Question: Does God Really Care If We Give to His Work, or Not?
Answer: “Yes.” God really cares. There are consequences for keeping all that God has blessed you with for yourself.
Deuteronomy 8:1-20 gives the whole context of God’s viewpoint on this matter. We shall consider the main points, God warned the People of Israel about, before they entered the Promised Land,
“For the Lord thy God bringeth thee into a good land, a land of brooks of water…” - Deuteronomy 8:7a
“Beware that thou forget not the Lord thy God, in not keeping his commandments, and his judgments, and his statutes, which I command thee this day.” - Deuteronomy 8:11
“Lest when thou has eaten and art full, and hast built goodly houses and dwelt therein. And when thy herds and thy flocks multiply, and thy silver and thy gold is multiplied,…Then thine heart be lifted up, and thou forget the Lord thy God…” - Deuteronomy 8:12-14a
“And thou say in thine heart, My power and the might of mine hand hath gotten me this wealth. But thou shalt remember the Lord thy God: for it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth…” - Deuteronomy 8:17,18a
“…if thou do at all forget the Lord thy God, and walk after other Gods, and serve them, and worship them (giving to the false Gods the sacrifices and offering due to God in appreciation for all His blessings),…ye shall surely perish.” Deuteronomy 8:19
In other words, God is telling the people of Israel, “I brought you here, I have blessed you with this land and I will bless you in this land. You could not have gone through the 40-year wilderness journey; nor received this land, if I had not been with you. You did not do it with your own power. If you do not keep my commandments (including the tithe); and, even worse, give what is due to me to a false God (which could include yourself), judgment is going to fall!
Deuteronomy 28:1-68. God gave further instructions to Moses for Israel before they entered the Land. Moses addressed them in a valley between Mt. Ebal and Mt Gerazim, rehearsing God’s instructions to the Nation.
“And it shall come to pass, if thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to observe and to do all his commandments (including tithes and offerings) which I command thee this day…all these blessings shall come on thee and overtake thee, if thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God.”
- God is warning the 12 Tribes that He will bless obedience and curse disobedience!
Deuteronomy 28:3-14 lists all the blessings God would pour out upon the nation of Israel, if the people would obey! Deuteronomy 28:15 to the end of the chapter lists all the curses which would befall them, if they did not obey!
Some of the bad things which would befall Israel if they were not obedient.
Deuteronomy 28:33 & 36 refer to a nation which shall “eat up” their land and “bring thee and thy king which thou shalt set over thee (Israel was not yet even in the land, and had never had a king at this time.), unto a nation which neither thou nor thy fathers have known…. This is a reference to the carrying away of the wicked king of Judah, Zedekiah, and all the captives; the destruction of the Temple and Jerusalem in the first years of the 70-Year Captivity. (2 Chronicles 36:15-21). Jeremiah 25:12 gives the length of the Captivity.
Deuteronomy 28: 49-57, refer to Assyria, who took the 10 Northern Tribes captive in approximately 721 B.C.
“The Lord shall bring a nation against thee from far, from the end of the earth, as swift as the eagle flieth, a nation whose tongue thou shalt not understand. (49) A nation of fierce countenance, which shall not regard the person of the old, nor shew favor to the young. (50)”
In 1 Kings 17:4-23 we have the account of the sins of the 10 Northern Tribes, who were besieged by Assyria for three years and then taken captive. Assyria’s armies were noted for their great cruelty. As God says in 2Kings 17:18,
“Therefore the Lord was very angry with Israel (The Ten Northern Tribes), and removed them out of his sight: there was none left but the tribe of Judah only.”
God used the nation of Assyria to render judgment against the Ten Northern tribes, or “Israel.” God warned this would happen before there ever was a split of the Twelve Tribes into the two kingdoms.
Deuteronomy 28:63-68 refers to a world-wide dispersion. The primary fulfillment happened in 70 A.D. when Titus and the Roman Army sacked Jerusalem and scattered the remnant of Jews still in the country of Israel.
Some 37 years before the sacking of Jerusalem and dispersion of Jews, the Lord Jesus observes some rich men casting their gifts into the treasury of the temple and then a “certain poor widow” casting in her two mites, (1 Mite = 1/8 Penny). Our Lord comments,
“…this poor widow hath cast in more than they all (the rich): For all these have of their abundance cast in unto the offerings of God: but she of her penury (poverty) hath cast in all the living that she had.”(Luke 21:3,4).
Of course, we know the greatest sin of the Nation of Israel at this time was that they did not receive the Lord Jesus Christ as their Messiah,
“He came unto his own, and his own received him not.” (John 1:11).
The complete fulfillment will occur during the Tribulation Period when the Anti-Christ will seek to destroy every Jew he can lay his hands on. You cannot say that God did not warn the whole Nation of Israel of the consequences of disobedience to his commandments. (Daniel 9:27; Matthew 24:15-21). Israel always had a choice.
“…if thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God.” (Deuteronomy 28:2b)
- Not Giving Tithes and Offerings is “Robbing God.” (Malachi 3:7,8).
