that Paul had been sure from the first, and he was still sure to that very day, of God’s continued work to transform the lives of the Philippian believers. The good work refers to God’s salvation and continued perfecting of the believers. God who began a good work of redemption will continue His work until it is finally finished when believers meet our Lord Jesus Christ face to face when He comes back again. Paul was describing the process of Christian growth and maturity that begins when people accept our Lord Jesus Christ. Nothing in this life or after death can stop God’s good work in us (Romans 8:28-39). Despite any persecution the church in Philippi might face, Paul was confident that God would continue His good work in them.
Peace is always as near as our confidence in the promise in Philippians 1:6. He who started a good work in us will not walk off and leave the job half finished. He will perform His work right up until the time our Lord Jesus Christ comes again.
Our relationship with our Lord Jesus Christ stimulates our confidence in God’s finishing work in us. God spent the blood of His Son to purchase our salvation, and He is committed to our continuing maturity. He longs to see in every new Born-Again Christian the same thing every good mother wants to see in her babies: growth. Amen!
Paul’s Appeal for Onesimus
In Philemon 17-21 NLT says, “17 So if you consider me your partner, welcome him as you would welcome me. 18 If he has wronged you in any way or owes you anything, charge it to me. 19 I, Paul, write this with my own hand: I will repay it. And I won’t mention that you owe me your very soul! 20 Yes, my brother, please do me this favor for the Lord’s sake. Give me this encouragement in Christ. 21 I am confident as I write this letter that you will do what I ask and even more!”
In these passages or Scriptures, Paul stated his request: give him the same welcome you would give me. Like the father of the prodigal son in our Lord Jesus Christ’s parable (Luke 15:11-32), Philemon should open his arms to welcome Onesimus back to his household and, as a new believer, to the church. God had welcomed Onesimus; so, should Philemon. The word partner is “koinonon” from the word koinonia, translated as generosity. Philemon and Paul shared the koinonia described in Verse 6. Paul wanted Philemon’s attitude toward Onesimus to be based on his attitude toward Paul.
Onesimus may have confessed some such act to Paul. The only way Onesimus could have financed his flight was to have stolen from his master money or possessions that he could sell. Even if not, he still would be in debt for the work that had not been performed in his absence. This would cause Onesimus to be extremely afraid to return to his master. It was bad enough that he had run away, but if he had also stolen money or possessions or had harmed his master in any other way, he would be in deep trouble. Thus, Paul’s letter served as a buffer – giving Onesimus courage to return and giving Philemon the entire picture so that he might deal kindly with his slave.
Any money or possessions that Onesimus had taken certainly were long gone. Onesimus had no means to repay. Paul asked that any money stolen be charged to his own account; in other words, Onesimus no longer would owe Philemon anything, but Paul would. Paul was not suggesting to Philemon that he simply forgive Onesimus’s debt; the wrong needed to be righted. Instead, Paul took on that debt on Onesimus’s behalf. Onesimus would never know whether the debt was actually demanded and repaid. All he knew was that a debt needed to be paid because of his wrong actions – but that someone else was going to pay it for him. Onesimus got a dose of true Christian love through Paul’s action.
Often, Paul would use a secretary to write his letters as he dictated them (see Romans 16:22). But sometimes at the end of the letters, he would take the pen and write a few words in his own handwriting to authenticate the letters (see, for example, Galatians 6:11; Colossians 4:18). For Paul to write the words I will repay it emphasized that he was placing himself under legal obligation to do so. Paul was not “just saying” this to placate Philemon; he meant to do so by putting it in writing. If Philemon had demanded repayment, Paul would have had to do it. But it seems that Paul knew his friend well enough to know that he would not demand repayment. While Paul told Philemon to put Onesimus’s charge on Paul’s “page” in the accounting book, Paul also reminded Philemon that he (Paul) had a huge credit already, in that Philemon owed his very soul (his conversion and eternal security) to Paul. Once Onesimus’s debt was put on Paul’s page, it would be canceled. As Philemon’s spiritual father, Paul was hoping that Philemon would feel a debt of gratitude that would cause him to accept Onesimus with a spirit of forgiveness.
