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TESTING GOD

Bill Taylor
December 2016

[Bible references are in New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.]

This document is a testimony of what God has done in our lives (Esther and I) and what God has
taught us about His laws and faithfulness. God has proven these principles in our lives and they
are the principles we have learned to live by.

Orderly Universe
God created the universe as an orderly system. Genesis 1:2 says,
The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the
face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face
of the waters. All of creation is built on physical, moral, and
spiritual laws. It is easy for us to comprehend and believe in
physical laws because we deal with them continually and their
existence is proven when we try to jump off a house and are
reminded again that gravity rules our lives. Or, we see a relative
or friend who has smoked all their life and they come down with
cancer and it is proven that we cannot disregard our body without consequences. When we were
little children, we did not understand these physical laws and thought if we just ran fast enough
and flapped our arms hard enough, we might just be able to take off like a bird! As we got older,
we began to realize that, even though we often did not understand the workings of physics or why
God did not make us to fly, we just could not break those laws.
When we come into the Kingdom of God, we come by experience.
So, to us as a new Christian, the whole realm of God, His Church,
our walk with Him, and our relationship with Him is based on
experiences and feelings. This, again, is like a little child. To the
newborn, life is nothing but experiences. When he or she is hungry
they cry, when their diaper is dirty they cry, when they are tired
they cry and we run to them to fix it, just as we should, and they
experience relief. As the baby grows into a child, they must slowly
learn that the world does not revolve around them and there are
laws they cannot break. We spend many years learning that there are physical laws that govern
what we do and that when we jump off the roof we are likely to end up in the hospital. In the same
way, God wants us to grow up from being spiritual infants, depending on spiritual experiences of
joy, frustration, happiness, rejection, or ecstasy, to understand that His spiritual kingdom is ruled
just as much by the spiritual laws He has established as those in His physical kingdom. In Matthew
5:17 Jesus says, Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to
destroy but to fulfill. And, in 2 Timothy 2:5, Paul says to Timothy, And also if anyone competes
in athletics, he is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules.

Law of Focus
The first law of God we want to look at is the Law of Focus. Matthew 6:25-34 says that what we
focus on will govern our lives:
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Therefore I say to
your life, what you will
drink; nor about your
on. Is not life more than
than clothing? 26 Look at
they neither sow nor
barns; yet your heavenly
you not of more value
you by worrying can add

you, do not worry about


eat or what you will
body, what you will put
food and the body more
the birds of the air, for
reap nor gather into
Father feeds them. Are
than they? 27 Which of
one cubit to his stature?

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So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they
grow: they neither toil nor spin; 29 and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his
glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 Now if God so clothes the grass of the
field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more
clothe you, O you of little faith?
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Therefore do not worry, saying, What shall we eat? or What shall we drink?
or What shall we wear? 32 For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your
heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But seek first the kingdom
of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.
34
Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own
things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

This passage makes it clear that, if we focus on and seek first the
Kingdom of God, He will provide all we need. The problem is that
we often think we need more than we actually do. We think we need
that new 60 plasma TV and He says we can get by without it. Or,
we think we need new shoes and He says we can get by with the old
ones. For us in the United States, few really know what real needs
are. There are a few living in poverty, but most of the world sees us
living as kings and queens because their question is whether they will get a meal tomorrow or be
alive tomorrow, while we are worried about who will win the football game this week. He does
know what we need.
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Law of Giving

Scripture makes it clear that with what attitude and generosity we give, that is the way we will
receive. Proverbs 11:24-25 says, 24There is one who scatters, yet increases more; and there is
one who withholds more than is right, but it leads to poverty. 25The generous soul will be made
rich, and he who waters will also be watered himself. Scripture also says, 36 Therefore be
merciful, just as your Father also is merciful. 37 Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn
not, and you shall not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. 38 Give, and it will be
given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into
your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you, in Luke
6:36-38. So, it is all about your attitude. It is about loving others and wanting to bless and not keep
it to yourself.
There are a couple of things we need to understand here. One is that this is first a spiritual law (as
are all of Gods laws). We can give much with grumbling and a stingy heart and it will gain us
nothing. Or, we can be broke and give a little with a free and joyful, generous attitude and it will
gain us much. God always looks at the attitude of our heart before the action. It is not so much
what we do, but why we do it. In this same frame, what we reap may not be physical reward. Just
because I put $100 in the offering plate today or send $100 to the cancer society does not
necessarily mean that God is going to see that I get $1000 back next week. He knows what I need
spiritually, and it may be just the sense of peace and joy I get from blessing others or giving into
His kingdom work. On the other hand, the return may be physical or monetary. God may decide
you need that mortgage payment or college tuition.
If our focus is on the Kingdom of God, then our free and generous attitude is going to lead us to
give support to the things to which the Holy Spirit would lead us. It certainly would mean
supporting the work of your church or fellowship, but it might also mean support for other
ministries, or helping a friend or neighbor in need, or even giving to the local fire department or
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youth group. In other words, where He leads, your focus will help dictate what
you hear from Him concerning where your support should go. Secondly, we
need to think about what we are supposed to be free and generous with. We think
of giving our money, but, if we are really focusing on the Kingdom of God, He
is going to lead us to also give of our time, our effort, and our emotional support.
In fact, we sometimes think we can buy our way off by giving some money when
God is really wanting us to get involved in the work to which He has called His
Church. See my papers titled THE BODY POLITIC and GOVERNMENTAL GIFTS on that topic.

