Sunday, April 14, 2013

P2 G.I.V.E, since God gives

Deuteronomy 26:1-2 “Then it shall be, when you enter the land which the Lord your God gives you as an inheritance, and you possess it and live in it, 2 that you shall take some of the first of all the produce of the ground which you bring in from your land that the Lord your God gives you, and you shall put it in a basket and go to the place where the Lord your God chooses to establish His name."

Yesterday we began to consider what the Bible teaches about tithing and stewardship of our resources.  When we speak of stewardship, we are referring to the management of property or resources that are not our own.  The sooner you and I understand that all things come from God, the more eager we will be to give to the Lord.  But why give to God?  We turn today to Deuteronomy 26:10-19 and other passages to explore the answer.  The logic of Moses' argument throughout Deuteronomy 26, as well as the testimony of scripture on the subject of tithing and stewardship, reveals the first reason as to why you and I should practice tithing and stewardship:

God is The God who gives.  Deuteronomy 26:10-12
God as a giving God is the greatest motivation to give.  Deuteronomy 26 uses God's giving of Himself and His grace as the leverage behind stewardship and tithing.  As it has been said over the years: you cannot outgive God.  If you back up to the beginning of Deuteronomy 26, you discover the following statements:

1). Deuteronomy 26:1 "the land which the Lord your God gives"
2). Deuteronomy 26:2 "your land that the Lord your God gives you"
3). Deuteronomy 26:3 "the land which the Lord swore to our fathers to give us"
4). Deuteronomy 26:9 "He has brought us to this place and has given us this land"
5). Deuteronomy 26:10 "O Lord have given me"
6). Deuteronomy 26:11 "shall rejoice in all the good which the Lord your God has given you"

God's act of giving to His people provides the basis as to why they should give back to Him their tithes and offerings. (Deuteronomy 26:11)  Whenever we come to the New Testament, God's giving doesn't cease.  Consider John 3:16 - "For God so loved the world that He gave His Only Begotten Son, that whosoever believes on Him shall not perish but have everlasting life."  The New Testament connects the giving of Jesus Christ as the basis for God's giving us all things.  Consider Romans 8:32 -  "He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?"

When you really thing about it, why would God expect you and I to give if He had not first done it Himself?  Furthermore, no matter how much we give, we can never out-give God.  Grace, not guilt, is the motive behind biblical giving and stewardship.  As true as it may be that giving begins as a duty, it should not just remain in the realm of obligation.  In fact, duty should quickly turn into delight.  The more we focus on Jesus Christ and the barren cross, the more we will want to give. 

More tomorrow.......

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