How Do You Treat God? September 11-15
In Malachi’s day, the people had become bored with God. Their worship had turned from relational to ritual. As a result, they offered blemished sacrifices; the priests had become unfaithful; divorce was commonplace and easy; their words wearied God; businessmen were defrauding their workers, cheating their customers and taking advantage of widows, orphans and aliens. The people were also robbing God by withholding their tithes, by giving the worst instead of the best, and by giving minimally rather than generously. Their attitude was, “How little can I give and still keep God happy?” The tithe is not a legalistic regulation. The primary purpose for the tithe is to put God first in our lives. When we put God first in our giving, He will be first in every area of life.
Day 1 Malachi 2:17-3:5
Reflect: How had the people wearied God? Verse 5 lists sins that may have been their cultural blind spots. What are those sins for us today? What did God say was the root cause?
Apply: If God refined you as silver, what dross would rise to the top? Determine how those things came to be part of your life. Repent and ask God to continually refine you.
Pray: Lord, I humbly ask You to forgive me for the things I’ve done from impure motives. Purify my thoughts, motives and intentions, and let them be pleasing in Your sight to honor You.
Day 2 Isaiah 5:20-24
Reflect: Define the sin and its root for each of the “Woes”. What is the opposite of each? Why are these behaviors so abhorrent to God? What are the consequences of lives of sin?
Apply: What are current examples of the behavior described in verse 20? How have you participated? What about the other sinful behaviors? What do you think about God’s judgment? (Verse 24)
Pray: Father, help me not to buy into the lie of relativism. I pray for a hunger to dig in and learn Your ways and truth.
Day 3 Malachi 3:6-12
Reflect: How can someone rob God? What does this principle teach us about God? About people? Is there a difference between tithes and offerings? Why is this so important to the Lord?
Apply: What principles can you apply to your use of money? What are excuses people make for not giving to the Lord? How might you respond?
Pray: Father, help me to never fall into the prideful trap which many in Israel fell into when they robbed You of Your rightful place in their lives. Develop a loving and giving heart and a spirit of generosity in me.
Day 4 Nehemiah 13:4-14
Reflect: Why was Nehemiah so upset, considering it evil that Tobiah had a room in the temple? What can we learn from his reaction? What is your opinion of Nehemiah’s prayer?
Apply: How have you used in other ways what should have been set aside for the Lord, whether it be money, or time, or talents? How does this reflect how you truly act toward God?
Pray: Jesus, show me if there is anything holding me back from experiencing Your best for my life. It’s only through You that I can overcome sin and live in freedom.
Day 5 Mark 12:41-44
Reflect: What do you learn about God from Jesus? Describe the spiritual condition of the two kinds of people He mentions. Which do you resemble more? Why?
Apply: Why do you think money is such a tricky or touchy subject, both in the world and in the church? What is your relationship with money? How would God describe it? Why?
Pray: God, grant me the vision to see that all I have is a gift from You, the wisdom to use it well, and the courage to trust You for all things.
Put It Into Practice!
Week 3: How Do You Treat God?
Determine what needs to change in order for God to have first place in your life, especially when it comes to your finances. Determine what is preventing you from storing your treasures in heaven. Is it fear? Lack of trust? Selfishness? Ask God to help you overcome whatever it is.