“Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house, and try Me now in this,” says the Lord of hosts, “If I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you such blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it.” (Malachi 3:10)
In the three places in the Old Testament where the Scripture speaks of the “windows of heaven,” the Hebrew word refers to sluice or sluice gates. The windows of heaven are like sluice gates.
Imagine, if you will, an enormous dam, a majestic concrete structure cutting across a great river, the water backing up behind it. The sluice gates are opened, and out of the front of the dam there are gushing torrents of water being released. The water churns through the generators, sending power to distant areas, and rushes down to fill the area below. Like a flash flood, the water surges forth along the riverbed, clearing debris where it has accumulated, and later on, the water will flow more smoothly in the river, eventually depositing into a lake where people will gather for refreshing.
The spirit of praise is like the gushing forth of a mighty dam
Amidst a torrent of praise, this image also reflects the dynamism that takes place when people praise the Lord. It is something that rises on the tide of the sense of the Spirit’s presence when people gather for prayer and offer their wholehearted praise. When you praise it is as though there are gushing torrents that burst forth as from a mighty dam. Power is generated and will go forth as people move in the spirit of praise and worship in the Lord’s name. Praise Him, and His power will be manifested at a distance as well as in your midst.
The river of praise, rising from the living water within the people of God, sends the overflow of the Spirit to sweep before it the “debris” that gathers in the realm around you, where the powers of darkness have created filth and confusion, making way for the entry of God’s kingdom rule. As a result of praise, there will be places where people will gather for refreshing, to walk by the still waters, and be nourished. Let the spirit of praise abound, for it shall be like the gushing forth of a mighty dam.
Flourishing growth and increase
This great text on stewardship and giving is well known as the classic passage on tithing, that is giving the first ten percent of your income to the Lord. People who learn the Lord’s way learn that you can never outgive God. To walk in His way only releases more of the blessings that He’s promised, not blessings you buy or earn. It’s an action of faith.
The “windows of heaven” are shower and outflow of God’s blessing abounding in every part of your life and every circumstance of your experience. The Bible shows that only in response to people who know the Lord and then obey Him in their giving with tithing will the way be opened to the windows of heaven of God’s blessing upon them. Why would anyone want to be closed up to what God can do in the massiveness of His blessing?
The expression “windows of heaven” don’t just refer to financial blessing. It refers to God releasing flourishing growth and increase in our lives.
Where else does the Bible refer to the “windows of heaven”?
There are three places in the Old Testament where the expression “windows of heaven” is used:
The flood in Noah’s time (Genesis 7:11) – The surging torrent here represents judgment.
In the midst of a famine (2 Kings 7:19) – In the pouring out of blessing from heaven, God increases the natural resources around us.
Spiritual resources (Malachi 3:10) – God says He wants His people to sow in the physical realm in a way that indicates they’re sowing to the spiritual.
There is nothing that tests a person’s true view of the invisible realm more than taking ten percent of your income and laying it on the altar before God. It is illogical to give it away, but it is an act of faith that declares, “I believe in the Living God, and I sow my faith into His promise.”
He doesn’t say you have to do it to go to heaven, to be loved by God, or in order to know the kindness of His mercies along the way of your life. But He says that if you would like to see a harvest of overflow, of spiritual blessing, and provision from heaven’s sources into your earthly setting, then He’s calling you to make this sowing into the realm of the Spirit. Then you make up your mind whether you’ll do it.
Tithing is not an Old or New Testament principle, it’s a life principle. When you come to the life principle and respond, something opens.
There’s more than you can imagine
The term “sluice gate” means a channel which regulates flow by a valve or a gate. Those resources are held in reserve until, by the action of the person who opens the sluice gates, they are disbursed. The term also refers to the enormity of the resources that are behind it. A “slue” or “slew” is something there is a whole lot of. The “sluice” is that great reserve that is behind the gate.
This picture of the sluice gates or the windows of heaven, is a reserve that is held and waiting to be disbursed, and the disbursement is measured out by the person who controls the gates.
This simple picture has profound implications. God is saying, There is more than you can imagine, and it’s held in reserve in heaven. God is not stingy. He’s not saying He’s only going to do this when you pay up. He doesn’t need the cash. What He’s saying is that He’s only going to be able to release these spiritual blessings when you encounter spiritual reality in the physical dimension–when you act in faith that costs you at a dimension of real, practical commitment. So the Word of God sets forth on the subject of tithing.
To open the windows of heaven, sow to the Spirit
There are two ways to sow to the Spirit. Let’s commit to this life principle in the season ahead in order for God to release flourishing growth and increase in our lives:
Feed on the Word of God. Cultivate the possibility of increase and fruitfulness in your life.
Let the Lord increase your faith in your giving. It’s not a matter of making your church rich, but that it opens up the possibility for ever expanding ministry.
Step forward into a season that increases the release of God’s purpose in you. It’s a proportionate thing: as you give, the Lord says He will measure the disbursement from heaven. There is more backed up waiting to come your way than you realize, and He wants to open the windows of heaven so there can pour out a blessing you won’t be able to contain. How many people would welcome that kind of blessing? Put up the other hand and welcome it with the beginning of praise to the Lord:
Lord, I open up to Your Word, to Your way, I want to be receptive to the way that You do things, O God, to the ministry of Your Spirit. God, I believe Your promise, I believe Your Word, and I present myself as available to You.
Copyright 1996, 2016 by Jack W. Hayford, Jack Hayford Ministries
Our gift of this article by Pastor Jack Hayford is made possible by your gracious support of the ministry. Partner with us online or call toll-free 1-800-776-8180 to donate (within the U.S.).