Malachi 3: Is God Justified?
You sometimes hear the complaint that is hard to believe in a God who would demand that people worship Him. Why would God demand that all of these people worship Him?
Malachi 3 puts some strong language into this discussion.
Mal 3:8 Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings.
Mal 3:9 Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation.
Obviously, this is talking about offerings, but the concept is similar. Why is God getting mad at people for not giving Him things?
I first find it important to take a step back when coming to this discussion. There are two separate questions here. Why can God make this demand? Why does God make this demand?
The first one is easy. If the God of the Bible is true, then God is the creator of the universe. As the creator, He certainly has a right to anything in the entire creation. Think about a movie. If I create a movie, the rights belong to me. I can modify that movie in any way I see fit. If I create a company, I can pay my employees what I see fit. As the creator, he certainly has rights of ownership on His creation. God gives us things to enjoy, but all of it ultimately belongs to the creator. He is not demanding anything beyond what is rightfully His.
The second question is a little bit different. God does have a right to His creation, but should He demand from it? One thing to remember in this situation is it is hard for us to view things from the perspective of God. Does God have a sufficient reason for doing what He does? He certainly could. It is impossible for limited humans to be able to say what an infinite God should do. We do not have an awareness of all the circumstances that He would have an awareness of. We are not in the right position to make that judgment.
However, even if we were, I think about it this way. Constitutionally, we have freedom of speech here in America. For the sake of argument, let’s say that is a right to say whatever we want (I understand it is not for things like slander, hate speech etc.). Even though I have the right to free speech, I do not say everything that pops into my mind. Why? Many times, I care about the people around me. I don’t want to hurt them, so I hold myself back from something I am entirely free to say. It is my generosity that improves the conditions for the people around me.
I think about God and again that He is entirely justified in demanding everything. For me, the better question is then why does God give any back to us? It is out of His generosity that we receive things to enjoy. I don’t see it as a question of why He takes because I don’t see how you can deny His ownership. The better question is why God gives to us at all. He certainly does not have to, but He chose to because He loves us.
I know that this is a popular complaint about God, but I simply don’t see the basis for it. Whether or not we like what God has demanded, there is no way that He is not justified in making those demands. As the creator, the world is ultimately His. The better question is why He gives to us so generously.