“Giving: God Weighs the Heart” July 14

 

Giving: God Weighs the Heart - It’s amazing to me, how many people will spend $4 on a cup of coffee at Starbucks, or $25 to go to the movies, or $80 or $100 for a pair of tennis shoes, but who give grudgingly or not at all to the work of God. God is the One who weighs our hearts, but giving is one good indicator of our spiritual condition.

 

Today’s Readings:
2 Chronicles 23 & 24
Psalm 83.9-18
Proverbs 21.2-3
Acts 18.1-28

 

Giving: God Weighs the Heart

 

2 Chronicles 23 & 24:

Separation of Church and State?

 

Wicked Athaliah, daughter of Ahab and Jezebel, had killed all her grandsons and seized the throne in Judah. That is all except one, Joash, who was just an infant. His sister had hidden and protected him. John MacArthur says:

This is one of the most dramatic moments in messianic history. The human offspring of David have been reduced to one, Joash. If he had died, there would have been no human heir to the Davidic throne, and it would have meant the destruction of the line of the Messiah. However, God remedied the situation by providentially protecting Joash (2 Chr. 22:10–12) and eliminating Athaliah (1 Chr. 23:12–21).

When Joash was seven years old the High Priest, Jehoiada, and other faithful men stepped forward and began to set things right.

¹ In the seventh year Jehoiada strengthened himself, and made a covenant with the captains of hundreds: Azariah the son of Jeroham, Ishmael the son of Jehohanan, Azariah the son of Obed, Maaseiah the son of Adaiah, and Elishaphat the son of Zichri. And they went throughout Judah and gathered the Levites from all the cities of Judah, and the chief fathers of Israel, and they came to Jerusalem.

Then all the assembly made a covenant with the king in the house of God. And he said to them, “Behold, the king’s son shall reign, as the Lord has said of the sons of David. (2 Chron. 23)

They protected and crowned Joash king and killed Athaliah. With Jehoiada’s wise and godly counsel the King restored the temple and temple worship and brought about a revival. Sadly, after the High Priest’s death Joash fell into apostasy, even killing Jehoiada’s son.

We hear a lot about separation of church and state, which by the way is not even in our Constitution. But did you notice who God used to preserve the last heir to the Davidic throne? It was the High Priest, Jehoiada, who was not afraid to get involved in civil matters like … who should be king.

 

Cheerful Giving

 

Giving: Are You a Cheerful Giver?

In chapter 24 we see the king commanding an offering be taken up to support the work of God (2 Chron. 24.9]). Look how the people responded in verses 10-11:

10 Then all the leaders and all the people rejoiced, brought their contributions, and put them into the chest until all had given. 11 So it was, at that time, when the chest was brought to the king’s official by the hand of the Levites, and when they saw that there was much money, that the king’s scribe and the high priest’s officer came and emptied the chest, and took it and returned it to its place. Thus they did day by day, and gathered money in abundance.

Notice “all the people rejoiced” that an offering was taken up. How do you respond when the offering is taken at your church? Do you rejoice in the opportunity to give to the work of God? Or do you give because you wonder what people will think or because you think God demands it? Do you give at all? Paul said:

“So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Cor. 9.7).

And look at today’s reading in Proverbs …  Continue reading

“Favoritism, Impatience & Birthrights” January 13

 

Favoritism, Impatience & Birthrights - Isaac’s and Rebekah’s twins, Jacob and Esau, are grown now. Isaac’s favorite is Esau, a hunter and man’s man. Jacob, it seems, was a mama’s boy and homebody. Their favoritism led to manipulation and deceit that would, eventually, split their family apart.

In today’s reading the first cracks appear as Jacob manipulates his impatient, impulsive brother. In the process, Esau throws aside his birthright. His behavior has a great lesson for us as believers in Christ.

Also, read about “God Our Righteous Judge,” the blessings that come from “Honoring the Lord in Our Giving,” and about spiritual and physical healing in “Unless the Father Draws Him.”

 

Today’s Readings:
Genesis 25 & 26
Psalm 7.6-8
Proverbs 3.9-10
Matthew 9.18-38

 

Favoritism, Impatience & Birthrights

 

Genesis 25 & Genesis 26:

The Death of Abraham

 

In these two chapters we see Abraham’s remarriage to Keturah after Sarah’s death and the record of other children. We also see Isaac and Ishmael reunited by Abraham’s death. It appears that their love for their father was greater than any differences they might have had.

We also see the confirmation of God’s promise to make Ishmael the father of twelve princes. Ishmael and his twelve sons were the forefathers of many of the Arab peoples. Ishmael plays an important part in Muslim tradition, where he is considered a prophet. While there are differences of opinion about Keturah’s identity, her sons were probably the forefathers of other Arab tribes.

 

Parental Favoritism

 

In Genesis 25.19 Isaac and his family take center stage in the Genesis narrative. We see God using barrenness again to work His purposes. After twenty years Isaac prays for God to open Rebekah’s womb and God answers with the conception of twins. When the pregnancy is difficult, Rebekah prays and asks God why. He answers:

Two nations are in your womb, two peoples shall be separated from your body; one people shall be stronger than the other, and the older shall serve the younger” (25.23).

As the sons grow up they are very different. Esau is a hunter and outdoors-man while Jacob is a homebody. And sadly, Isaac and Rebekah each have a favorite (25.28). Even though, God will use all of this for His divine purposes, we can see from their story some of the problems favoritism causes.

Tomorrow we’ll read more about the consequences of favoritism. If there are similar issues in your family I would encourage you to study these passages carefully and prayerfully, seeking Gods help and wisdom.

But favoritism wasn’t the only family issue.

While Ezekiel 18.20 tells us that each person is responsible for his or her own behavior, we also see in Scripture that children learn from their parents. And in chapter 26.7 Isaac tells Abimelech’s men that his wife is his sister, just like his father Abraham did. So while we’re not responsible for their choices, we are responsible for the example we set.

 

Selfishness, Impatience & Birthrights

 

But for now let’s look at chapter 25.29-34,

29 Now Jacob cooked a stew; and Esau came in from the field, and he was weary. 30 And Esau said to Jacob, “Please feed me with that same red stew, for I am weary.” Therefore his name was called Edom.

31 But Jacob said, “Sell me your birthright as of this day.”

32 And Esau said, “Look, I am about to die; so what is this birthright to me?”

33 Then Jacob said, “Swear to me as of this day.”

So he swore to him, and sold his birthright to Jacob. 34 And Jacob gave Esau bread and stew of lentils; then he ate and drank, arose, and went his way. Thus Esau despised his birthright.

The writer of Hebrews had this to say about Esau:

12 Therefore strengthen the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees, 13 and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be dislocated, but rather be healed.

14 Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord: 15 looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled; 16 lest there be any fornicator or profane person like Esau, who for one morsel of food sold his birthright. 17 For you know that afterward, when he wanted to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though he sought it diligently with tears (Heb. 12.12-17).

I don’t know about you, but, on the surface, that sounds pretty harsh to me. What was it that Esau did? Or does it go deeper, to who he was?  Continue reading