Recognition of Practical Penitence
Malachi 3:10
Bring you all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in my house, and prove me now herewith, said the LORD of hosts…

Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse All must include those which ought to have been brought and had not. It was the paying up of old debts which would show the practical and sincere character of the penitence. Sin brings its own punishment. God will treat us relatively to our treatment of him. He recompensed this restored nation of Israel according to their doings. He blighted their fields and blemished their flocks, so that the]and groaned beneath the curse. The only way to remove the evil was for the people to turn from the evil of their way. The sign of such return would be an earnest effort to fulfil their religious obligations. Of such fulfilment the offering of tithes might be a represntative instance.

I. THE MORAL HELPLESSNESS OF SENTIMENTAL PENITENCE. Remorse is the caricature of penitence on the one side, and sentimentality on the other. And sentimentality may be the more subtle evil. A man may be distressed about the consequences of sin, who has no estimate of the evil of the sin. A man may be carried away by a surrounding excitement of penitence without having any real humiliation of heart. This may be illustrated from the excitement produced by Savonarola's preaching at Florence, and by the bad sides of modern revivals and missions. Convictions which reach no further than a man's sentiments are not merely helpless to influence conduct, but they are morally mischievous, because they delude, persuading the man that he is right, when his motive and heart are untouched. Some men who persist in living in sin nevertheless have seasons of gushing penitence; but it is only surface feeling, they have no root in themselves. The test of repentance is found in this question - What does it make the man do?

II. THE MORAL VALUE OF PRACTICAL PENITENCE. The Apostle Paul calls it "godly sorrow," and reminds of its practical working. "Ye sorrowed after a godly sort, what carefulness it wrought in you, yea, what clearing of yourselves, yea, what indignation, yea, what fear, yea, what vehement desire, yea, what zeal, yea, what revenge!" If a man steals from another, all his protestations of sorrow are without moral value unless he restores what he has stolen. God looks for moral value in everything relating to his people; and finds it only when they bring in the tithes which they had been withholding. Restoring, dealing resolutely with cherished sins, "cutting off right hands, and plucking out right eyes," are the revelation of sincerity, depth, and moral value, in all professions of penitence. It is only when God can approve of and accept the penitence thus revealed that he can respond by opening the windows of heaven to pour out blessing. - R.T.

Parallel Verses
KJV: Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.

WEB: Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house, and test me now in this," says Yahweh of Armies, "if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough for.

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