Law of Sowing/Investing
But other seed fell on good ground and yielded a crop that sprang up,
increased and produced: some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some a
hundred. (Mark 4:8) Gods principle is that whatever is sown produces
multiplicity of fruit it is true whether good things are sown or bad
things. So, if you want to receive good things, you need to sow good
things. And, if you sow good things, His promise is that it will increase.
As a farmer, you know that you cannot eat your seed grain. If you do, you will starve. Accordingly,
if you are stingy with what you have and are not willing to sow seeds of giving, then dont expect
to receive back from God. A farmer (which is the example the Bible often uses, because that was
the culture of the time) knows that when he sows his seed grain it has to die before it can bring up
new grain. First Corinthians 15:36-37 says, 36 Foolish one, what you sow is not made alive unless
it dies. 37 And what you sow, you do not sow that body that shall be, but mere grainperhaps
wheat or some other grain. Today, we know it doesnt actually die, but softens and sprouts. But,
to the farmer it is the same as dead, because, if it doesnt get enough moisture or warm temperature
it will never come up. So, the farmer is casting his dice and then must wait in hope that there will
be enough rain, warm temperatures, no insects or disease, that the birds wont steal it all, that it
wont get too hot and shrivel the new heads, and that it wont rain too much at harvest time so he
can get it threshed before it sprouts or mildews in the head. And, if all those things happen properly
(or, not happen, as the case may be), that farmer can then harvest numerous times what he planted,
save enough to plant again, and hopefully have enough to feed his family for the coming year until
the next harvest.
18 Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share, 19 storing up
for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life. (I
Timothy 6:18-19) When I was a boy on the farm, we were on rich soil and got relatively high
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amounts of rain, so, along with our fertilization, we hoped to get 50-100 bushels per acre at harvest,
if the conditions were right. However, in other portions of the state, because of differing soil and
moisture conditions, the expectations for a good crop were more in the neighborhood of 30 bushels.
It is Gods power of life that brings the increase and provides fruit. Scientists still cannot explain
or replicate the power of life in a seed that grows a head of grain that produces 60 kernels from
one, or an apple tree that produces bushels of apples every year!
So, the law is that God produces multiples of fruit from the
seed we sow. What we often do not realize, is that negative or
bitter seed also produces bitter fruit. So, if we have been
sowing meanness, bitterness, stinginess, complaining, gossip,
and retribution, we will begin receiving the same, only many
times fold. But, if we are sowing mercy, blessing, support,
finances, and love, we will begin to reap in kind and, again, it
will be multiplied.
Now, if you are a starving farmer and your children are crying with hunger, the overwhelming
temptation is to eat the seed grain, rather than plant it, let it to die to you, and wait for the harvest.
Lets look at a scriptural example of that situation in 1 Kings 17:7-16:
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And it happened after a while that the brook dried up, because there had been no
rain in the land.
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Then the word of the LORD came to him, saying, 9 Arise, go to Zarephath, which
belongs to Sidon, and dwell there. See, I have commanded a widow there to provide
for you. 10 So he arose and went to Zarephath. And when he came to the gate of
the city, indeed a widow was there gathering sticks. And he called to her and said,
Please bring me a little water in a cup, that I may drink. 11 And as she was going
to get it, he called to her and said, Please bring me a morsel of bread in your
hand.

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So she said, As the LORD your God lives, I do not have bread, only a handful of
flour in a bin, and a little oil in a jar; and see, I am gathering a couple of sticks that
I may go in and prepare it for myself and my son, that we may eat it, and die.
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And Elijah said to her, Do not fear; go and do as you have said, but make me a
small cake from it first, and bring it to me; and afterward make some for yourself
and your son. 14 For thus says the LORD God of Israel: The bin of flour shall not
be used up, nor shall the jar of oil run dry, until the day the LORD sends rain on the
earth.
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So she went away and did according to the word of Elijah; and she and he and
her household ate for many days. 16 The bin of flour was not used up, nor did the
jar of oil run dry, according to the word of the LORD which He spoke by Elijah.

