God Will Open His Good Storehouse in Heaven
Deuteronomy 28:12-14; Malachi 3:7-12
The Lord will open for you His good storehouse, the heavens, to give rain to your land in its season and to bless every work of your hand; and you will lend to many nations, but you will not borrow. And the Lord will make you the head and not the tail, and you will only be above, and not be underneath, if you listen to the commandments of the Lord your God which I am commanding you today, to follow them carefully, and do not turn aside from any of the words which I am commanding you today, to the right or the left, to pursue other gods to serve them.
“From the days of your fathers you have turned aside from My statutes and have not kept them. Return to Me, and I will return to you,” says the Lord of hosts. “But you say, ‘How shall we return?’ “Will a man rob God? Yet you are robbing Me! But you say, ‘How have we robbed You?’ In tithes and offerings. You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing Me, the whole nation of you! Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house, and test Me now in this,” says the Lord of hosts, “if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you a blessing until it overflows. Then I will rebuke the devourer for you, so that it will not destroy the fruits of the ground; nor will your vine in the field cast its grapes,” says the Lord of hosts. “All the nations will call you blessed, for you shall be a delightful land,” says the Lord of hosts.
The mountains and fields are blooming with colors and it is the time for bearing fruit. The landowner does not spare a glance at the unripened fruit, but reaches for the plump and ripened ones. Let us look back on our lives. Before turning 20 years old, we grow up under our parents’ roofs, playing with our friends without a care in the world. Then, we take interest in the opposite sex and get married, thinking that all there is to life is to marry then bear and raise children. Yet, children cannot raise themselves; they have to be cared for, fed, clothed, and educated. However, do our children always turn out the way we want? Do they listen when you yell at them? We have all gone through this growing up. Life is a series of attachments. A couple needs to have an attachment of love in order to conceive; the fetus is then attached to the mother by an umbilical cord; after birth, the baby attaches to the mother by latching onto her nipple. Next is a series of many questions: “Did you get into that high school?” “Did you get into that college?” “Did you get the job?” By the time we’re in our 40s and 50s, our children are now in junior and high school. Once they become of age, they are no longer our children. We pay no attention to crime reports because we think they do not pertain to us, but how many times have we heard someone saying tearfully, “I never thought it would be my own child committing these crimes…” Most universities in Seoul are all prestigious schools, and we spend huge sums of money to send our children to good colleges.
But even if they do end up attending some prestigious university, study abroad, or even finish graduate school, will any of this guarantee their faith in God? Tens of thousands of dollars are invested to get them into college, but do you have any concern for their withered, leperous souls? Have you ever had them tutored in the Bible for their souls’ benefit? They must study the Bible from youth. Look at the attire, hair, or attitude of children these days. Parents think nothing of those things.
They will pay dearly for it before God. Jesus is no fool. We must believe with conviction according to the Bible. Has anyone been ruined by believing in the Bible? If there has, God said to report it to Him. For the family that believes in Christ, there will be no beggars in their following generations (Ps 37). History attests to this. What good is it if parents save up or invest in worldly things? If they don’t teach their children to have upright faith, then everything will perish in their generation.
Two days before Jesus was crucified, He said, “For the coming of the Son of Man will be just like the days of Noah.” Look at different forms of sin in the days of Noah. Incest was prevalent, and all men and women were busy committing adultery, following their lustful eyes. How numerous are the “love” hotels and motels in Seoul where men and women sin? Even married individuals and parents will go there to sin. Children learn from their parents. Sodom and Gomorrah are not things of the past. The church must be alert to avoid God’s fearful judgment. Married couples must trust and love each other. But most of all, we must love and fear God. This is the secret to prosperity in each home. How many years will you live on this planet? Life is like a falling leaf; it won’t last a year and the wind will blow it away. It is also like the fog, like dew that disappears when the sun rises. It is like smoke that vanishes with a spark when the furnace is on fire. Moses lived 120 years, but his life flew by like a shooting arrow. Even if you live 70 or 80 years, it will feel like an instant. So, please prepare for the eternal afterlife. Don’t hold onto the mentality that death only comes for other people. We must realize that we are all born once and that we must leave this world someday. God sent Jesus to do His work to forgive our sins, and now He asks us to work for the gospel. Will you never do God’s work and continue to just live in vain with your spouses and children, night and day? Please listen carefully: Today, I am preaching so that we do not become “thieves.” Whoever steals is called a thief. The Bible clearly explains what stealing is (Mal 3:8). He said it is a sin equivalent to murder, robbery, rape, and lying.
