Windows of Heaven

Scripture: Malachi 3:8-12
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Windows of Heaven
Lesson #18
Jacob had never felt so destitute and alone -- and it was all because he had been devious and greedy. First Jacob had bribed Esau, his elder twin, into selling his birthright. Then, with his mother's help, he tricked his blind father, Isaac, into giving him the paternal blessing that rightfully belonged to Esau. Now Jacob was fleeing from home, partly to escape the murderous threats of his offended brother. He bowed his head and cried when he thought of how all his grasping plans had backfired. Alone in the wilderness, with only a stone for a pillow and a stick for protection, Jacob tried to rest. He wondered if he would ever see his parents again and if God would forgive him. Exhausted, Jacob drifted off to sleep. Soon he found himself bathed in the brilliant glow of a vivid dream. He saw a blazing light streaming from the open heavens, with a beautiful stairway spanning from the glory above to the earth below. There were countless shimmering angels traveling up and down this ladder. Then Jacob heard the Lord speak from heaven and promise to bless him in his journey. The Lord also confirmed with Jacob the same covenant He had made with Abraham and Isaac. When he awoke, Jacob fell on his knees and made a vow to abandon his greedy ways. He promised, "Of all that thou shalt give me I will surely give the tenth unto thee." Genesis 28:22. God accepted this vow and opened the windows of heaven so that when Jacob returned home 20 years later, he had become a very prosperous and generous man.
1. Where did Jacob learn the concept of returning a tenth to God?

1. Where did Jacob learn the concept of returning a tenth to God?

Genesis 14:18, 20. And Melchizedek ... was the priest of the most high God. ... And he [Abraham] gave him ______ of all.


Answer :  ____________________

NOTE:   Tithe is one-tenth of a person's income. In fact, the word "tithe" simply means "a tenth." Jacob's grandfather, Abraham, set an example many years earlier by giving a tithe to God's priest, Melchizedek.

2. What portion of our income belongs to God?

2. What portion of our income belongs to God?

Leviticus 27:30. All the ______ ... is the Lord's: it is holy unto the Lord.


Answer :  ____________________

NOTE:   Technically, 100 percent of all we have belongs to God.

Psalms 24:1 The earth is the Lord's, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein.

But God asks us to acknowledge that we believe it all belongs to Him by returning a tithe, or 10 percent of our increase.

3. What does God do with our tithe?

3. What does God do with our tithe?

Numbers 18:21, 24. I have given the children of ____ all the tenth in Israel for an inheritance, for their service which they serve. ... The tithes of the children of Israel, ... I have given to the Levites to inherit.

1 Corinthians 9:13, 14 Do ye not know that they which minister about holy things live of the things of the temple? and they which wait at the altar are partakers with the altar? Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel.


Answer :  ____________________

NOTE:   In the Old Testament, God directed that the tithe be used to support the Levites, who were His ministers. In 1 Corinthians 9:13, God says that just as the priests of old were paid from the tithe of the temple, so gospel ministers today should be paid from tithe given through the church.

4. Is the tithing system part of Moses' old law, which ended at the cross?

4. Is the tithing system part of Moses' old law, which ended at the cross?

Genesis 28:20, 22. And Jacob vowed a vow, saying, ... of all that thou shalt give me I will surely ____ the tenth unto thee.


Answer :  ____________________

NOTE:   No! Both Abraham and Jacob gave a tenth of their income to God long before Moses' law was given. Because it pre-dated Sinai, we know that it was not part of the ceremonial law that ended at the cross. The law of tithing is God's plan for support of the ministry, and it remains in effect today.

5. But didn't Jesus condemn the tithing plan?

5. But didn't Jesus condemn the tithing plan?

Matthew 23:23. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithes of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ____ ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.


Answer :  ____________________

NOTE:   No. Jesus saw that the miserly Pharisees were counting out individual leaves and tiny seeds for tithe instead of taking it to the temple by the bushel. Therefore He rebuked them for being so exact in tithe while failing in judgment, mercy, and faith. He did not condemn them for tithing, but for ignoring the other great principles of Christianity. That is why Jesus said, "These ought ye to have done [speaking of tithing], and not to leave the other undone."

6. What amazing promise does God make about tithing?

6. What amazing promise does God make about tithing?

Malachi 3:10. Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, ... and _____ me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.


Answer :  ____________________

NOTE:   God is saying: "If you are doubtful, try tithing as an experiment. Test Me, and see if I won't return to you a blessing too vast for you to receive." Hundreds of thousands of tithepayers will tell you that it is true. You cannot out-give God!

7. God tells His people to bring all of the tithe into the storehouse. What does that mean?

7. God tells His people to bring all of the tithe into the storehouse. What does that mean?

Nehemiah 13:12. Then brought all Judah the tithe of the corn and the new wine and the oil unto the ___________.


Answer :  ____________________

NOTE:   The storehouse is the treasury of God's church. (The Bible margin equates "treasuries" with "storehouses".) In Malachi 3:10, God refers to the storehouse as "mine house," which means His church, or temple. Other texts that refer to the storehouse as the temple, or temple treasury, are 1 Chronicles 9:26 (see margin); 2 Chronicles 31:11, 12 (see margin); and Nehemiah 10:37, 38. So it is obvious that the storehouse is God's church treasury.

8. When we tithe, who really receives our money?

8. When we tithe, who really receives our money?

Colossians 3:23. And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the ______, and not unto men.

Hebrews 7:8 And here men that die receive tithes; but there he [Jesus] receiveth them.


Answer :  ____________________

NOTE:   We need to always remember that we are not returning our tithe to people, but to God. It belongs to Him. We need not worry about how the tithe is used if we give it to God. He is big enough to take care of His own money and to properly handle anyone who may be irresponsible in managing His funds.

