The question raised and answered by God through Malachi is indeed attention grabbing. The thought of robbing God should strike at least a moments terror if one is rational in thought (Mal. 3:8). In this dialog between God and man, a picture is given of a condition of God’s people about 450 years before Christ. This is “the didactic, dialectic preacher” [Rex A. Turner, Sr.], one who asks and answers his question. In Malachi God is asking questions of His people through Malachi, and answering, convicting them of sin. It is a reminder to the servant of God of a continual renewal of dedication needed from day to day (I Cor. 9:27).

One can rob God in service to Him. They had robbed God of honor due Him (Mal. 1:6). How had they done this? By profaning the purity of worship (v 7). They had changed the worship requirements and their heart was not in it. The people had drifted to a place where they no longer offered true sacrifice to God (v. 8). A guide offered of old, advises “give until it hurts”—sacrifice. What was going on in Malachi’s day was not sacrifice, but rather purging of that which was not wanted. In worship to God do you give Him the best, the worst, or something in between? It’s a good question and an important one. 

The spiritual leaders of their day robbed God. How? Through unfaithfulness (Mal. 2:1-10). The priests had been corrupted and would not speak and practice the law of God. Their message was corrupt causing many to stumble. The ones charged with giving God’s instruction were not delivering His complete counsel leaving the way of Levi, whom God had entrusted with His covenant. Could it be that a preacher would rob God through corrupt words? They were, and unfortunately some still do. How do messengers of God do such a thing? By “tickling” the ears of hypocrites who want to be seen as religious, but do not want to have the required dedication to God (II Tim. 4:3-4).

The people of Malachi’s day robbed God of His design for the home (Mal. 2:11-17). Homes were broken down by infidelity, and God said in so doing they had “dealt treacherously” with Him (Mal. 2:11). They were unfaithful to God by being unfaithful to their marriage vows. In so doing they had profaned the holiness of God by profaning the sanctity of marriage. The result was a breaking down of the home, breaking down God’s building block for society (v. 16).  Such condemns the soul (Matt. 19:9), and brings about violence both figuratively and literally. Have you ever noticed what God said? “He hates divorce” (2:16). 

Yes, they had robbed God of money. How so? In their tithes and offerings (Mal. 3:7-12). What we give does matter to God (II Cor. 9:7), but clearly revealed in this is the failed condition of heart. All the problems listed by God reveal Spiritual heart trouble. They all go together. The one who complains about sermons on giving is revealing much more than he/she may realize.

The promise of Malachi was that help is on the way (Mal. 4). God’s help has come and is here for the sin-sick soul. Spiritual medicine to heal the heart of men, women, boys, and girls if they will trust and obey. Don’t rob God, for in so doing you rob yourself of eternal life.  

-David Hill, President of Tennessee Bible College