Worrying about tithing
As a Christian, have you tithed properly according to the Bible? When I was ministering in Masan, it was difficult for everyone to eat three meals a day. We would make soup out of corn flour in a big pot and share it. One elderess cried out to her husband, “It is my utmost wish for you to attend church! I could die with no regrets if you did just that!” Her husband was a rich farmer. When he first came to the church, he asked, “I heard that believing in Jesus costs a lot. How much does it cost?” I asked back, “At what cost will you believe?” He replied, “Since I have to quit smoking when I come to church, I will believe in Jesus if the cost is about the price of cigarettes.” When I said, “That would do,” he was content because it was less than what he had in mind. After about five months, his offering doubled. People around him said, “If you drink alcohol while attending church, it’s a big disgrace to the church and you are commiting a sin.” So he stopped drinking and offered what he had saved from not drinking. However, he was baptized three years later. When I asked his wife as to why he wasn’t getting baptized, she told me that he was afraid to because he heard somewhere that he needs to give tithes once he’s baptized. One day when I met him, I said, “You should get baptized.”He replied,“But then I need to offer tithes?” So I said, “Even if you’re not baptized, if you attend church and confess your faith, you must tithe.” He then asked, “Do I need to give a tenth of all my produce, or can I first spend and then offer the rest?” So I answered, “You can either tithe before spending or after deducting expenses.” So, he agreed to get baptized. After being baptized, he began to read the Bible. He offered two sacks of rice every month, and donated 20 sacks of rice for Thanksgiving. When I asked him why his tithing had increased so much, he responded, “After reading the Bible, I realized that I haven’t been offering my tithe properly.” Hearing this, I blessed him earnestly. Within five years, he became a deacon. As you can see, many may feel that tithing is a burden in the beginning.
Actions must reflect a renewed life.
God does not want us to live in distress, tears, or pain (Lam 3:33). He desires that we live joyfully without worries and is pleased to bless us (Num 6:24-27) which is why He sent His only Son, Jesus, to this world. Because of our sins, Jesus shed His precious blood on the cross and cleansed us of the original, ancestral, and self-committed sins. Bestowing the righteousness of Jesus upon us, He pronounced, “You are without sin” and made us—who had formerly been children of the devil—into His own sons and daughters. This is our true hope! Unbelievers fear death, but we do not need to fear it for our Lord died and resurrected, shattering the powers of death. The Bible portrays death as “sleep.” When our Lord returns, we, too, will resurrect and enter into the eternal kingdom of heaven. What comfort this is! Whether we live or die, eat or drink, we must live for the Lord. Whoever believes in Jesus will not perish but have eternal life ( John 3:16).
Those who receive salvation are renewed. We are no longer our old selves. Our past lives have been crucified with our Lord, and we can live by faith in Jesus today. It is no longer I who lives but Jesus who lives in me. Our former sins are frightening. If we believe in Jesus, our actions must conform to our faith. Just as how a soulless body is dead, faith without deeds is dead ( Jas 2:26). When we believe and act according to the Word, we will, indeed, be blessed. Do not speak empty words: Once you have determined to do something, actions must follow suit. Tithing is a command by God; it is not optional. In today’s Scripture, the Lord says to the Israelites, “Return to Me,” to which they respond, “How shall we return?” So God replied, “In tithes and offerings.” Hypocrites are what they are, and their shame knows no bounds. Even after the entire nation stole from God, they had the nerve to ask, “When did we ever steal?” God commanded the whole tithe. God said in the Bible, “Do not test God.” But only concerning tithing did He say, “Test Me in this.” He dares us to dedicate offerings and test Him whether He will open His good storehouse and pour overflowing blessings upon our household.
By failing to give tithes, our lives are cut short and our businesses go bankrupt. We are crushed by the overwhelming debt we owe to banks, credit companies, loan sharks, and family members. Why are we stingy towards God? God says, “You’re so tightfishted in your offerings to Me, why wouldn’t I be the same way to you?” He shuts the door of blessings. In the Old Testament era, everyone was either a farmer or nomad. If God didn’t permit rain and dew (Jer 14:4), how could they prosper? According to today’s passage, it was like bronze closing heaven off (Deut 28:23); even if rain fell, it did not reach the ground. This is the Word of God. Children are a delight. However, if you want to raise them to be successful people who make their families, nation, and fellow countrymen proud, make sure that they receive God’s Word. They will surely not fail. Through the power of the Word of God, they will marry and raise families that are united in faith. If that’s not the case, when things fall apart socially and financially, one spouse will desert the other, and their children will become orphans overnight.
