• Robbing God

    Robbing God
    by Howard B. Rand

    Is it possible for a mortal to rob God? Can a man deprive God of that which is His and thus defraud Him? If the answer to these questions is in the affirmative, then it behooves all to give careful consideration to their motives and performances, lest, through deliberate carelessness, indifference, or by presumptive action, they not only rob God but cheat themselves. God will not hold him guiltless who turns away from the observance of His commandments and refuses to obey His Laws, considering it useless to serve Him.

    To serve the Lord is to discharge the obligations of a servant, for such are all those whom He accepts as worthy of discipleship and to be called by His name; that is, Christian. Singleness of purpose and faithfulness in the discharge of duties and responsibilities are required of all who would be the recipients of His favor, else their service becomes faulty in His sight.

    Do you object to being called a servant? The revelation of Jesus Christ was given by God to His Son so that He might show unto His servants "things which must shortly come to pass" (Rev. 1:1). It is His servants the prophets (those who teach and proclaim) who are to be rewarded with knowledge concerning the Divine purposes:

    "Surely the LORD God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets." (Amos 3:7).

    Blessings are pronounced upon those who are faithfull, for they will have a right to the Tree of Life and are to enter into the gates of the Holy City (Rev. 22:14). What constitutes a servant and what type of service is required of him? In the first place the acceptance of Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour is required to initiating one into His service. Afterward the Christian demonstrates his sincerity by keeping the obligations of a servant through loyalty to His name and obedience to His commandments.

    What are the commandments of Jesus? Jesus Christ laid down a foundation principle for His disciples that their righteousness—that is, their observances of the law—should exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, or else they would not enter into the Kingdom (Matt. 5:20). The gates of the Holy City will not be opened to those who do not qualify in this respect.

    The scribes and Pharisees outwardly appeared righteous—that is, they pretended to reverence and obey the law—but in their hearts they rebelled against its observance. Recognizing this, Jesus took the law that was written upon the tables of stone and, as the Messenger of the New Covenant (Mal. 3:1), He wrote them upon the hearts of His servants according to the terms of the New Covenant. Thus Jesus required that His followers keep the spirit of the law; then the outward observance would take care of itself. All this Jesus clearly set forth in the so-called Sermon on the Mount. Paul as well confirmed the need of keeping the spirit of the Law in proper heart relationship to God and neighbour:

    "He that loveth another hath fulfilled the law. For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. Love worketh no ill to his neighbour; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law." (Rom. 13:8-10).

    This statement expresses the truth because, when the love of God is in the heart of His servant, motivating all of his actions, there will be Christian love and respect for a neighbour's rights. This, in itself, would prevent the servant from contemplating any harm to his neighbour and would also deter him from violating any of the requirements of the law.

    The Bible in no respect sets the Law of the Lord in behalf of the Christian; rather, one who has accepted Jesus Christ as his personal Saviour is moved to obey those laws through love instead of in unwilling adherence to Christian standards to which he does not subscribe in his secret heart. Having grown in grace to the point of mastering this requirement, coming to know the true meaning of "Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself," the servant of the Lord will be more than willing to obey even the least of His Laws. That this is important to his future spiritual well-being is made clear in no uncertain terms by the Lord Himself:

    "Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall; do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven." (Matt. 5:19).

    What are our obligations under the law? One requirement of the law is that His people support the work of the Lord through their tithes; that is, a tenth of their increase (income). Of that tithe one tenth was set aside for the use of the Aaronic Priesthood (Num. 18:26-28). Nine tenths of the tithe was applied to the operation of Kingdom functions, this portion being administered by the Levites. Did Jesus make any pronouncement emphasizing the necessity to continue to observe this law of tithing?

    When accusing the scribes and Pharisees of hypocrisy, Jesus stated they were very careful to see to it that the insignificant herbs were tithes, while they overlooked the more important questions of justice and equity under the law. He did not condemn their observance of the tithing law, but neither did He approve their feigned devotion to duty which was for outward show only. He did, at the same time, excoriate them for their neglect of the weightier matters of the law (Matt. 23:23, Luke 11:42). Moreover, He confirmed and perpetuated the institution of tithing under the law.