In Malachi 2:17 the people had scornfully asked, “Will God punish us for our sins? Does He really care?” The people had disobeyed God by robbing Him of tithes and offerings. Actually, when God's people are not faithful in their giving, they not only rob God, but, they also rob themselves. God had shut off the rain and spoiled the crops because of their selfishness. (Malachi 3:11).
Tithing, or giving as God has blessed, of course, is not "making a bargain with God"; but God does promise to bless and care for those who are faithful in their stewardship. Certainly God is not bankrupt and does not really need our help! He wants our tithes and offerings as expressions of our faith and love. When a believer's love for Christ grows cold, it usually shows up in his stewardship. (1 Corinthians 4:2).
The Hebrew word “storehouse” of Malachi 3:10 is equivalent to the “lay in store” in 1 Corinthians 16:2. Since tithing is an Old Testament principle (Romans 10:4); the instruction about giving in the New Testament is that we are to bring our gifts and offerings as God has prospered us. If Christians would be faithful to give to the Lord’s work as God has blessed them, there would be no Christian ministries that could not function due to lack of funds.
How should we give? Prayerfully!
“Every man according as he purposeth in his heart..”- 2 Corinthians 9:7a
We are encouraged to be cheerful givers,
“…for God loveth ( blesses) a cheerful giver.”- 2 Corinthians 9:7c
We are not to give “grudgingly” or because we “have to, but, because of our love for the Lord” (2 Corinthians 9:7).
How much should we give? We should give “bountifully.” Why? Because God promises to bless us bountifully. (2 Corinthians 9:6).
- A New Testament Example: Ananias and Sapphira
(Read Acts 4:32 through 5:11).
When we prayerfully “purpose in our hearts” what we should give to the work of the church, God wants us to be honest with him. (2 Corinthians 8:21). It is good that some church members do not suffer the same punishment as Ananias and Sapphira; or we would be having some strange things happening in our churches today.
It seems that Ananias and Sapphira wanted to get the reputation for being more spiritual than they actually were. When the others brought their donations (4:34-37), Ananias and Sapphira were jealous and wanted the same recognition. Ananias and Sapphira could have brought any amount they wanted, or none. (5:4).
"The others, knowing they had sold their land, assumed they had brought all the amount, as they had done, for we are told they had “brought the prices of the things that were sold.” (Acts 4:34b).
However, Peter, through the Holy Spirit, knew the deception in Ananias’ mind when Ananias laid his offering at the apostles’ feet. A lesson was taught to the whole body of believers when Ananias, after being questioned by Peter, fell dead on the spot. (5:5). Ananias could have said, “My wife and I just decided we did not want to give it all.” Sapphira compounded her sin by actually lying out loud, the result of which…she dropped dead, too. The Bible again comments
“And great fear came upon all the church, and upon as many as heard these things.” Acts 5:11
We may say, “I am glad God doesn’t bring this type of punishment today.” Let us think about that. The following is true and we personally knew the individuals involved. There was a man, a certain well-off farmer, who even refused to support his missionary son on the foreign field. The son told us this, himself. The son also said his father was well able to do this; but, even though he had a hard time raising support, his son loved his father anyway and still tried to look after him in his older years; even coming back from the field under hardship and great expense to himself.
God had blessed the man abundantly and he evidently did not appreciate it. Occasionally, he was known to drop a $5 or $10 bill in the offering plate. Very occasionally! Usually, he never went near it! The one thing he bragged about was that he had paid for a few gallons of paint to paint a small church sanctuary because his wife’s funeral was going to be held there.
According to the son, all the thousands of dollars the father had hoarded over the years went to pay the nursing home when he became infirm. Soon the money was gone, and at his death, he was a “ward of the state.” They cannot even sell his home, it now belongs to the state. There it stands today, run-down, no paint, and all the bushes growing up around it. Soon, the house and barn will begin to lean; and, one day there will be nothing but a pile of splintered wood. There is no sign of that home now. It is a gaunt reminder to those who pass by. “You cannot rob God!”
“Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: (19) but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through and steal: (20) For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” - Matthew 6:19-21
Yes, God does care whether we give or not. Yes! It is part of our Christian service. Everyone can give something. We would not have our jobs, finances, or health, if God had not blessed us with them. We should not think, as the 12 Tribes of Israel did,
“And thou say in thine heart, My power and the might of mine hand hath gotten me this wealth. ” - Deuteronomy 8:17
As we find in 1 Corinthians 3:11-15, God blesses us with gold, silver and precious stones for service to Him. If we are not honest with him about what we can give to His work, we will receive “wood, hay, and stubble” (or loss of rewards) at the Judgment Seat of Christ. We will be saved “so as by fire”, but we will not receive a “full reward.” (2 John 1:8).
The Jewish people tithed because it was God’s Law. We give offerings to the Lord in thanks for God’s amazing grace toward us.
“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast.” - Ephesians 2:8,9
Therefore, why should a Christian rob himself of God’s blessings by robbing the Lord of His offerings. God, in Malachi 3:9, reminds every Christian that is negligent in their giving,
“Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even the whole nation.”
On the other hand, the Lord promises all those that cheerfully give back to Him a portion of what He has given to them the following in 2 Corinthians 9:6b, 8.
“…and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully.” (6b)
“And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work.”(8)