Tithing is the blessing among blessings. The windows of heaven are opened and blessings will pour out. God promises riches, health, and blessings, so do not rob God. When money is tight and we earn $2,000, we grieve having to lose $200 for tithing. But it’s not a great loss. If you offer that money, it may be a clear loss in the material world, but that loss will become gain the moment we offer it to God. What a blessing! To tithe is God’s earnest command. Why? Because He commands it so He can bless us, to make us prosper. We must understand this. People don’t have to obey other people’s instructions if they don’t want to. However, God’s commands must be obeyed throughout the generations. How vain would it be if only the parents’ generation lived well? The good command of God seeks to have the subsequent generations prosper as well. Malachi 3:10 says, “‘Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house, and test Me now in this,’ says the Lord of hosts, ‘if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you a blessing until it overflows.’” The church is the house of God. This was also the case in the time of Moses. Every year, a tenth of the harvest was to be given to the Lord, a tenth distributed to the poor, and a tenth contributed to church celebrations. How blessed were the people who lived during King Hezekiah’s reign after testing God with their tithing? They enjoyed an age of peace, and no one fell ill or died (2 Chr 31:4-21). Do not be frugal towards God. I practice what I preach. There is nothing that is spared when it is for God. I dedicate the best. I do this when building churches as well. We must not be indifferent towards God’s house while only concerning ourselves with our own.
God searches the heart and examines the mind. Tithing is introduced in Genesis 14 of the Old Testament. When the allied forces of Mesopotamia attacked and plundered Abraham’s nephew Lot and his wealth, Abraham took 318 well-trained soldiers and regained what had been stolen. On the way back, Abraham met Melchizedek, the king of Salem, and offered the best he had. Look at how Melchizedek blessed Abraham. Jacob also set up a pillar at Bethel (née Luz), prayed and vowed to tithe. Because of this, his children lived well, and from his descendants, the Messiah, the King of kings, was born. Tithing does not disappear. It is not our own. Strictly speaking, the entirety belongs to God. Is our body our own? We were all naked in the beginning. We didn’t bring anything with us. Even my body belongs to God. We start by believing that only a tenth belongs to God, but once our faith grows, we begin to realize that everything belongs to God. King David confessed, “I have given to God what God has given me. So it is not that I have given to God but all is Yours. (1 Chr 29:16).” God heard this and blessed him, saying, “The kingdom will never leave your house.” During the reign of his son, the great, exceptionally intelligent, and wise king Solomon, Israel enjoyed a peaceful time. Every house was rich; no one was poor. According to today’s Scripture, if you don’t offer tithes, it is as if the whole country is stealing and you will get cursed. It’s a frightening word. If you have 100 fruit trees, 10 belong to God. If you have 100 cows, 10 belong to God. It is a tenth of your income. You must not offer your tithe with what is left over after paying everything else. God searches the heart and examines the mind (Jer 17:10). He knows all our minds. God declared to King Belshazzar of Babylon, “Mene, mene, tekel, upharsin,” meaning, “I have weighed you and yet why are you so light?” It also signifies, “You who forgot Me will perish.” He died that night at the age of 62. Be sure to remember these verses: Lev 27:30, 34; Num 18:21, 32; Deut 12:5-18, 14:22- 29. It is a tithe of all produce. I also tell pastors to offer tithes unconditionally from whatever earnings they make. It must not go straight into your own pocket. Please read these verses: 1 Kgs 8:15-17; Amos 4:4; 2 Chr 31:4-29; Neh 13:10- 13. Does the Bible lie?
What is a perfect tithe?
Some say, “Tithing was for the age of the law, so it is not necessary for the age of grace.” People who say this are out of their minds. Jesus did not come to abolish the law but to fulfill it (Matt 5:17). Jesus said to the religious leaders and Pharisees, “Aren’t you afraid of hell? Shouldn’t you be offering tithes too?’ (Matt 23:23). When people are asked, “Why don’t you tithe?” They reply, “Because it’s hard to make a living.” Life doesn’t become difficult just because you deduct $200 from $2,000. Please don’t think like that from now on. Don’t try to deceive God. There are some people who give $100 from $1,000 and live on the remaining $900. So, how can you not tithe when you receive $3,000 to $4,000? Would God, who created the universe with His single Word, neglect the families of His sons and daughters who love Him and keep His commandments? At dinner, the parents would say, “Where did the second child go? Don’t eat everything, leave the side dishes.”That is the heart of the parents. Even sinful men have this heart for their children, then would not God, who loved mankind so dearly and saved us even by killing His son Jesus, love us even more? The amount of tithe is not decided by people. God decides. If you earned $2,000 this month, you would offer $200. And if you get a bonus, you have to pay tithe on that, too. That is proper tithing. Please don’t consider this lightly and treat that pocket money as if it’s all yours, just because you weren’t expecting it. This is the key for you to live well.
