Here we have the only instance in Scripture where God invites us to test Him. In other areas, He specifically tells us not to. What is the difference here? In the first instance, the testing of God is an act of faith. In the second, it is quite the opposite: “Do not put the LORD your God to the test as you did at Massah” (Deut. 6:16). What happened at Massah? That was where His children “…tested the LORD saying, ‘Is the LORD among us or not?’” (Ex. 17:7, NIV). They had faithless hearts that accused God of bringing them into the desert to die of thirst.
So that’s what we want to avoid. We want to stay far away from critical, grumbling, unbelieving heart attitudes. And yet, in Malachi, God invites us to test Him! So what does the good kind of testing look like? The passage is describing tithing. He wants us to try this out and see for ourselves just how generous He is when we put our faith and trust in Him… and put this faith into action with our financial decisions. As we discussed last week, being generous towards God ties us into the economy of heaven, into His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.
This brings to mind a formational experience I had on my journey with the Father. When I was pregnant with my first baby, my heart overflowed with exuberant joy when I received the first gift of a onesie for her. How real and tangible that little article of clothing made her to me! Of course, at that point I was beginning to feel her move inside of me as well. I stared and stared at that onesie, imagining my little newborn daughter wearing it in my arms. It meant infinitely more to me than the actual monetary value of its purchase cost.
Not long afterwords, I became aware of a family in financial need in our circle. The mom was also pregnant, in the same trimester as me. Holy Spirit said to me, “Give her the onesie.” I didn’t have any other clothes for her yet. And that little bit of fabric had become so, SO special to me!
I paused briefly, but then wholeheartedly prepared my gift. With tears of joy in my eyes, I pressed it into the hands of that beautiful Peruvian mama. She shyly thanked me. I had to make my exit quickly because I was so overcome with happy emotion that I knew the tears were about to become a cascade. Truly it is more blessed to give than to receive!
Within the next few months, I was overwhelmed with Daddy’s generosity. I was amazed to find four different people giving baby showers for me. The pile of beautiful baby outfits for Ester grew higher and higher. In the end, I literally had way too many to even use for her. I gave half of them away to another precious family also bringing a new little one into the world! Talk about “not having enough room to contain it.” God is true to His word. Test Him!
Have you, too, found out that you can’t out give God? I’d love to hear about it!