This widow could have held that oil and flour for her and her son and ate it and died. But, because
she was willing to give, they were spared. There has been more
than one farm family worldwide who have eaten their seed and
died. So, what is the point? The point is that, without planting
seed, there can be no harvest and the temptation is always to
eat what we should sow. We would much rather spend our
money on our family or use our time for our personal needs
that put either into the things of the Kingdom. And, that is
especially true when we are short on funds, tired, sick, and/or
raising a
family or burdened with other issues. That is the time we most
desperately need to begin to sow seeds into the things of God if we expect blessing in return. We
so often have the process reversed. We think, If I just get more (money, time, energy), then I will
start to give. So, we end up with less and less, because we have planted nothing. I often tell people
to just start with $5 a month if they are desperate, or give an hour of their time and they will see
God begin to give back increase. Dont give away the whole loaf if your faith is small and you are
starving. Give a morsel according to the faith you can muster and let God prove Himself. We will
later get to the passages where God says this is the one place where you can test Him and, hence,
the title for this paper: TESTING GOD.

Law of Fruit

We have referred to this principle under the Law of Sowing/Investing, but good fruit only comes
from a tree with a good root, which means that a good seed must have been sown. Matthew 7:177

18 states, 17 Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good
tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Furthermore, Paul goes on to say
in Romans 11:16, For if the firstfruit is holy, the lump is also holy; and if the root is holy, so are
the branches. In other words, you cannot sow rotten or bad seed and expect good fruit. So, on the
one hand, if you plant no seed, you get no fruit, but, conversely, if you plant poor seed or the wrong
seed, how can you expect plump, firm, juicy apples? As we said earlier, planting from a stingy
heart or a bitter heart is going to yield fruit of its own kind. If we plant with a grudge, we are going
to get grudges back.
So, what happens to a tree with a bad root? Can we steward and prune and fertilize it and get
good fruit? Nope. It still grows bad or bitter fruit. In fact, it will yield bigger, badder fruit! The
only remedy is to cut the tree down and plant another one. Every tree that does not bear good
fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. (Matthew 7:19) Jesus warned those He was preaching
to of this sour attitude and the assumption that, just because they were Jews, they could get by
with it. In Luke 3:8-11, He said:
8 Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance, and do not begin to say to yourselves,
We have Abraham as our father. For I say to you that God is able to raise up
children to Abraham from these stones. 9 And even now the ax is laid to the root of
the trees. Therefore every tree which does not bear good fruit is cut down and
thrown into the fire.
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So the people asked him, saying, What shall we do then?

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He answered and said to them, He who has two tunics, let him give to him who
has none; and he who has food, let him do likewise.
Let me reiterate bad fruit only comes from bad roots and the
only remedy is to cut off the root and destroy it. In other words,
you cannot produce fruit of plenty from a root of selfishness. The
selfish root has to be dug out and destroyed and you have to sow
good seed. This can only be accomplished by the blood of Jesus
and through repentance and His forgiveness.
One last question under this section: what claims to false righteousness do we make? That we go
to church? That we live a good life? That we keep a moral household? False righteousness takes
many forms. It all depends on the attitude of our heart. Our false claims of righteousness will not
gain us any more points in the Kingdom of God than the Jews claims that Abraham was their
father. God looks at the heart, not our actions.

Law of Fullness of Time


We need to look at a couple more scriptures:
33

Hear another parable: There was a certain landowner who planted a vineyard
and set a hedge around it, dug a winepress in it and built a tower. And he leased it
to vinedressers and went into a far country. 34 Now when vintage-time drew near,
he sent his servants to the vinedressers, that they might receive its fruit. (Matthew
21:33-34)
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And let us not grow weary


season we shall reap if we
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Therefore, as we have
to all, especially to those
faith. (Galatians 6:9-10)