In the matters of ledgers and debts, once Onesimus’s debt was repaid, Paul would still have a credit, for who can ever repay someone for bringing him or her to eternal life? Thus, Paul asked that the balance be paid in kindness to Onesimus as a favor to Paul. Onesimus had been useful to Paul (1:11); Paul hoped that Philemon would find the same. And as Philemon had refreshed the hearts of the saints (1:7), he could hardly do other than refresh Paul’s heart as well.
Paul was not only confident that Philemon would welcome Onesimus back, but that Philemon would also do even more than Paul asked. This may have been a hint that Philemon would willingly free Onesimus so that he could return to Paul or be freed when Paul got to Colosse. We can be sure that Philemon welcomed Onesimus, but the “even more” is left unknown.
We do not know the outcome of this story, but even as we read this letter, the shortest of all Paul’s letters, we feel Paul’s confidence that Philemon will indeed forgive and reinstate Onesimus.
Our service to others is to preach peace to those who have the power to create it. It is a good thing to desire to live up to the expectations of other believers. Others count on us. They believe in us. We see God’s expectations a little at a time, but we do know what others expect of us. And in our good example to them, we will have gone a long way toward pleasing God.
Let’s place this longing to fulfill the positive expectations of others in the center of our own lives. The good things they expect of us can be accomplished > when we are living peacefully and as a good example before others, then we will find it easier to minister to others, for it is hard to serve when our own lives are in turmoil. The way to a life of joyous service is to surrender the turmoil, embrace the peace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and move confidently into the ministry to which God has called us. Amen!
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Sennacherib Threatens Jerusalem
In Isaiah 36:4-6 NLT says, “4 Then the Assyrian king’s chief of staff told them to give this message to Hezekiah: “This is what the great king of Assyria says: What are you trusting in that makes you so confident? 5 Do you think that mere words can substitute for military skill and strength? Who are you counting on, that you have rebelled against me? 6 On Egypt? If you lean on Egypt, it will be like a reed that splinters beneath your weight and pierces your hand. Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, is completely unreliable!”
In 2 Kings 18:17. Second Kings 18:14-16 reports on Hezekiah’s sending an emissary to the Judean city of Lachish which was under Sennacherib’s siege, admitting that he had been wrong to rebel against Assyria. Further, this passage states that Hezekiah sought to assuage the anger of Sennacherib by sending him three hundred talents of silver and thirty talents of gold. None of this is found in Isaiah.
King Sennacherib’s field commander – an Assyrian pagan – sends a message to Hezekiah, king of Judah, reminding him that he has falsely put his trust in military alliances when he should have put his trust in God. While King Hezekiah is still remembered as one of the best kings of Judah, this taunt from his godless enemy should have been a prompt for him to renew his trust in the true God of Israel. God is able to use pagans as well as fellow believers to remind us of the source of true peace.
Real peace is never political. It is an interior state of confidence that is derived from our love for God. Such indwelling peace is the basis of our personal worship.
Peacelessness often erupts in anger. If this is true in our lives, let’s claim our confidence in grace and let peace guide us into better worship. When we embrace the peace that God has to offer, our outlook on life is changed. We rely on God for our confidence and find ourselves free to worship Him. Let the events of our lives today remind us of our reliance on God. Amen!
Prayer is the key that unlocks and reveals faith. Effective prayer needs both an attitude of complete dependence and the action of asking. Prayer demonstrates complete reliance on God. Thus, there is no substitute for prayer, especially in situations that seem impossible.
