The Dead Sea acts as a symbol of one who professes Christ but just receives and never gives time or money in return.
Think about one of your friendships. Do you always initiate get-togethers? In your conversations, do you do most of the talking? How fulfilling is/was this friendship?
The Dead Sea is so called because it cannot support most life. Water flows into it but has no outlet, since it is 1411 feet below sea level. Its water evaporates and leaves the water highly saline. The Dead Sea is also shrinking daily due to dams built upstream. Similarly, our hearts may receive love from God, family and friends daily. Hearts of people who do not give love, time or money in return become lifeless because they have no outlet. Christians are to be conduits. We are taught to be generous and giving of our love, time and money. These offerings are a part of our worship.
Read Malachi 1:1-13, summarize these verses. Then read verse 14.
1. How did priests show contempt for God’s name?
2. Is it worse to make a promise but later break it than to not commit at all?
Read Malachi 3:8-12.
3. What is God’s instruction to His people in verse 10?
4. What is the reward for obedience? Have you experienced this firsthand?
Read Matthew 23:23.
5. What did Jesus call scribes (teachers of the law) and Pharisees?
6. What was more important than being sure to give a tenth of the spices?
7. Which do you think is easier to obey—giving one tenth (a tithe) of income or practicing justice, mercy, and faithfulness?
Read Revelation 22:17
8. Who extends an invitation to come to Jesus?
9. To whom is this invitation given?
10. What must a person do to earn the “water of life?”
If the the group is larger than 5 people, break into smaller groups of 3 or 4. Pray for the love flowing into your lives from God. Pray that you would not build any “dams” blocking God’s love from flowing into your lives. Pray for the love flowing out of your lives. Pray that you would work as conduits of God’s love to other people.
With whom can you share what you learned today? With whom can you share your love, time, and money so that God’s love can pour out of you?
We encourage groups to try the Discovery Bible Method as an alternative to these discussion questions. You will find details for this Bible study method here. For this week, please study Malachi 1:1-14.
1. Priests showed contempt by placing defiled food on the altar. They presented imperfect animals to God while keeping nicer animals for themselves. See verses 6-8 and verse 13.
2. It is worse to make a promise then break it.
3. God’s instruction was to bring the whole tithe into the storehouse. His people are to test his instruction.
4. Reward for obedience was to receive so many blessings, there wouldn’t be enough storage space. God would also prevent pests from devouring crops and would prevent vines from not casting fruit.
5. Jesus called them hypocrites.
6. The most important focus was to be practicing justice, mercy and faithfulness.
8. The Spirit and the bride (church) say, “Come.”
9. Whoever is thirsty or wishes to may come.
10. “The water of life” (salvation) cannot be earned. It is a free gift.