while doing good, for in due


do
not
lose
heart.
opportunity, let us do good
who are of the household of

Every farmer knows that he (or she) does cannot go out and harvest the grain or apples the day
after he plants. It is a waiting game! It is the same with sowing spiritual seed. God talks about the
fullness of time in many and various ways, and it is the same with sowing seeds of giving. As I
said earlier, we dont give $100 today and expect $1000 tomorrow! In fact, it sometimes takes a
prolonged time to harvest all the fruit from the seeds that have been sown. This is true of both good
and bad seed. Just because we come to the Lord or start sowing good seed does not mean we are
going to immediately stop harvesting bad fruit. God may miraculously clean up the situation, but
we may continue to deal with the consequences for years. After years of sowing poor physical
habits into our body, we may have to deal with poor health thereafter, unless there is miraculous
healing.
Just the same, starting to sow good seed by giving of your money,
time, and effort will begin the process of blessing, but it is a
process started in faith and will take time for you to begin to see
the results and harvest the fruit. Many people say, I tried that
giving once, and I just ended up with less money, so I am not doing
that again! That is the wrong approach we must have patience
and faith in waiting for the fruit to ripen in the fullness of Gods
time. Continued reaping takes continuous sowing its not a onetime, one-return occasion, but a process that must be started and
continued in order to reap. The scriptures are full of examples and analogies of God fulfilling
promise when they have come to term, the pregnancy is full-term or the fruit is ripe.
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Law of Multiplied Return


We have already referred to this principle
several times, but lets expand on it some more.
First, lets look at several examples in scripture:
Mark 4:3-8
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Listen! Behold, a sower went out to


sow. 4 And it happened, as he sowed,
that some seed fell by the wayside; and
the birds of the air came and devoured
it. 5 Some fell on stony ground, where it did not have much earth; and
immediately it sprang up because it had no depth of earth. 6 But when the
sun was up it was scorched, and because it had no root it withered away.
7
And some seed fell among thorns; and the thorns grew up and choked it,
and it yielded no crop. 8 But other seed fell on good ground and yielded a
crop that sprang up, increased and produced: some thirtyfold, some sixty,
and some a hundred.
Luke 19:11-26
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Now as they heard these things, He spoke another parable, because He


was near Jerusalem and because they thought the kingdom of God would
appear immediately. 12 Therefore He said: A certain nobleman went into
a far country to receive for himself a kingdom and to return. 13 So he called
ten of his servants, delivered to them ten minas, and said to them, Do
business till I come. 14 But his citizens hated him, and sent a delegation
after him, saying, We will not have this man to reign over us.
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And so it was that when he returned, having received the kingdom, he


then commanded these servants, to whom he had given the money, to be
called to him, that he might know how much every man had gained by
trading. 16 Then came the first, saying, Master, your mina has earned ten
minas. 17 And he said to him, Well done, good servant; because you were
faithful in a very little, have authority over ten cities. 18 And the second
came, saying, Master, your mina has earned five minas. 19 Likewise he
said to him, You also be over five cities.
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Then another came, saying, Master, here is your mina, which I have
kept put away in a handkerchief. 21 For I feared you, because you are an
austere man. You collect what you did not deposit, and reap what you did
not sow. 22 And he said to him, Out of your own mouth I will judge you,
you wicked servant. You knew that I was an austere man, collecting what I
did not deposit and reaping what I did not sow. 23 Why then did you not put
my money in the bank, that at my coming I might have collected it with
interest?
24

And he said to those who stood by, Take the mina from him, and give it
to him who has ten minas. 25 (But they said to him, Master, he has ten
minas.) 26 For I say to you, that to everyone who has will be given; and
from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him.

So, what we sow will be multiplied in


returning to us this is spiritual law. It
cannot be broken. In addition, God expects
a return on what He has sown into us. We
often to do not think of this that God has
invested in us. He has invested life, the death
of His son, eternal life, deliverance, healing,
etc. and we owe Him a return on His
investment and He expects that we give back
to Him. We can never repay our debt and we
can never return to the degree and kind that
we owe, but He expects our life, our focus,
our finances, our family, our all, in return.
But, then, lets look at 2 Corinthians 9:6-8, which says:
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But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows
bountifully will also reap bountifully. 7 So let each one give as he purposes in his
heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver. 8 And God is
able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency
in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.

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This passage indicates, again, that it is the heart attitude in our giving that is important. We need
to learn to give with a cheerful and joyful heart, knowing that we are giving back to God a small
portion of what we owe Him because of what He has done for us. Now, this may not be easy at
first and, admittedly, may not be joyful at first. You may even have to grit your teeth at first, hoping
in faith that God will honor His promises to bless, and it may be hard to give. However, if you do
it in faith, it will eventually become a joy. If it doesnt, then there is still some attitude or issue of
the heart that needs to be dealt with. Remember that we started this discussion with a reading from
Matthew chapter 6, where Jesus assures us that God knows everything we need and will see that
we are provided for.

General Principles
Remember that these are general principles and spiritual laws
of Gods creation that can be applied to any situation. We are
discussing them in this document in connection with giving,
and we are going to go on to a discussion of tithing. But, they
also apply to all of life in the Kingdom of God and should be
guiding principles in how we conduct ourselves in the Church and in society. They can be applied
to our entire spiritual, emotional, and physical lives.

