What does John the Baptist have to do with Malachi? … and what do either of them have to do with blessings and curses? Let’s take a look…
In Malachi 3:7, God tells the people that if they return to Him, He’ll return to them. Over time, they’d neglected God, they’d robbed God with their tithes and offerings, they’d divorced their wives, and they’d become morally indifferent. (Any of that sound familiar?) It was time for them to put God first. It was time to come back to their first love.
Since returning to God is returning to first, it’s important that we understand the principle of the firstborn.
According to Old Testament Law, the firstborn was to be either sacrificed or redeemed (Exodus 13:1-2). Whenever your livestock delivered a firstborn, you were to sacrifice it… or, if it was designated unclean, you had to redeem it by sacrificing a clean, spotless lamb. Basically, the clean firstborn had to be sacrificed and the unclean firstborn had to be redeemed.
Keep that in mind as you read John 1:29. John the Baptist saw Jesus and announced: “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” With that, John perfectly defined the role Jesus had come to fulfill…
Jesus was God’s firstborn; He was clean, unblemished, and perfect in every way.
Meanwhile, every single one of us was born unclean, needing redemption.
Jesus was God’s firstfruits offering (Proverbs 3:9-10). The first portion is the redemptive portion; when the first portion is given to God, the rest is redeemed. Therefore, Jesus was the ultimate offering, sacrificed to redeem you and me.
Our tithe is our firstfruits offering – it’s the first portion that we give to the Lord. And our tithe, our first portion, is either consecrated or cursed; there’s no third option. It’s consecrated (set apart) when we give it to the Lord. However, if we keep it for ourselves, it’s stolen and becomes cursed.
The tithe doesn’t belong to us… the first always belongs to God.
“Bring the full tithe in the storehouse… put me to the test… if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need” (Malachi 3:10).
Do you see that? God promises us “a blessing until there is no more need”!! … after we bring the full tithe in the storehouse. Yep – we have a responsibility here and it’s to act in obedience before the blessing comes.
It’s not rocket science. Obedience. Before. Blessing.
What if you believed God’s promise of blessing? What if you believed God can bless you way better than you can bless you?
All of us love givers… but how many of us are ready to love being a giver?