So, let our hearts and minds in tune with God, in the power of God, the Holy Spirit. Let’s continuously and persistently pray for God’s perfect will be done. We as Born-Again Christians have been tried and cleansed, we have moved freely into a relationship with our Lord Jesus Christ that is more powerful than it was before our trials. We are at home in the presence and fellowship of God, for we are heirs with our Lord Jesus Christ, more like Him that we could ever have dreamed possible. So, let’s continuously and persistently pray for God’s perfect will be done. Amen!
The principle is that no one has anything of value to bring to God in order to deserve salvation, mercy, justification, or even a second glance from God. The proud will be humbled, but the humble will be honored. Acceptance before God cannot be achieved by good deeds, piety, or any amount of self-proclaimed righteousness.
Let’s never get over the effect of God’s saving transformation on people’s lives. People who were lost in sin, filled with anger and bitterness, give up their hatred and become approachable as we have studied and learned last time. That is, of course, why we minister to others. Those of us who minister are not people to whom (fruit of the Holy Spirit) love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control comes naturally. We are people who have been remodeled by grace. We thankfully leave our old natures far behind as we embrace joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control, the agape love of God, and in our treatment of others. Amen!
Sunday by Sunday as we come to worship, let me encourage our brothers- and sisters-in-Christ, and I want my readers and listeners to be both strong in the faith and sensitive to others’ needs. Because all, we as Born-Again Christian believers are strong in certain areas and weak in others, we constantly need to monitor the effects of our behavior on others.
In these PEACE Series of Podcast, we learned the following PURPOSES of this fruit of the HOLY SPIRIT:
- To have a truce with God to end our alienation from Him
- To know that our Lord Jesus Christ is the Prince of Peace
- To know and understand that in His presence we can have the evidence of confidence
- Learn to understand and accept the higher will of God
- Learn to spend time alone with the companionship of Christ
- To know and understand the reign of the Holy Spirit
On every Podcast, I always have three (3) questions we can answer from only these two (2) Sources: The Bible and Guidance of the Holy Spirit. The following are:
First is about our > Observation: What do these passages or Scriptures say to you?
Second is about our own > Interpretation: What do these passages or Scriptures mean to you?
Third is about how we can apply > Application: How do the meaning of these passages or Scriptures apply to you or to your situation?
If you are not sure that you are Born-Again Christian believer or you have relatives, loved ones, friends, neighbors, and people in your circle of influence, please take a look and/or guide them to one of our ministries, “An Invitation To Meet Our Lord Jesus Christ” at https://homefellowshipchurches.org/an-invitation-to-meet-our-lord-jesus-christ/
Let’s give an opportunity for the lost souls to experience on being Born-Again Christian as explained by our Lord Jesus Christ in the book of John 3:13 in the New Testament of the Bible.
It is as simple as A, B, & C > Admit, Believe, & Confess. All Born-Again Christian believers prayed this simple prayer we called “Sinner’s Prayer”
“Father God, I come to in the name of Jesus Christ. I acknowledge and admit that I am a sinner and I need a Savior. I believe and have faith in Jesus Christ who was born of Virgin Mary, died on the Cross for the penalty and removal of my sins, and rose again that I may have the eternal life. I confess and declare Jesus Christ as my personal Savior and Lord of my life. Comfort, guide, and help me Holy Spirit to live and grow in my spiritual life according to Your Words, purpose, and perfect will of God, in my Lord Jesus Christ name, Amen!”
If you prayed this, “Sinner’s Prayer” sincerely in your heart, you are Born-Again Christian believer.
If you are not sure that you are Born-Again Christian believer and/or knows someone (relatives, loved ones, friends, neighbors, or in your circle of influence), please take a look of one of our ministries, “An Invitation To Meet Our Lord Jesus Christ” at https://homefellowshipchurches.org/an-invitation-to-meet-our-lord-jesus-christ/
Now, let me pray for all of you:
Father God, we come into your presence in our Lord Jesus Christ name, and in the power of the Holy Spirit. Thank you Lord Jesus Christ for Your agape love and forgiveness you have done on the Cross of Calvary, and continue to intercede for us in prayer. Thank you Holy Spirit as our Helper and Comforter. Thank you for the wisdom, knowledge, understanding, courage and strength. We cling, yield, plug-in and tune-in to you Holy Spirit to help us understand God’s Words, obey them, receive Your divine revelation, know the Truth that sets us free, and apply them in our lives, in our Lord Jesus Christ name, Amen!”
