My Come, Follow Me studies for this week took me to the book of Malachi. The name Malachi means “my message” (Bible Dictionary, “Malachi.” The lesson was titled “I Have Love You, Saith the Lord” and began with the following introduction.
“I have loved you,” the Lord told His people through the prophet Malachi. But the Israelites, who had suffered generations of affliction and captivity, asked the Lord, “Wherein hast thou loved us?” (Malachi 1:2). After all Israel had been through, they may have wondered whether the history of ancient Israel is really a story of God’s love for His covenant people.
As you reflect on what you have read in the Old Testament this year, what evidence do you find of God’s love? It’s easy to see many examples of human weakness and rebellion. Yet throughout all of that, God never stopped reaching out in love. When the sons of Jacob mistreated their brother Joseph, the Lord still prepared a way to save them from famine (see Genesis 45:4-8). When Israel murmured in the wilderness, God fed them with manna (see Exodus 16:1-4). Even when Israel abandoned Him, turned to other gods, and were scattered, God never fully abandoned them but promised that if they repented, He would gather and redeem them “with great mercies” (see Isaiah 54:7).
Viewed this way, the Old Testament is a story of God’s patient, enduring love. And this story continues today. “The Sun of Righteousness [will] arise with healing in his wings,” Malachi prophesied (Malachi 4:2). Jesus Christ did come, bringing physical and spiritual healing to all who come unto Him. He is the greatest evidence of God’s love for ancient Israel and for all of us.
Malachi taught numerous principles, but the principle for this post is “The Lord opens the windows of heaven for us when we pay our tithing.” We read in Malachi 3:10: “Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove 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.”
This is the principle that I have known for my entire life. My parents married a few weeks before the stock market crash in 1929, and they started their married life in the Great Depression. One of their early experiences involved a decision about tithing. They had a total of $10 in their possession. They owed $10 in tithing, and they needed food. They discussed their problem: “Should we pay our tithing, or should we buy food?” They decided to put their trust in the Lord, and they paid their tithing. The next day, a man came to their house and said, “I heard that you have hay for sale.” They had the hay, and the man paid $100 for a load of hay. They learned a powerful lesson that day: the Lord opens the windows of heaven when they pay their tithing. They had enough money to purchase food and some to spare.
President Gordon B. Hinckley taught the following: “We can pay our tithing. This is not so much a matter of money as it is matter of faith. I have yet to find a faithful tithe payer who cannot testify that in a very literal and wonderful way the windows of heaven have been opened and blessings have been poured out upon him or her” (“Let Us Move This Work Forward,” Ensign, Nov. 1985, 85).
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