I dare you! What is it about those three words? Often they can spur us to try things we would otherwise not have the courage to do.
God gives us a similar charge in Malachi 3:10. He dares us to prove for ourselves that His law works. What’s more, He is daring us to see if keeping that law will bring the blessings He has promised.
By taking Him up on this challenge, we will prove that God is real, that His laws are real, and that magnificent blessings come from living by these laws. Accept this challenge, and you will prove this all for yourself.
Let’s read this dare, starting in Malachi 3:8-9: “Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings. Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation.”
Some who once had a relationship with God are now cheating Him “in tithes and offerings” and reaping terrible curses.
Notice God’s next statement: “Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.”
Did you catch that? The all-powerful God could say, Do it because I said so. Instead He says: Here’s the law, here are the stupendous blessings that come from obeying it, and I want you to prove that this is true.
God actually says: “Prove me now!” But how? By tithing!
He says, See if I won’t open the windows of heaven and shower you with blessings!
The best time in your life to prove that God’s way brings blessings is in your youth. Tithing is one of the clearest, easiest ways to learn this lesson.
Though there are curses for robbing Him (verses 8-9), God is really stressing the positive. He says: “Prove me.” Yet there is a wrong way to “prove” God. And the Bible condemns ancient Israel for it: testing or tempting God. The attitude was: If I disobey here, what is God going to do about it?
God challenges us to do it the right way. “Prove me now,” He says. Do not wait. Now is the moment to start obeying God and to see it work.
The entire phrase is: “Prove me now herewith,” meaning with this—with tithing.
The great thing is that proving God in this one area will not only “open the windows of heaven” with overwhelming blessings, but it will open our minds to see how God’s way works in every law. Tithing teaches us so much.
Other Verses Promising Blessings
Again, God could say, Do it because I said so, but He doesn’t. It’s a lot like the Fifth Commandment, where God tells young people to honor their parents “that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee” (Exodus 20:12). This is why this is called the “first commandment with promise” (Ephesians 6:2)—because God states the promise with the commandment.
God also promises specific blessings for tithing, as we saw in Malachi 3. This promise and these blessings are also mentioned in two other passages.
Jesus Christ repeated this challenge to prove the blessings of tithing. “Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again” (Luke 6:38).
This principle applies to God’s challenge. Give, and it will be given to you in “good measure.” As He said in Malachi 3, He will bless you so extensively that you won’t have room to receive it all. You will have to get creative to manage all your blessings!
God’s tithing promise is also mentioned in the book of Proverbs: “It shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones. Honour the Lord with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase: So shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine” (Proverbs 3:8-10).
The word “law” doesn’t just mean it’s a rule; it means that it always works a certain way—just like the law of gravity works every time. The blessing that come from tithing are automatic—and you will have plenty!
Did you know God is also bound by His tithing law? If you obey the law, God has bound Himself to bless you. We are bound to give God 10 percent, and He is bound to bless us!
Through the physical act of tithing, we learn a spiritual mind-set of putting God first. Proverbs 3:9 said we tithe on the “firstfruits” of our increase. We give God the best we have, and He gives us His best!
We have to honor God with our substance. We don’t just tithe because we have to. God will not bless someone who tithes with a wrong attitude, only seeking to get for themselves.
“But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:6-7).
God wants cheerful obedience. The Greek word that the Apostl
e Paul was inspired to write was hilaros, where we get our word hilarious. God wants you to be a “hilarious” giver—someone so happy and boisterous about giving to Him. And when we know the blessings that come from it, how can we not be bursting with joy?
Let’s notice some of those automatic blessings that tithing brings.
Blessings Are Automatic—Regardless of Age
“John D. Rockefeller, it is said, accepted the Lord’s challenge to prosper the tither at 8 years of age, when he began tithing,” Herbert W. Armstrong wrote. “Has he prospered? Mr. Colgate, the great soap manufacturer, left home when a very small boy. He met an old sea captain who was a Christian. He asked the boy what he could do, and the boy replied he knew only how to make soap and candles. ‘Give your heart to God,’ advised the old sea captain, ‘and tithe your income. Some day there is going to be a man at the head of the great soap industries in New York, and there is no reason why you should not be that man.’ The boy took the advice, got a job, earned a dollar and gave a dime to the Lord’s cause. He earned two dollars and gave 20 cents. Soon he got a job in a soap factory and he continued to tithe and to prosper. He rose from common laborer to foreman. Later to manager, and then to president of the company, and finally he owned the entire establishment” (Plain Truth, August 1934).