Tithing started from the garden of Eden.
Please listen carefully. Where did tithing start? It started in the garden of Eden. God created the garden of Eden and blessed Adam and Eve, saying, “Govern over all things, keep it, and multiply on the earth.” Then He commanded, “You may eat the fruit of any tree in the garden. But you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil which is in the center of the garden.” In the garden of Eden, leaving the portion of the tree of knowledge to God was tithing. Literally, there is no such statement that says, “The fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil is mine.” However, context-wise, we can gauge that the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil belongs to God and cannot be touched. If you eat it, you will surely die. Disobedience is a sin. The wages of sin is death (Rom 6:16-23). Sin entered into the world through one man’s sin (Rom 5:12). It is not the devil who created the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. It was God. If you do not believe in the Word of God, then you are on the side of the devil. Adam and Eve failed to tithe by taking what belonged to God and eating the forbidden fruit. We must be aware of how frightening of a sin this is. Because they disobeyed the Word and ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, they were guilty of stealing. Not only that, because they ate it in the sight of God, they weren’t just thieves, but robbers. One who steals surreptitiously without the owner’s knowledge is a thief, but one who steals in front of the owner is a robber. Adam was in the palm of God’s hand, yet still God called out, “Adam, where are you?”This is similar to a mother pretending to not know where her child is hiding during a game of peek-a-boo.
Jesus crucified alongside the robbers
The Scriptures say that if you add words that are not in the Bible, you will receive double the curses (Rev 22:18-19).These are not my words.God said that all the languages of the world have meaning and that there are no coincidences. Was it a coincidence that there were thieves to the left and right of Jesus when He was crucified? You must know the profound and mysterious significance embedded in the Bible. What result has no cause? The present cannot exist without the past, as it is a bridge from the past to the future. Jesus, who is God Himself, was crucified alongside the robbers because the incident in the garden of Eden had to be taken care of. Jesus took responsibility and looked at the robbers on both sides. Aren’t all descendants of mankind the thieves who ate the forbidden fruit before God? How terrible and heartbreaking is this? You must understand the Bible and will of God.
Everyone, offer your tithes properly. The moment you offer properly, your household will do well. All the things that didn’t work out in the past will be solved, and pending authorizations will get the green light. You just need to repent by saying, “God, I am a robber. Can You please resolve this?” This time around, our church is appointing eldresses who are over the age of 44. In the old days, the older eldresses were the ones who oversaw the church and made the decisions. However, our church now appoints those who: are faithful in worship and church life; are exemplary in their daily lives and work hard; offer their tithes thoroughly. Elderesses are the spiritual mothers who take care of the church. They shouldn’t come and go just expecting to be served by others. Young adults should become eldresses and visit districts, cell groups, the poor and needy, and the hospitalized, to help and comfort them through prayer and praise. Then, the church will bloom and become active. I went to the mountains and prayed in tears for those who are to be ordained. I am not living because of my own wits, but because of tenacity. This is living by faith. I desire to see, with my own eyes, all of you offering tithes to God and your children being blessed and prosperous. Raise your children well in faith. Children must be healthy, upright, courageous, motivated, diligent, and filial to their parents. The Scriptures say that the crows and eagles in the valley will eat the eyeballs of the children who talk back and do not listen to their parents (Prov 30:17), and that honoring their parents will prolong their lives (Eph 6:1-3; Deut 5:16). Otherwise, their lives will be cut short. Children who obey their parents will never die prematurely. You can get new husbands and wives, but once the parents leave, you can’t see them again until you return to dust. We must serve our parents as we serve our God. Listen carefully and come to your senses.