    Many Christians neglect this requirement of the Law; some are even presumptuous in their refusal to heed the instructions to bring in their tithes and offerings. Malachi the Prophet records the Lord's controversy with His people because they ignore that part of His Law which deals with obligations they wish to avoid by contending it is no longer applicable to them:

    "Even from the days of your fathers ye are gone away from mine ordinances and have not kept them. Return unto me, and I will return unto you, saith the Lord of hosts." (Mal. 3:7).

    Pretending they do not understand, the people ask, "Wherein shall we return?" The Lord answers with another question, "Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed Me."

    But people counter, "Wherein have we thee?" And the answer goes right to the point, "In tithes and offerings." One day our Lord over the issue of tribute:

    "Tell us therefore, What thinkest thou? Is it lawful to give tribute unto Caesar, or not?" (Matt. 22:17).

    Aware of their craftiness and trickery, Jesus requested a penny, asking them (the Jews who challenged Him) whose inscription was on it. They replied, "Caesar's." Then Jesus said (to them):

    "Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's." (Matt. 22:21).

    Jesus pointed out in this unique manner that, their attempt to entrap Him and accuse Him before Caesar, failed. At the same time He made it obvious to His followers that this in no wise excuses them from meeting the obligations to the Lord; that is, the paying of his tithe for the support of His Kingdom.

    Men of the world recognize no obligation on their part as owed to the Lord, either as to their income or their time. But their Creator will ultimately bring them to judgment and deal with them accordingly.

    His servants, on the other hand, those who have accepted Jesus Christ as their personal Saviour and are in a covenant relationship with Him, being committed to serve Him in every way, should recognize that they are also definitely obligated as to their TIME and MONEY. One seventh of their time and one tenth of their income (increase) is required in order that His servants may continue to propagate the glad tidings of the Kingdom and testify to the way of salvation. It is understandable, of course, that not every one can go out on such missions of witnessing, but each one has the opportunity to participate in the work and activity of those who do. This is the purport of Jesus' statement:

    "He that receiveth a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet's reward; and he that receiveth a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man's reward." (Matt. 10:41).

    It is not only possible for the servants of the Lord to rob God by refusing to live up to their duty as tithers but they also cheat themselves by failing to provide for future dividends to be realized for the work accomplished through the support of the servants who God has called to full-time service.

    A study of Christian witnessing proves that the Gospel, both pertaining to the Kingdom and to salvation, has never been able to go forward without financial support from God-fearing men and women who have been willing to sacrifice in work, with monetary gifts and in time spent in prayer. Thus God has provided a way for His faithful servants to lay up treasures for themselves, not necessarily according to the actual amount given, through work done by themselves or others whom they support, in money given and time spent in intercessory prayer, but in accordance with their ability and in relation to their assets.

    Where assets are concerned, the widow, with her "two mites," cast more unto the Lord's treasury than the abundance paid by the wealthy (Mark 12:41-44), for she cast in all she had. Under this investment program, instituted by God, the poor have as good if not a better opportunity than the rich to acquire Kingdom assets and be assured of dividends on the basis of a "hundredfold" in the age to come.

    This is a type of investment modern finance cannot possibly duplicate. It is impossible under the system of Mammon to offer to the poor like returns on their meager holdings with those of the rich with their abundance. But by taking into account the ratio of one's giving to his assets, the Lord sees to it that the rich shall have no advantage whatever over the poor in respect to the returns on their investments in His Kingdom work. It is indeed a privilege to be His servant and those among His servants who are foolish enough to try to rob God only destroy the wonderful opportunity He has presented to them to lay up for themselves treasures in assets that are incorruptible and which will survive the collapse of the present economic world order now rapidly coming to judgment.

    It is unfortunate but true that very few Christians are today aware of the great opportunity God has given to each one in this time of uncertainty when, through service to the King in the use of our possessions and the investment of our money, we can convert Babylon assets into Kingdom treasure that will lay up an abundance to endure throughout all eternity. This is the only way we can be sure our possessions will be secure—there is no other way to bridge the chasm between the present world order and the new world coming, and carry our assets over into the Kingdom Age. Happy indeed is the man who, recognizing the times and seasons in which we are living, has the faith to act accordingly.
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