Passing the Test
Today's Scripture is a very familiar passage, but I want you to notice how it's worded. It doesn't say, "Where your heart is, there your treasure will be also" (even though many people quote and apply it that way). It says that your heart follows your treasure. That is why tithing represents a test for every Christian. When translated from the Bible, tithe literally means "tenth" or "a tenth part."
Do you know what the number 10 represents all through the Bible? Testing. Let me give you a few examples. How many plagues were there in Egypt? In other words, how many times did God test Pharaoh's heart? The answer is 10. How many commandments are there? Or another way to say it is, in how many ways is our obedience tested? The answer is 10. How many times did God test Israel while they were wandering in the wilderness? And how many times did God test Jacob's heart (by allowing his wages to be changed) when he was working for Laban? Or how many days was Daniel tested in the first chapter of the book of Daniel? In each case, the answer is, of course, 10.
The pattern continues in the New Testament. In Matthew 25, 10 virgins had their preparedness tested.Ten days of testing are mentioned in Revelation 2:10. We can see from these examples in the Word (and many more like them) that 10 is associated with testing. And the tithe represents the ultimate "heart test" for the believer.
The test is how we handle our money. The outcome of that test determines whether He can trust us with true riches or not. That's why, for us as Christians, money is more than just a means for buying things. Jesus spent 30 percent of His time teaching on money for a reason. As today's verse shows us, God knows where our heart is by where our treasure is. If you say, "My heart is in the kingdom of God," your bank account will either validate or refute that claim.
And what's interesting about this test is that it's the only area in which God has invited us to test Him: 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 you will not have room enough for it (Malachi 3:10, NIV, emphasis added).
The truth of this passage seems so simple to me. If I tithe, I'm blessed; if I don't, I'm cursed. Hmmm, that's a tough decision. Let me think about that. Tithe—I'm blessed. Don't tithe—I'm cursed. Blessings? Or curses? For me, this one really isn't that hard to figure out.
Still unsure about this tithing business? Then take God up on the offer He makes in Malachi 3:10. Test Him on it! God is essentially saying, "Test Me in this, I dare you, I double-dog dare you!" (Excuse my East Texas paraphrasing.) But clearly, God is saying, "Test Me." That's why I want to extend a friendly challenge to you. Do the test! Begin to honor the Lord diligently with your firstfruits —the tithe— and see what happens.
Lord, I place my treasure, and therefore my heart, with You. I want You to be first in my life. I pray that You would bless my finances as I set apart Your tithe. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
FOR FURTHER STUDY
- Exodus 7–11; Exodus 20:1-17; Luke 16:11; Song of Solomon 1:6
Taken from The Blessed Life, a Gateway devotion.
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