We chose to take a detour to investigate the mention of Jacob, and paused in our progress to open documents containing his life's journey.
Why did God bring Jacob into conversation when accusing Israel of robbery?
During his adventurous trek through the wilderness, God visited Jacob and promised, "Behold I am with you and will keep you wherever you go and will bring you back to this land." (Genesis 28:15) In return for God’s promise of love, protection, and return to his home. Jacob vowed "If God will be with me and keep me in this way...then the Lord shall be my God. And all that You give me I will give a full tenth to You." (Genesis 28:20)
On his deathbed, Jacob asked "the God who has been my Shepherd...and the Messenger who has redeemed me from all evil" to bless his two grandsons. Jacob stated this covenant was both spiritual as well as physical, extending even after his death. Genesis 48:15-16
In this blessing, Jacob placed his hands upon the boys' heads and declared, "let my name be carried on and the names of my fathers Abraham and Isaac". Through this bequest, they carried the blessings for all generations as a covenant with their God, who promised, "I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you." In passing on this part of the blessing, Jacob expressed to his children the eternal covenant of the "promised Seed of redemption" had not yet been completed. Genesis 48:15-16
That part of the eternal blessing would be placed on these grandsons through Joseph from Jacob’s father, Abraham. Genesis 49:22-24
So, in Malachi 3:6-12, to make it clear Jacob's vow was being discussed, God called them the "children of Jacob". God was declaring his rightful expectation of them through their father's covenant. In faithfulness, He had upheld his part of the covenant, but they had been withholding the promised tenth. He declared this robbery and exclaimed their excuses were wearisome. Yet, He also challenged them to "put Me to the test...if I will not open the windows of heaven and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need". (3:10) They could personally know His faithfulness as Jacob and really experience the goodness of a relationship with God.
The intended family heritage promised the forefathers was now being disputed between the offspring and God. God desired a spiritual relationship with them. Arrogantly, they wanted to receive an uncontested inheritance, regardless of their disobedience to the conditions of Jacob's covenant.
CHALLENGE: Have we been guilty of breaking any vow promised to "the Lord who does not change"?
And extending even a wider circle...
Has our generation neglected vows made in the past to "the Lord who doesn't change" which will hinder blessings for future generations?