These two people started tithing even before their teen years. This proves that God’s laws work—that one does not have to be baptized or even have contact with God’s true Church for the blessings that come from keeping God’s law to take effect.
Tithing is a law like gravity. If you step off a ledge, a cliff or a building, gravity will pull you in the same direction every time—whether you’re 8 or 80 years old, whether you’re in God’s Church or not, and even whether you know about the law of gravity or not! Tithe, and the outcome is certain.
In the same article, Mr. Armstrong wrote: “I know another man who drills wells. But through the Depression there have not been many wells to drill, and few of those were able to pay. Last winter he began to tithe and give offerings, and thus the Lord became a partner in his business. That same week a customer paid a bill he never expected to collect. In a few days a new well-drilling job came to him, and he has been busy most of the time since and collections have improved marvelously. When God gets His portion of all your income, God becomes your partner, sharing in your profits. He causes His partners to prosper, and if you are in debt take God into partnership first, and watch Him prosper you until finally you are out of debt. Remember the debt you owe God comes first.”
On Top of the Blessings: What Tithing Teaches
We’ve already seen that the blessings for obedience to any of God’s laws are automatic. God doesn’t have to make a blessing happen. Again, that’s why it’s called a law.
It is a law because doing it this way results in a certain outcome and doing it another way creates a different outcome.
But with tithing, God promises not just the “automatic” blessings, but that He’ll add to the blessings.
You’re going to be naturally blessed from tithing—just as Mr. Rockefeller and Mr. Colgate were. But God can see your attitude and choose to bless you even more!
God does that with other aspects of His law too. Put Him to the test!
Tithing will teach you these seven overarching principles about God’s way:
1. Tithing teaches us to put God first—the most important thing in our lives.
This is a practical, material way to practice the first and great commandment!
During your teenage years—without God’s Holy Spirit dwelling in you, even without a spiritual mind—you can go through the act of putting God first in your finances, and you’ll begin taking on a more spiritual mind as a consequence—one that prioritizes the right way.
Matthew 6:33 states, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”
So even this scripture has the same “promise” of physical blessings associated with the command. Not just “seek God first, period!,” but “seek first … and all these things” will happen.
2. Tithing teaches us financial discipline.
Keep in mind: Even though you give God His 10 percent, if you mishandle your part, the extent to which you prosper will also be very limited. But tithing changes our perspectives on how money operates. We see to whom it all belongs, and start structuring our finances around that principle.
3. Tithing teaches us that God’s laws are for our good.
Think about how this law in particular solves problems and bringsprosperity. How could that be bad for you? Think about how this law can help you begin to understand God’s way—how His mind and law work. When you forge a relationship with Him, He truly becomes your partner.
4. Tithing teaches us that blessings come from giving and sacrificing.
Teens are bombarded with covetous images—the message that “blessings” come from taking and getting. Our commercialistic, materialistic world teaches that you are unhappy unless you have something. You’re unhappy unless you get the gadget, the name-brand shoes or the designer bag. God’s way is: give to me, and I’ll make sure you have more than you can handle!
Acts 20:35 tells us, “… It is more blessed to give than to receive.” Tithing teaches this. That goes beyond tithing: Start practicing the give way, and watch the effects of that way of life.
5. Tithing teaches us the automatic “cause and effect” element of God’s law.
It doesn’t matter who you are, and it applies to all of God’s laws. If a baptized member of the Church breaks a law, and a teen keeps that same law, the member will reap the sour fruits of those actions, and the teen will reap happiness! It is that simple.
6. Tithing teaches us how God compounds and adds to the automatic blessings that come from obedience.
We see this principle in the three main verses that contain the tithing promises:
Malachi 3:10: “[O]pen you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.”
Luke 6:38: “[I]t shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over ….”
Proverbs 3:10: “So shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine.”
7. Tithing teaches us to claim God’s promises through obedience—to prove Him.
We saw this in Malachi 3:10: “[P]rove me now herewith,” God says.