Let’s praise and worship God in Spirit and in Truth. Give all thanks to God for all answered prayers.
Please send your > Praise Reports (answered prayers) and New Prayer Requests via email to: TrinityBlessings@homefellowshipchurches.org. God bless you all and our families!
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A Call to Repentance and Be Blessed
In Malachi 3:7-15 AMPC says, “7 Ever since the days of your ancestors, you have scorned my decrees and failed to obey them. Now return to me, and I will return to you,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. “But you ask, ‘How can we return when we have never gone away?’ 8 “Should people cheat God? Yet you have cheated me! “But you ask, ‘What do you mean? When did we ever cheat you?’ “You have cheated me of the tithes and offerings due to me. 9 You are under a curse, for your whole nation has been cheating me. 10 Bring all the tithes (the whole tenth of your income) into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house, and prove Me now by it”, says the Lord of hosts, “if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.” [Malachi 2:2.] 11 “And I will rebuke the devourer (insects and plagues) for your sakes and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground, neither shall your vine drop its fruits before the time in the field,” says the Lord of hosts. 12 “And all nations shall call you happy and blessed, for you shall be a land of delight”, says the Lord of hosts.
If the people would obey God, giving as they should, God would flood His people with blessings. There would be an overabundance of God’s blessing if He was given what He requested.
Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse – See 2 Chronicles 31:11; cf. 1 Chronicles 26:20; Nehemiah 10:38; 13:5, 12. If the temple storehouses were empty, it was the people’s fault. God had already blessed them with enough to give a little back to Him.
Instead of destroying our crops (blessings), God would make them come in greater abundance than we had ever imagined possible (Amos 4:9; Haggai 2:19; Zechariah 8:12). The devourer – probably referring to locusts, though the word here is general in meaning (Baldwin). In the Near East, locust swarms are known for their ability to damage huge tracts of agricultural land (see note on Joel 1:4).
A delightsome land – All of the blessings promised to Jacob would come to pass if the people would obey God (Deuteronomy 33:29; Zechariah 8:13). Their land would be a delight to all who saw it (Daniel 8:9).
The problem in Malachi 3:7-12 was the people’s departure from God as reflected by their neglect of tithes and offerings. Two annual tithes were required according to Israelite law – one for the Levites (Leviticus 27:30; Numbers 18:21), and one to be used in worship at the annual feasts in Jerusalem (Deuteronomy 14:22). A tithe was required every three years to provide for the needs of the poor (Deuteronomy 14:28-29). There is debate as to whether this tithe for the poor was in addition to or served as a substitute for the tithe used in worship.
The New Testament pattern for tithing is proportionate giving – a person is to give “in relation to what you have earned” (1 Corinthians 16:2). Certainly a tithe should be given proportionate to one’s wealth, but not all proportionate giving is a tithe.
The anticipation of blessing for obedience to God’s command to tithe was based on the Mosaic covenant, which promised blessings for obedience and curses for disobedience (Malachi 3:10; cf. Deuteronomy 28:15-68). Generally, God will meet the needs of His own people (Psalm 34:9-10; Philippians 4:19), but that is not an unconditional guarantee. There certainly were and are exceptions. Yet, where God chooses not to provide physically, He gives sufficient grace to go without (2 Corinthians 12:9).
The problem in Malachi 3:14-15 was that the people were guilty of arrogant words against God. They were saying, “There is no prophet who is serving God,” and “God is not concerned about justice.” God responded by showing that He did distinguish between the wicked and the righteous. The righteous would be blessed, and the wicked would be judged.
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