What’s it all about? Genuine worship begins, continues, and ends with trusting the unchanging nature of God. The only reason Israel had not been utterly destroyed was the faithfulness of God. His faithfulness is both declared and displayed in His rebuke of the people. God graciously calls the people to repent while at the same time announcing that He is trustworthy.
So what? Our lack of faithfulness and trust in God is painfully obvious in our attitudes and actions. However, the LORD is always faithful and completely trustworthy, which is evident in His actions in past generations. When we are tempted to doubt God’s goodness and faithfulness, we should reflect on how He has both protected and provided for us. God’s challenge to us is simple and straightforward: Trust Me!
1. How do God’s covenantal faithfulness and immutability affect the way you live and worship?
2. In what specific ways did God demonstrate His faithfulness to Israel (3:6-7)?
3. How does your giving (tithes, offerings, etc.) demonstrate your trust in God’s character (3:8-11)?
4. How does our use of wealth demonstrate our theological convictions (3:8-11)?
5. How does God specifically say to test His faithfulness (3:10)?
It is not about the money; it is about worship that demonstrates and declares the faithfulness of God. God doesn’t need your money or possessions. The message of Malachi is that God has chosen us to demonstrate His faithfulness to the nations (1:5, 14; 3:15). Therefore, our worship is an opportunity to display that we believe that God never changes and can always be trusted.
God’s Faithfulness on Display
“For I the LORD do not change; therefore you, O children of Jacob, are not consumed. 7 From the days of your fathers you have turned aside from my statutes and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you, says the LORD of hosts. But you say, ‘How shall we return?’ 8 Will man rob God? Yet you are robbing me. But you say, ‘How have we robbed you?’ In your tithes and contributions. 9 You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing me, the whole nation of you. 10 Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the LORD of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need. 11 I will rebuke the devourer for you, so that it will not destroy the fruits of your soil, and your vine in the field shall not fail to bear, says the LORD of hosts. 12 Then all nations will call you blessed, for you will be a land of delight, says the LORD of hosts (Malachi 3:6-12 ESV).
Individual Study Questions – Scripture: Hebrews 11:1-12:2
1. What is the basis of genuine faith (11:1-3; 12:2)?
2. How did God demonstrate His faithfulness to each of the following people? Also, how did they respond to God’s faithfulness (cf. Hebrews 11)?
A. Abel (11:4)
B. Enoch (11:5)
C. Noah (11:6-7)
D. Abraham (11:8-19)
E. Moses (11:23-28)
F. Others (11:20-22, 29-40)
3. How do these believers encourage us to trust God and live by faith in His provision and promises (12:1)?
4. How is Jesus both the founder (author) and perfector of our faith (12:2)?