God doesn’t bless us with good because we deserve it. Rather, all good from God comes by grace. However, God does wait to bless us until we are mature enough to handle the blessings he wants to give us.
By studying the book of Malachi, we can see at least 5 principles that will show us what we may need to change in our lives so God is free to bless us.
1. If You Want God’s Blessing, You Must Stop Giving Him Leftovers and Start Giving Him Your Best
God can create something out of nothing, but so often he takes what we give to him and then uses that to bring about even better things.
It’s interesting when you look at the miracles of Jesus that he usually involved the participation of the person he was about to bless. For example, in Matthew 14:13-21, Jesus could have just produced fish and bread for the crowd out of thin air. But that’s not what he did. He first asked the disciples to give him all that they had which was just five loaves and two fish. Only then did he multiply their little into much.
Likewise, it’s not about how much you have, it’s about how much it you are willing to give to God. When we give God our leftovers, it shows we do not trust him to provide. As Malachi 1:8-9 states:
When you offer blind animals in sacrifice, is that not evil? And when you offer those that are lame or sick, is that not evil? Present that to your governor; will he accept you or show you favor? says the Lord of hosts. And now entreat the favor of God, that he may be gracious to us. With such a gift from your hand, will he show favor to any of you? says the Lord of hosts.”
To receive God’s best, we must give him our best so he can multiply it into even more.
2. If You Want God’s Blessing, You Must Choose God Above Human Relationships
One of the biggest barriers in the human heart that blocks us from receiving God’s blessings are human relationships. God certainly wants us to love people and to be loved by them. But when we choose people over God, we are turning our backs on the blessings God wants to give us. This must change if you want God’s best. In Malachi 2:11-12, it states:
Judah has been faithless, and abomination has been committed in Israel and in Jerusalem. For Judah has profaned the sanctuary of the Lord, which he loves, and has married the daughter of a foreign god. May the Lord cut off from the tents of Jacob any descendant of the man who does this, who brings an offering to the Lord of hosts!”
God loves all people, but not all people love God. If you choose to be attached to people who do not love God, these relationships will pull you away from his love and then block you from his blessings.
3. If You Want God’s Blessing, You Must Choose to Honor God in Your Human Relationships
It’s not biblically accurate to just say you must put God above people. That is true. God must come first. But to really honor the Lord, we must also love people. Therefore, to honor the Lord and love people without letting people become our god, we must choose to honor the Lord in our relationships with other people.
God wants us to glorify him not by living lonely, isolated lives. Rather, the way we bring glory to God is by bearing his image as we love those people he has placed in our lives. As Malachi 2:13-16 (NIV) says:
Another thing you do: You flood the Lord’s altar with tears. You weep and wail because he no longer looks with favor on your offerings or accepts them with pleasure from your hands. You ask, ‘Why?’ It is because the Lord is the witness between you and the wife of your youth. You have been unfaithful to her, though she is your partner, the wife of your marriage covenant. Has not the one God made you? You belong to him in body and spirit. And what does the one God seek? Godly offspring. So be on your guard, and do not be unfaithful to the wife of your youth. ‘The man who hates and divorces his wife,’ says the Lord, the God of Israel, ‘does violence to the one he should protect,’ says the Lord Almighty. So be on your guard, and do not be unfaithful.”
If you want God’s best in your life, you must choose to honor and love those people he has called you to honor and love.
4. If You Want God’s Blessing, You Must Live Righteously By Grace Rather Than Verbally Justifying Unrighteousness
No one can live up to the standard God has called us to live up to. This is why Jesus came. He fulfilled the law perfectly and lived the life we can never live (Matthew 5:17, Hebrews 4:14-16).
Sadly, one of the ways we often try to deal with our imperfections is verbal justification. We come up with slick arguments to ease our troubled conscious. As Malachi 2:17 says, “You have wearied the Lord with your words. But you say, ‘How have we wearied him?’ By saying, ‘Everyone who does evil is good in the sight of the Lord, and he delights in them.’ Or by asking, ‘Where is the God of justice?’”
We can’t be people who call good bad and bad good. We must be people who know we cannot do good without Christ and therefore we are fully depending on his grace not only for forgiveness of past sins but also for continued obedience going forward.
5. If You Want God’s Blessing, Give Him What You Are Afraid to Lose
When we withhold something from God, we do this out of the fear that we must provide for ourselves.
If you are struggling to give your search for a spouse over to God, it’s because you fear God will not bless you with a spouse and thus you must do it yourself. If you fear giving your finances over to God, it’s because you fear he will not provide for you and therefore you must do it yourself. If you fear losing people’s approval, it’s because you fear God will not fill you and so you must seek fulfillment from others in your own power. But Malachi 3:8-10 states:
Will man rob God? Yet you are robbing me. But you say, ‘How have we robbed you?’ In your tithes and contributions. You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing me, the whole nation of you. Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need.”
Before God will unleash his full blessings on us, he tests us by first asking us to give him all we have. None of us will be perfect. We must live by grace alone. But when we are walking in grace, our repentance will be shown through our trust in God. Once we repent and trust God, that’s when he is free to bless us. As Malachi 3:17-18 says:
They shall be mine, says the Lord of hosts, in the day when I make up my treasured possession, and I will spare them as a man spares his son who serves him. Then once more you shall see the distinction between the righteous and the wicked, between one who serves God and one who does not serve him.”