Finances
So, now lets get to the specific subject of finances. As I said at the
beginning, this paper is more of a testimony of what God has done in our
lives than anything else. We are not rich by any means, by current cultural
standards. However, in relationship to where we started and where we
have been, God has done wonders! God has blessed us financially as we
have learned these principles of His as I have been explaining them. When
we were first married, we wondered whether we would have enough gas
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to get to work or to church. We scrimped and saved on what seemed essentials just to buy food.
Even in later years, when I was teaching school, our children were on reduced lunch prices because
we were in the poverty category. We sometimes think it is unspiritual to teach about giving or
tithing or managing our money, but Dave Ramsey stated that there are over 800 references to
money and its management in the Bible. If God thought it that important, it certainly is not
unspiritual to discuss the proper and spiritual use of money and management of our finances.
The foundational passage in scripture on Christian giving is found in Malachi 3:10:
Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in my
house and try me now in this, says the Lord, if I will not open for
you the windows of heaven and pour out for you such blessing that
there will not be room enough to receive it. [Emphasis added]
This statement, try me now in this is the basis for the title of this message. This is the only
place in the Bible where God says to try or test Him.

National Economics
Malachi was written to the nation of Israel, not just to
individuals. Imagine if every household in the United States
were living as God intended through the laws of Focus,
Giving, Sowing, Fruit, Fullness of Time, and Multiplied
Return. Here is what God says would happen:
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And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes,


So that he will not destroy the fruit of your ground,
Nor shall the vine fail to bear fruit for you in the field,
Says the LORD of hosts;
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And all nations will call you blessed,
For you will be a delightful land,
Says the LORD of hosts. (Mal 3:11-12)
How much of our present wealth and economy do we see being devoured by causes beyond our
control? I submit to you that, if we were to follow these spiritual laws as a nation, we would not
be able to contain the wealth of blessings God would pour out on us.
The U.S. and world economies continue to teeter on the brink of collapse. Many feel the U.S. has
gained a reprieve by electing Donald Trump, a successful businessman, to the presidency and
this may beat back the wolf from the door for a time. However, without a return to the principles
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of God as a society, it is only a matter of time before


we collapse from within and part of that demise will
be economic failure. What can this be traced to?
God judges those who ignore Him and His
principles or, I think, it is more that we expose
ourselves to the hand of evil from the Devil when
we ignore these principles. As long as we follow
Gods ways, He is able to protect and bless us,
which is His desire. When we rebel, we begin to
open the door of exposure to the enemy. Consider Haggai 1:4-11:
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Is it time for you yourselves to dwell in your paneled houses, and this temple to
lie in ruins? 5 Now therefore, thus says the LORD of hosts: Consider your ways!

You have sown much, and bring in little;


You eat, but do not have enough;
You drink, but you are not filled with drink;
You clothe yourselves, but no one is warm;
And he who earns wages,
Earns wages to put into a bag with holes.
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Thus says the LORD of hosts: Consider your ways! 8 Go up to the mountains
and bring wood and build the temple, that I may take pleasure in it and be
glorified, says the LORD. 9 You looked for much, but indeed it came to little;
and when you brought it home, I blew it away. Why? says the LORD of hosts.
Because of My house that is in ruins, while every one of you runs to his own
house. 10 Therefore the heavens above you withhold the dew, and the earth
withholds its fruit. 11 For I called for a drought on the land and the mountains, on
the grain and the new wine and the oil, on whatever the ground brings forth, on
men and livestock, and on all the labor of your hands.
How well does this describe our society today! We need to
remember, there are only spiritual answers. Whether to the
violence in our society or economic issues or water pollution,
if our society were walking in Gods laws and listening to the
Holy Spirit, there would be solutions to all our issues.
So, what did God say to Israel about their selfish and selfcentered attitude? First, lets remind ourselves of the principle He had set out for them in the
beginning:
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22

You shall truly tithe all the increase of your grain that the field produces year
by year. 23 And you shall eat before the LORD your God, in the place where He
chooses to make His name abide, the tithe of your grain and your new wine and
your oil, of the firstborn of your herds and your flocks, that you may learn to fear
the LORD your God always. (Deuteronomy 14:22-23)
So, the tithe was established as belonging to God. It was the amount the Jews owed back to God
to support the priests and temple and work of God. God said that, if every Jew gave back ten
percent of whatever he earned each year, the work of God and His ministry would be sufficiently
supported. However, by the time Malachi wrote his confrontation to Israel, the Jewish nation was
not honoring this principle:
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Will a man rob God?