Prepare for the Blessings
Don’t get the idea that God will bring some immediate, astounding fortune your way every time you tithe or try tithing in the hopes of getting a million-dollar windfall the next day. The increase might not be immediately obvious. But know this: The 90 percent that God allows you to keep for yourself will increase to more than the 100 percent you started with before tithing. God has promised it, and He keeps His promises!
Deuteronomy 28:2 says, “And all these blessings shall come on thee, and overtake thee, if thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God.” You can read through verse 14 of this chapter to see God list these blessings. The point is, they will “overtake thee”—they will overwhelm you!
God is daring us to claim the blessings that come from keeping the tithing law. Why not accept this challenge? We have literally everything to gain!
SIDEBAR: What Exactly Is Tithing?
A “tithe” means a tenth. A tenth of what we earn is “holy” to God and belongs to Him (Leviticus 27:30). In reality, all of what we make is legally God’s, as He is Creator and Owner of the universe (Psalm 24:1; Haggai 2:8). He only claims the first 10 percent of it for Himself. For example, if you make $10, though God really owns all of it, He only requires you to return $1 of it.
Can you see how generous this is? If you went into business with any other partner, you might split the profits 50-50. God only wants 10 percent.
It would be somewhat like having a friend who buys a meal for you and him and then says he only wants the first bite. Or he goes to get a drink from the fridge and then when you say you’re thirsty too, he pours a sip into his own cup and gives you the rest. Or say you have a friend who buys you a new pair of shoes on the condition that she only wants to wear them once. That would be an unusual friend, but you probably would not complain about the arrangement.
That is similar to how God is. He gives us six days out of seven and 90 percent of what we earn.
Back to that example of earning $10—$1 of that is God’s. As Leviticus 27:30 says, it “is the Lord’s: it is holy unto the Lord.”
If you have a sibling, you’re probably well aware of the idea of ownership (this is mine, this is hers, that’s his, etc.). Things that don’t belong to you aren’t yours to use or touch. This applies to God’s 10 percent.
Proverbs 3:9 shows that you tithe on the “firstfruits of all your increase,” meaning what you earn, or your profit (before taxes). If someone gives you a gift, you don’t need to tithe on that, though you can set some or all of it aside for an offering. But if you earnthe money, then that is “increase.”
There are two other tithes mentioned in Scripture. Deuteronomy 14:22-28 talk of a tithe that is not “holy” in the sense that it is God’s; it is yours, but God commands you to set it aside for your use at His festivals. We call this the second tithe. Deuteronomy 26:12 describes a third tithe that we set aside every third and sixth year (out of seven years), which is the way God funds those in poverty who need special financial help.
Tithing Just for Old Testament?
If tithing is a law as valid and inexorable as the law of gravity, it makes little sense to argue that such a law isn’t in effect any more—especially when we can prove that it still works. Is gravity still in effect today? It is ridiculous to assume otherwise.
The Bible reveals the importance and blessings of tithing in the New Testament—not just the Old. Jesus Christ told the Pharisees that tithing was still valid. We also see a reference to tithing in the book of Hebrews, written long after Jesus Christ died and was resurrected:
“To whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all; first being by interpretation King of righteousness, and after that also King of Salem, which is, King of peace” (Hebrews 7:2).
To whom was Abraham giving a tenth? Someone who was “[w]ithout father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made like unto the Son of God; abideth a priest continually” (verse 3).
Tithing is a command for those living in “New Testament” times—just as it was for those living in Old Testament times. Also, consider that the example given here is Abraham (the original account is in Genesis 14:18-20), who lived centuries before God wrote these laws down for Israel through Moses. So tithing is not just a “law of Moses.” That would be like saying the law of gravity didn’t take effect until Isaac Newton.
And just as this law was in affect before Moses, so were the blessings!
“But he whose descent is not counted from them received tithes of Abraham, and blessed him that had the promises. And without all contradiction the less is blessed of the better” (Hebrews 7:6-7). The Moffatt translates verse 7: “And there is no question that it is the inferior who is blessed by the superior.”
Abraham blessed His King—the one who became Jesus Christ—with these tithes, but who was really getting the better deal? Abraham was the one being blessed!