" Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed Me."
—Mal. iii. 8.
Other things I withhold from Him besides the tithes and offerings that are His due.
Do I not rob Him of thought? He is a theme of study and meditation that need never become monotonous, wearisome, stale; He has so many sides and aspects. His existence, His holiness. His saving grace, His sympathy and friendship : here are worlds to roam over, which I cannot exhaust. But it is at rare intervals that I turn to Him, and then I am content with the briefest interview. Sometimes I find the recollection of Him troublesome and tormenting. I do not practise His presence in earnest thought.
Do I not rob Him of fear? My age has to a great degree lost the reverence that marked former generations, and I am too entirely the child of my age. I have forgotten the seemly habit of walking softly before the Lord. He has ceased to be so sacred, so awful, so glorious in majesty, as He used to be. I seldom feel myself in a shrine where I must tread quietly, and must shut my lips, and must lay myself in the dust. I am merry where I should be serious, and flippant when I should tremble. I do not fear enough.
Do I not rob Him of love ? It matters to Him, indeed it does, if I refuse Him the love of gratitude, and the love of trust, and the love of adoration and obedience and delight. He loses a man, a woman, created in His image, and for His glory. He forfeits an affection which He has been eager to encourage and to keep. The ever-blessed God is poorer, sadder, sorrowfuller, because of my rebelliousness and negligence. Have I considered the pain, the wound, the enfeeblement, the wrong I inflict on Him, when I do not love Him well?
Do I not rob Him of speech ? It is wonderful, a good Bishop of last century said, that " what is every man's chief concern should be no man's conversation ; " and that is hardly an exaggeration of the facts of the case. Amidst the crowding words that are continually crossing the threshold of my lips, how rarely do I interpose a sentence on behalf of God, or in praise of Him whom I call my Saviour and my Master, or in commendation of truth and righteousness! It is most sinful to be so tongue-tied.
And do I not rob Him of life? He requires the influence of my life; a character restful, fragrant, impressive—how much He can do with it! He requires the prayers of my life; petitions which are believing, reiterated, specific and particular, wide-reaching and catholic, wield an invincible power. He requires the endeavour of my life ; if only I am faithful in that which is least, I magnify His name and widen the bounds of His kingdom. But how little of my life is undeniably His!
What can I do but claim the mercy Christ gave to the robber on the Tree?