Have you ever thought about testing God?
A very long time ago, God was so fed up with the Israelites he called them out and issued an amazing challenge.
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 into the storehouse so there will be enough food in my Temple. If you do,” says the lord of Heaven’s Armies, “I will open the windows of heaven for you. I will pour out a blessing so great you won’t have enough room to take it in! Try it! Put me to the test!
11 Your crops will be abundant, for I will guard them from insects and disease. Your grapes will not fall from the vine before they are ripe,” says the lord of Heaven’s Armies. 12“ Then all nations will call you blessed, for your land will be such a delight,” says the lord of Heaven’s Armies.
What would it look like to live like this? Just the fact that God would say to me “why do you cheat me?” But the reality is, I have. I do. With my time. My money. My gifts. I hold back. Shore up then have the audacity to wonder why God doesn’t do more, or do such-and-such. There are a lot of ways we cheat God and here’s something you need to get a grip on – He knows!
In this story from Malachi God is upset with the Israelites because they are holding back what is really His, to begin with. God has blessed them beyond reason, yet they aren’t willing to repay his gratitude. Not sure much has changed there over the years.
Yes, God does curse the land, but he does something so loving, so God-like, that despite their cheating, he shows them his love for them never failed. God challenges them to have faith (again) in what he can do. God promises them that he will overwhelm them with so much they won’t have enough room to store it all. Again, that would be enough, but then God adds one more thing.
“Put me to the test!”
Boom. Challenge extended. Not that God should ever have to prove himself, but I do find it amazing he’s willing to say to them, “if you’re still not sure, test me, and see what I’ll do!”
I think the lessons God taught the Israelites that day still hold true for you and me.
If we cheat God, we, not him, pay the price. God will not cease being God. God will not cease loving us. But we will stop reaping the blessings he wants us to have if we hold back from giving God our all and our best.
If we allow God to be God, amazing things will happen. This isn’t a “get-rich” proposal but a guarantee that God does and will provide but only, only, when we completely trust him simply because he is God!
God is not a little god of little things. He is a BIG God who can do amazing BIG things. If you don’t believe it, put him to the test and see what happens.