Posted by: Pauline | August 7, 2016

Scriptures for Sunday August 14

Malachi 3:8-12

Scholars disagree as to who these verses in Malachi are addressed to, and what which of various offerings are referred to, that were not being given as they were supposed to be. Regardless of these details, however, it is clear that people in a covenant relationship with God were not being faithful to promises they had made, because they failed to give the amount that was required according to the terms of the covenant.

The people may have felt they did not have enough to be able to give more than they already did. But their failure to give more meant that other people had even less, because the offerings were used to support the priests and Levites who performed the sacrifices for the people, as well as supporting widows and orphans who had no one to provide for them.

If they did give more, God says, they would not find themselves in need, because He would make their harvests abundant. But they first have to give before they begin to experience that blessing.

Luke 21:1-4

This passage is often cited to encourage generosity in giving by those who do not think they have a lot to give. But read in context of the verses at the end of the preceding chapter, it also serves as a judgment on those whose religiosity is for show rather than genuine love toward God. Jesus had just been condemning those who – among other offenses – were benefiting at the expense of widows, rather than giving to these poor women who were so needy.

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