Yet you have robbed Me!
But you say,
In what way have we robbed You?
In tithes and offerings.
9
You are cursed with a curse,
For you have robbed Me,
Even this whole nation.
10
Bring all the tithes into the storehouse,
That there may be food in My house,
And try Me now in this,
Says the LORD of hosts,
If I will not open for you the windows of heaven
And pour out for you such blessing
That there will not be room enough to receive it.
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And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes,


So that he will not destroy the fruit of your ground,
Nor shall the vine fail to bear fruit for you in the
field,
Says the LORD of hosts;
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And all nations will call you blessed,
For you will be a delightful land,
Says the LORD of hosts. (Malachi 3:8-12)

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This scripture makes it clear that to withhold the tithe is the same as robbing God and brings a
curse on the nation and the land! Scripture teaches that God gives us everything, but only asks
for us to give back a tenth or tithe. Leviticus 27:30-32 makes this even clearer:
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And all the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land or of the fruit of the
tree, is the LORDs. It is holy to the LORD. 31 If a man wants at all to redeem any of
his tithes, he shall add one-fifth to it. 32 And concerning the tithe of the herd or the
flock, of whatever passes under the rod, the tenth one shall be holy to the LORD.
So, if a Jew wanted to give something in place of the first tenth, he had to add twenty percent,
according to this passage.
I will talk later about why this Old Testament principle still applies to us today, but, let me just say
here that, because of what we have read above, I sincerely believe that, if we do not tithe, we
expose ourselves to the enemy and devourer has the right to steal at least our tenth, most likely the
added 20%, and probably more, because of the curse we expose ourselves to.

Purpose of the Tenth


Deuteronomy 26:12 tells us what the purpose of the tithe or
tenth was in the Old Testament Jewish culture: When you
have finished laying aside all the tenth of your increase in the
third year the year of paying a tenth and have given it to
the Levite, the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, so that
they may eat within your gates and be filled, Obviously,
the tenth was to support the priests
and all their functions and facilities and to provide a welfare system for
the society. God said that just a tenth of the income of the nation would
be enough to support the extensive priesthood and religious system
(which, by the way, was also the governmental system), as well as provide
a full welfare system. We often forget that the priests also provided the educational system for the
culture. Compare that with the tax system of todays United States, the struggle to provide an
adequate welfare system, and the fact that only a few Christians actually tithe and only a minority
of U.S. citizens are Christians.

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A tenth was just the beginning of the Jews giving. It was reserved for and holy to God and not to
be touched, but it was also considered just the minimum of their giving.

Old Testament vs. New Testament


So, why have we spent all this time studying the Old
Testament law when we are now under the freedom of
the New Testament? Well, for the same reason that we
discussed the spiritual laws of God because the
principles of God never change. We have been released
from the letter of the law by which the Old Testament
Jews tried to achieve holiness, because the law did
nothing but show us that we are inadequate to keep it
and the only way to holiness is through the death,
blood, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. However, the principle of blessing and exposure still
remains. In fact, the New Testament states that the Old Testament laws have now become a matter
of the heart and the requirements are actually more stringent now than they were before Christ.
Second Corinthians 9:5-8 expounds on the extension of the Law of Sowing and Reaping:
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Therefore I thought it necessary to exhort the brethren to go to you ahead of time,


and prepare your generous gift beforehand, which you had previously promised,
that it may be ready as a matter of generosity and not as a grudging obligation.
6

But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows
bountifully will also reap bountifully. 7 So let each one give as he purposes in his
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heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver. 8 And God is
able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency
in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.

God loves the cheerful giver. Many use this verse to justify not giving, because they say they
cannot give with joy. However, it does not say you should not give it just makes clear that the
motive of your heart should be right in the giving. It has moved from an action to a matter of the
heart. Two more passages make this even clearer:
Matthew 6:1-4
Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen
by them. Otherwise you have no reward from your Father in heaven.
2
Therefore, when you do a charitable deed, do not sound a trumpet before
you as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may
have glory from men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. 3 But
when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your
right hand is doing, 4 that your charitable deed may be in secret; and your
Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly.

Luke 9:23-25
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Then He said to them all, If anyone desires to come after Me, let him
deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. 24 For whoever
desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will
save it. 25 For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and is
himself destroyed or lost?

