In verse seven, God declares that if the people of Israel return to Him, then He will return to them. Here in verse eight, the people ask, “How shall we return?” God responds with a rhetorical question. The people are robbing God! They again ask how this might be true. God responds that one of the ways the people have been disobeying God is through withholding their tithes and offerings. God declares that if they would just give their full tithes to Him, then they would see an overflowing blessing. This whole exchange exemplifies the fracture of the relationship between Israel and God.
I remember being amazed when I learned that there are approximately 500 verses in the Bible on prayer, fewer than 500 on faith, but more than 2,350 verses on how to handle money. Now I realize that bringing up money is the fastest way to make people uncomfortable in church. But we need to ask ourselves why Jesus himself said more about money than almost any other subject. I believe that Jesus talked so much about money because He knew that so much of our lives would revolve around its use. In this passage, God invites the people of Israel to test Him. In essence, it’s a dare: See what happens if you bring your full tithe. I believe that God still invites us in the same way. He invites us to give in a radical way. To be open-handed with our finances. When we do so, our gifts become acts of worship to which God promises to bring about blessing in our lives.