Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it. Malachi 3:10
I regularly see Christians pull this verse out as proof that we should still be tithing today. Many take it a step further to claim that God will abundantly pour out physical and financial blessings for being faithful. But does Malachi 3:10 apply to Christians?
In this blog post, we are going to dive into the meaning of Malachi 3:10 and look at whether it still applies to the church today.
The Context of Malachi 3:10
To better understand the Malachi 3:10 meaning let’s take a look at the context in which this verse was written.
Malachi is the final book of the Old Testament. In it we see Malachi, a prophet, address the Israelites who had returned from Babylonian captivity. His purpose was to encourage them to pursue holiness and repent of their sins.
As the book draws to a close we see God’s heart is that his people would be redeemed. Malachi also points to the coming Messiah and the hope he will bring. But in the meantime, Israel must stop “robbing” the Lord by withholding tithes. The call is to be faithful to God in the waiting.
In the surrounding verses of Malachi 3:10, we see encouragement to return to God and he will return to them (Malachi 3:7). This is followed by a challenge to stop robbing God (Malachi 3:8). The nation is neglecting their tithes and offerings, and it’s revealed that they are struggling due to their lack of obedience in this area.
We can tell from the context that these words are directed at Israel at this specific time. God is promising them provision if they practice obedience. Let’s take a closer look at Malachi 3:10 and see what it means.
The Meaning Of Malachi 3:10
Now that we know the context, let’s take a closer look at the verse. We are going to break this verse into three sections so that we can better understand the meaning of Malachi 3:10.
Bring The Whole Tithe Into The Storehouse
God’s promise to bless Israel was tied to their obedience; they were to bring the full amount of tithes that the law required. In other words, a partial tithe didn’t count.
God has judged the Israelites for the small harvest they have produced. They must bring the full tithe to the storehouse. The storehouse was the place to store grain in the temple. But this isn’t just a sacrifice, there’s a promise attached to this.
Test Me In This And See If I Will Not Throw Open The Floodgates Of Heaven
The Lord invites the Israelites to “test” him. If they give their full tithe an abundance of blessing is promised.
This refers back to Deuteronomy 28. In this chapter, we see a series of blessings given for their obedience and curses given for disobedience. This was how the Old Covenant worked; if the nation of Israel was faithful God would abundantly bless them. The problem was they could almost never live up to their end of the bargain.
Pour Out So Much Blessing That There Will Not Be Room Enough To Store It
This verse ends with an even greater promise of blessing. Not only will God bless the Israelites, but he will bless them so greatly that they will not have enough room to store it all.
This verse and the rest of the Old Testament are clear: the Israelites were to faithfully give their full tithe, which was much higher than 10%. And if they did that they would be greatly blessed.
Does Malachi 3:10 Apply To Christians?
In context, we see that this verse’s instructions and blessings are tied to the nation of Israel, not the church today. The meaning of Malachi 3:10 was the promise of blessing for the Israelites’ faithfulness under the Old Covenant. Today, Christians live under the New Covenant, and our blessing is not longer tied to our obedience rather it’s tied to Jesus.
Many take this verse and use it to urge Christians to tithe to their church. They promise an abundant blessing if they simply give. The problem is this verse isn’t a promise to the church. This verse does not guarantee that God will materially bless those who give today. This verse describes the covenant relationship that God had with Israel.
Now, I’m not saying that Christians shouldn’t give or that God doesn’t bless the church today. The point is under the New Covenant; there is never a specific amount we are commanded to give. Nor are we promised financial prosperity. Instead, throughout the New Testament Christians are told to be generous because God has been generous with us.
Dr. Tom Constable sums it up this way: “The New Covenant under which Christians live never specified the amount or percentage that we should give back to God of what He has given to us. Rather it teaches that we should give regularly, sacrificially, as the Lord has prospered us, and joyfully (1 Corinthians 16:1-2; 2 Corinthians 8-9; Philippians 4). In harmony with the principle of grace that marks the present dispensation, the Lord leaves the amount we give back to Him unspecified and up to us. Christians who sit under a steady diet of preaching that majors on God’s grace often give far more than 10 percent.”
To apply Malachi 3:10 to the church today would be to ignore the context and Jesus’ fulfillment of the law. The command and the promise in this verse are addressed to Israel. Today, we are called to be generous, support the needs of others, and expand God’s kingdom. No specific amount is ever commanded, and each of us should prayerfully search our heart to determine what to give.
Want to learn more about tithing in the New Testament? Check out: Tithing In The New Testament (what the Bible REALLY says)
- What Is The Meaning Of John 4:24? (worship in the spirit) - February 19, 2024
- The Powerful Meaning Of 2 Timothy 2:15 (show yourself approved) - February 15, 2024
- The Truth About ‘Judge Not’ (judge not lest ye be udged) - February 9, 2024