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Responsibility

Consequently, as New Testament Christians, we have not just participated in a new experience.
We have become SONS of God. (And daughters, there is no gender differentiation here.) As Sons
of God, we are not just given the option of participating in the Kingdom of the King if it feels good
and we want to. We have an obligation and a responsibility to that Kingdom. This is not a looseygoosey, step-in-and-step-out, do-it-if-you-feel-good relationship we have moved into. We have
legally moved from a kingdom of death, sin, and evil to a kingdom of reigning sons and daughters
of the King. We have been given a responsibility to be productive princes and princesses.
As such, and as mentioned earlier, it has now become a
matter of the heart and New Testament matters-of-theheart principles go beyond Old Testament law. Take, for
example, Matthew 5:21-22, which says, You have
heard that it was said to those of old, You shall not
murder, and whoever murders will be danger of the
judgment. But I say to you that whoever is angry with
his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment. And whoever says to his brother,
Raca! shall be in danger of the council. But whoever says, You fool! shall be in danger of hell
fire. Tenths and offerings should apply to our finances first, but also extend to our spiritual life,
our time, and our physical goods. How many of us think to pay a tenth of our garden produce, our
harvested game, our gifts, our free time, or our attention? God says a tenth of any increase or
production is His. And, he says that the first fruits are His, not the left overs, the bottom of the
bin, the spoiled or half-eaten fruit or ears of corn, but our best, the top of the crop. In fact, when
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the Jew was to choose a sacrifice, it was to be an unblemished lamb


from the very best of his crop not the crippled or useless one. Do
we give our best to God first? If we dont, how can we expect Him
to be able to bless us.
What guidelines does the New Testament show for uses of the
tithes and offerings, if we no longer have a priesthood and temple?
Several passages make it clear that these funds are still to be used to support the work of the
ministry and especially provide support for those who teach and work in the ministry:
1 Timothy 5:17-18
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Let the elders who rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially
those who labor in the word and doctrine. 18 For the Scripture says, You
shall not muzzle an ox while it treads out the grain, and, The laborer is
worthy of his wages.
1 Corinthians 9:7-14
7

Who ever goes to war at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard and does
not eat of its fruit? Or who tends a flock and does not drink of the milk of
the flock?
8

Do I say these things as a mere man? Or does not the law say the same
also? 9 For it is written in the law of Moses, You shall not muzzle an ox
while it treads out the grain. Is it oxen God is concerned about? 10 Or does
He say it altogether for our sakes? For our sakes, no doubt, this is written,
that he who plows should plow in hope, and he who threshes in hope should
be partaker of his hope. 11 If we have sown spiritual things for you, is it a
great thing if we reap your material things? 12 If others are partakers of this
right over you, are we not even more?
Nevertheless we have not used this right, but endure all things lest we hinder
the gospel of Christ. 13 Do you not know that those who minister the holy
things eat of the things of the temple, and those who serve at the altar
partake of the offerings of the altar? 14 Even so the Lord has commanded
that those who preach the gospel should live from the gospel.
Galatians 6:6
Let him who is taught the word share in all things with him who teaches.

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And, of course, there are numerous passages which indicate that we need to share with those in
need and see to the widows, orphans, and the poor. So, the Church should still be the source of our
welfare system. Many churches and ministries include help to the needy in their ministry.
So, we can see that the use of the tithes and offerings is essentially the same today as it was in the
Old Testament to support the ministry and provide for the needy. It has been said that, if every
Christian tithed, there would be funds well and above the present needs of the churches and
ministries today. But, rather, we see that the average Christian give less than 1% of their income
to the work of God and the Church is constantly in need. Brothers and sisters, it ought not to be
so!

Still in Operation
The principles of Multiplied Return
and Giving and Receiving of God are
still in operation. Look at Luke 6:38:
Give, and it will be given to you: good
measure, pressed down, shaken
together, and running over will be put
into your bosom. For with the same
measure that you use, it will be measured back to you. And,
Galatians 6:8-9 makes it clear that it still takes time for the seed to
die, grow, produce and ripen: 8 For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but
he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. 9 And let us not grow weary while
doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.

I used to teach personal financial management for the University and I continually tried to instill
in my students that developing savings had to first become a habit. Until it becomes a habit, it will
never happen, even if it is only $5 a month. It is the same with tithing and giving. If you wait until

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you have more to tithe or save, you will never have enough to
do either. Here are six passages which talk about the importance
of giving:
2 Corinthians 8:3-4
3

For I bear witness that according to their


ability, yes, and beyond their ability, they were
freely willing, 4 imploring us with much urgency that we would receive the
gift and the fellowship of the ministering to the saints.
2 Corinthians 8:12
For if there is first a willing mind, it is accepted according to what one has,
and not according to what he does not have.
Proverbs 11:24-25
24

There is one who scatters, yet increases more;


And there is one who withholds more than is right,
But it leads to poverty.
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The generous soul will be made rich,
And he who waters will also be watered himself.
Ecclesiastes 5:10-11
10

He who loves silver will not be satisfied with silver;


Nor he who loves abundance, with increase.
This also is vanity.