Please don’t consider tithing as a burden. Your load becomes lightened and it’s the path to prosperity. If the President signed a contract with you stating, “I will give you $100 million tomorrow,” would you doubt it? The position and title of President gives assurance of that promise. So even though tomorrow has not yet come, your heart would be filled with expectation and joy. In the same way, when you offer perfect tithes, God promises to open the gates of heaven and pour out such blessings to your household and business that the blessings will overflow with no place to store them (Mal 3:10). It will be like the showers of blessing pouring down on parched land (Ezek 34:26). The moment it rains on dry ground, the ground emits a burnt smell. Then, after a while, the ground becomes moist. Think of a farmer’s heart whenever it rains during a drought. Think of his hearty laugh as he stands on his front porch, watching the refreshing showers pouring down on his land. Children who caused trouble will become different after the showers of blessings. They will start to study. When you excel in your studies, you will be able to oversee others. You must study well. As written in today’s text, we must become the head, and not the tail, in all things we do. We should be on top and not at the bottom. You must become the lender and not the borrower (Deut 28:12-15).
For what purpose did God command us to tithe?
God commanded us to tithe so that we can acknowledge His ownership of all creation. It is an act of acknowledging that God is the Creator and Ruler of all things and that only God can possess them (1 Chr 29:11, 14; Hag 2:8; Psa 24:1; Gen 1:1, 1:3). Nothing was created without the Word, so only God is the master. Men are His servants (Matt 25:14). When the master says, “Bring that thing that’s in the warehouse, on the second stairwell on the right,” the servants must say “Yes, Sir,” and obey his command. Tithing is like that: There must be wealth in the house of God, so we must bring it. Why are we making the church, the house of God, poor (Mal 3:10)? The master knows what is in the storehouse. He knows every single item and keeps count. The servant does not know.
Moreover, tithing is thanksgiving for God’s grace. It is the sign of the believer. It indicates that you are a saint. The very basic principle of a believer is tithing. Just as you register a newborn’s name for identity, giving tithing declares that you are a believer in God.Tithing is a sign of life (Prov 3:9- 10). God will open the doors to heaven according to the wishes of your heart and He will give you health and blessings. When you tithe, you will be blessed when you come in and blessed when you go out (Deut 28:6; Ps 121:8). When you go out, you will no longer need to sigh or feel insecure, doubting if anything will work out for you today. Faith is an adventure. It is going out boldly because you believe that you will be blessed when you go out and blessed when you come in.
If you don’t tithe, you will be unsuccessful in anything you do. Didn’t God say He will send a “curse” in Malachi 2:2? He said that the sky would turn bronze. There will be no rain or dew, nor will there be any sunlight, moonlight or starlight (Deut 28). Not even sunlight can shine through heavy, dark clouds, but imagine that your house and business are blocked by iron. You will suffocate and be filled with worries and fear. You will be deceived, and worms will come out and eat everything (Deut 28:42; Mal 3:11). Your spouses will be taken away. Is Deuteronomy 28:30 a lie? I believe in the Bible. When you farm, everything will be gone before you can bear fruit. God will send a storm and blow everything away. You will hunt an ox, but you won’t be able to eat it, and others will come and eat it all (Deut 28:31). Even if you work hard all year, you will get robbed overnight. These are all terrifying disasters. Don’t take this as a fictional story told by some pastor; this is God’s Word. I will also be struck by lightning if I do not tithe. God needs to open the windows of heaven and pour out blessings for us until it overflows. If you look at the original Hebrew text, it means that the blessings will be overflowing out of control. It means that the vines will go over to other people’s houses so that everyone can eat from them. Every bowl in the house will be full. Rather than an expensive bowl that a master’s hand touches only once a year, we should become the daily bowl that never falls out of the master’s hand.
Do not rob God’s tithes from now on. After Jesus offered up thanksgiving to God for the two fish and five barley loaves, a great miracle took place. Please take note that Jesus did not give thanks because there was plentiful food. He earnestly gave thanks to God for the little that He had, and that is why the miracle, the bountiful blessing, took place. So, don’t get frustrated or anxious about having to offer tithes, and please believe that individuals, families, and businesses will receive the blessing of wealth when they thank God. Be nice to your spouses. When a husband loves his wife, he is loving himself (Eph 5:28). The food of the couple is love. Couples live by feeding off each other’s love and comfort. How grateful are we, knowing that as we tithe, our marital relationships and relationships with our children will get better, that our businesses will prosper, and that we will feel rewarded and grateful for our lives of faith. How grateful are we to not fear even if we were to die today, because we have the assurance that we are heaven-bound. I bless you in the name of the Lord that we will triumph with the Word God gave us and that our descendants will be blessed with prosperity.
Rev. Abraham Park
Oct 27, 2004 (Wednesday Service)
*This post can also be read in 'Champyungan'. (http://champyungan.com/en/)