"But you ask, 'How are we to return?' Will a mere mortal rob God? Yet you rob me. But you ask, 'How are we robbing you?' In tithes and offerings." — Malachi 3:7-8
The Israelites are not sure how to come back to God. God lays out a fairly simple path: if they stop robbing him, he will help them return.
In the Old Testament, giving God tithes and offerings wasn't simply about money. Gifts brought as a tithe were used to provide offerings of food at the temple. People were to eat part of an offering themselves and to share it with the Levites and the poor (Deuteronomy 14:22-29). Tithes and offerings were about sharing a meal with God and others—a way to build relationships and to share God's material blessings.
By telling the people to stop robbing him of tithes and offerings, God is asking them to come and share his table again. Sitting down for a meal together won't automatically set everything right, but it's a good start. It's a simple gesture indicating that God is still their Father and they are his children. It begins to restore the relationship between the people and the priests and Levites. People provide the food, and the priests and Levites teach and represent the presence of God. Sharing with the poor also begins to restore justice between those who have enough and those who don't.
What might you offer today to build, restore, or continue a relationship with God and others?