Does Malachi 3 Tell Us that God Really Wants Us to Test Him in Giving?
Malachi 3:10 says, “Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the LORD of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need.”
It’s as if God is saying there is something very special about giving. He doesn’t say, “Don’t commit adultery. Test me in this. Give not committing adultery a try and see if I don’t bless you.” God doesn’t take his commands and reduce them to the level of “Oh, give it a try and see if it works.” It’s as if he’s making a special case out of giving, and he’s saying, “Yes. Test me in this and see if I don’t bless you.”
There’s a New Testament equivalent to that. Luke 6:38 is a close parallel to Malachi 3:10, where Jesus says, “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over, will be poured into your lap.” Someone might say, “Oh, Malachi 3, that’s Old Covenant, and it’s restricted to that”—but no. Luke 6 is a very close parallel passage. And this is Jesus saying this, not King David or Solomon, who are living in splendor. This is Jesus, who doesn’t have a rock to lay his head on. He’s got the clothes on his back, and not much more. And Jesus is saying, “Just watch what happens when you give. My heavenly Father is going to overflow.’” (Of course, we need to carefully distinguish this teaching from the health and wealth gospel. God’s payoff is very real, but it comes at the “proper time,” which may not be today or tomorrow but in eternity. See Galatians 6:9.)
Why is that promise there in Malachi? I think it’s because God longs for his people to live the life of grace and the life of free-will offering, and see how much fun it is and how God abundantly provides and blesses it.