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When goods increase,


They increase who eat them;
So what profit have the owners
Except to see them with their eyes?

Mark 12:41-44
41

Now Jesus sat opposite the treasury and saw how the people put money
into the treasury. And many who were rich put in much. 42 Then one poor
widow came and threw in two mites, which make a quadrans. 43 So He called
His disciples to Himself and said to them, Assuredly, I say to you that this
poor widow has put in more than all those who have given to the treasury;

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44

for they all put in out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put
in all that she had, her whole livelihood.
Galatians 6:7
Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he
will also reap.

Soldiers
As Ive reiterated several times, we are not just in this Christian journey for the feel-good
experiences. We are being trained as soldiers in an army, and we happen to be in basic training
right now. We are being tried and tested to teach us how to act as responsible sons and daughters
because we are going to reign with the King one day over this entire universe. It is my own personal
view that each of us will have some part of that Kingdom over which we will have authority, be it
a planet or solar system or group of angels who have a specific task or group of tasks. As such,
learning how to properly manage our resources to the advantage of the King is of utmost

importance a lot more importance than most of us realize. The degree to which we develop a
spirit of generosity and giving now will have much to say about our station and reward then. In
fact, in his book OPERATING IN THE COURTS OF HEAVEN: GRANTING GOD THE LEGAL RIGHT
TO FULFILL HIS PASSION AND ANSWER OUR PRAYERS, Robert Henderson shows from scripture
that there are nine voices that speak or testify for us before God in the courts of Heaven. The ninth
(and one I honestly had not realized until reading his book) is our finances. To quote Henderson,
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When we bring these offerings to the Lord, it produces a witness in the courts of Heaven. The
word witness means one who gives judicial testimony. Our money has a testimony in the courts of
Heaven. It speaks in the court system of God on our behalf. Our money carries our faith and all
that is in our heart and speaks when we sow it into the Kingdom of God. See what the scriptures
say:
Luke 16:11-13
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Therefore if you have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who
will commit to your trust the true riches? 12 And if you have not been faithful
in what is another mans, who will give you what is your own?
13

No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and
love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You
cannot serve God and mammon.
1 Corinthians 3:12-15
12

Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones,
wood, hay, straw, 13 each ones work will become clear; for the Day will
declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each
ones work, of what sort it is. 14 If anyones work which he has built on it
endures, he will receive a reward. 15 If anyones work is burned, he will
suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.
1 Corinthians 4:2
Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful.

Esthers Testimony
When I shared this message, Esther asked to give her testimony about what the Spirit has taught
her on the subject, so I share her testimony here with her permission:
Tithing and giving must involve both husband and wife, if you are married. If you are not together
in your commitment, it will cause issues. If one is convinced and has independent funds, then
they can consider tithing on their own funds, but one should not force or coerce the other to give
or tithe. It must be done in faith and joy. Women must also consider Ephesians 5:22-24, which
says, 22 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is head of the

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wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. 24 Therefore, just as the
church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything.
I grew up in a communal Hutterite colony where everything was provided and I never heard of
tithing. When I left the colony, I started attending a church and heard about giving and gave a
little here and there. When I married Bill, we were very poor and we agreed that we would give
a little as we felt we could. However, a few months later Bill suggested we needed to tithe on our
paycheck. I had a problem with that I didnt think we could afford it. But, I agreed, even though
it was hard, and we calculated a tenth of our take-home pay and started to give that amount. As
we continued, it became easier until it was just second nature to take that much off the top each
month and put it in the offering or send it to a ministry. It became settled in my heart that this
was Gods principle and I was glad we were able to give this amount back to the Kingdom of God.
About this time, we also began to give offerings and donations beyond our tithe.
I thought it was all settled with God and was comfortable with what we were doing. What I didnt
realize was that, several years later, God started speaking to Bill about tithing on our gross income
instead of just our net paycheck. One day at church a friend mentioned that they tithe on their
gross income and God began to speak to me about it. God kept talking to me all week about
increasing our tithe, so I talked to Bill and we agreed it was what we should do. Even though it
seemed hard to do, God says to test Him, so we agreed to start tithing on our gross income before
taxes or any deductions.
Since that time, God has blessed us beyond our expectations. We have paid off all our debts,
including our mortgage and vehicles, and our retirement income is above the level it was when
Bill was working. God has made it so we are able to give well above and beyond our 10% tithe
the past several years. I generally struggle with trust, but I have learned that He is faithful
financially and I receive joy and blessing whenever we can give we get to and we want to. I
would encourage all of you to consider testing God with your giving. He has been faithful to us
and I know He will be the same for everyone who puts their trust in Him!

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