9. In addition to my tithe, which belongs to God, what else does He ask of His people?

9. In addition to my tithe, which belongs to God, what else does He ask of His people?

Psalms 96:8. Bring an ________, and come into his courts.

Malachi 3:8 Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings.


Answer :  ____________________

NOTE:   The Lord asks us to give freewill offerings as an expression of our love for Him and our thanksgiving for His blessings.

10. How much should we give as offerings?

10. How much should we give as offerings?

2 Corinthians 9:7. Every man according as he purposeth in his _____, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.


Answer :  ____________________

NOTE:   The Bible does not set a specific amount. Each person decides how much to give for freewill offerings, as God impresses.

11. What test did Adam and Eve fail that we must pass if we expect to inherit God's kingdom?

11. What test did Adam and Eve fail that we must pass if we expect to inherit God's kingdom?

Genesis 3:3. But of the fruit of the ____ which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.


Answer :  ____________________

NOTE:   God told Adam and Eve they could eat the fruit of all the trees of the garden except one--the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. They were not to eat of that tree or even touch it, else they would die. God did not put an electric fence around the tree. Rather, He kept it where they could reach out and take the fruit. And they did, because they did not trust God. Today, God gives us all the same test. He says, "You can keep all the money that comes to you, except one tenth. That money is Mine. Don't take it." However, He leaves it where we can reach out and take it, if we so desire. But when we do, we repeat the sin of Adam and Eve.
God did not need the fruit of the special tree. It was a test of their loyalty. Neither does He need our tithe. He owns everything! It is a test of our love, loyalty, and trust

12. What commandment are we breaking when we refuse to return tithes and offerings to God?

12. What commandment are we breaking when we refuse to return tithes and offerings to God?

Exodus 20:15. Thou shalt not _____.

Malachi 3:8 Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings.


Answer :  ____________________

NOTE:   God says those who are knowingly unfaithful in tithes and offerings are robbers. It is bad enough when men steal from one another, but it is a terrifying thought that people would dare to steal from God! It is also hard to believe that people would stoop so low as to steal money that God has designated for spreading the gospel to the lost.

13. What does God say will happen to those who knowingly rob Him of tithe and offerings?

13. What does God say will happen to those who knowingly rob Him of tithe and offerings?

Malachi 3:9. Ye are ______ with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation.

1 Corinthians 6:10 Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.


Answer :  ____________________

NOTE:   Those who are not faithful in tithes and offerings are cursed, and unless they change, they will be shut out of God's kingdom as thieves.

14. Why is covetousness so dangerous?

14. Why is covetousness so dangerous?

Luke 12:34. For where your ________ is, there will your heart be also.


Answer :  ____________________

NOTE:   Covetousness is lethal because our hearts follow our investments. If my focus is on accumulating more and more money, my heart becomes covetous, grasping, and proud. But if my focus is on advancing God's work, my heart becomes caring, loving, liberal, and humble. Our hearts inevitably follow our treasure. We must never forget that it was Judas' greed and love for money that led him to betray Jesus for 30 pieces of silver (Matthew 26:14-16).

15. How do you suppose Jesus feels when we rob Him of tithes and offerings?

15. How do you suppose Jesus feels when we rob Him of tithes and offerings?

Hebrews 3:10. Wherefore I was _______ with that generation, and said, They do always err in their heart.


Answer :  ____________________

NOTE:   Jesus probably feels much as a parent would whose child steals money from his wallet. Losing the money is not the big thing. Rather, it is the child's lack of integrity, love, and trust that is deeply disappointing. Surely none of us want to grieve the heart of our Saviour.

16. What other Bible principles does God share in regard to giving?

16. What other Bible principles does God share in regard to giving?

2 Corinthians 8:5. They ... first gave their own ______ to the Lord.

Proverbs 3:9 Honour the Lord with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase.

Proverbs 11:24, 25 There is that scattereth, and yet increaseth; and there is that witholdeth more than is meet, but it tendeth to poverty. The liberal soul shall be made fat: and he that watereth shall be watered also himself.

Acts 20:35 It is more blessed to give than to receive.

Luke 12:21 He that layeth up treasure for himself ... is not rich toward God.

Luke 6:38 Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom.

1 Corinthians 16:2 Let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him.

Deuteronomy 16:17 Every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the Lord thy God which he hath given thee.


Answer :  ____________________

NOTE:   Nine-tenths of my income with God's blessing will go much further than ten-tenths without it. Incidentally, when God opens the windows of heaven, His blessings are not always financial. They may include such things as good health, peace of mind, answered prayers, protection, a close-knit and loving family, physical strength, ability to make wise decisions, a closer walk with Jesus, success in soul-winning, an old car kept running, etc. If we truly love Jesus, giving sacrificially for His work will never be a burden. Rather, it is a blessing--a glorious privilege that we will perform with great joy and satisfaction.

17. What did the ladder that Jacob saw in his dream represent?

17. What did the ladder that Jacob saw in his dream represent?

John 1:51. Hereafter ye shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the ____ of man.


Answer :  ____________________

NOTE:   Jacob saw a ladder that bridged heaven with earth, which symbolized the Son of man. In Malachi 3:10, God says that if we bring all the tithes into the storehouse, He will open for us the windows of heaven and pour out a blessing we can barely receive! Jesus is that blessing.


18. What is the greatest gift we can give to Jesus?

My son, give me thine ______, and let thine eyes observe my ways.

Mark 7:6 This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me.


Answer :  ____________________

NOTE:   When Jesus has our hearts, He has everything else too.


19. When we are faithful in tithes and offerings, Jesus becomes our partner in everything we attempt in life. Are you willing to invite Him to be your partner by returning tithes and giving offerings?



Answer :  ____________________

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