Pastor's Corner

Eating at the Hand of God

The Bible is a book about giving. We are told in John 3:16 that "God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son." Christians ought to be giving people. Giving to God should be a joy, pleasure and priority. I feel so sorry for so many Christians who have not experienced the joy of giving. They are missing out on an important part of their relationship with the Lord. First let me illuminate the real problem. For some giving is about money. Biblically this is wrong for giving, like all other aspects of the Christian life is about faith.


Luke 21:1-4
 
And he looked up, and saw the rich men casting their gifts into the
 treasury. 2 And he saw also a certain poor widow casting in thither two 
mites. 3 And he said, Of a truth I say unto you, that this poor widow hath  
cast in more than they all: 4 For all these have of their abundance cast in
unto the offerings of God: but she of her penury hath cast in all the living
 that she had.

Faith, exemplified by the poor widow, is giving what God wants you to give and trusting him to provide. Simple but not always easy. The question that we must ask ourselves is this - are we providing for ourselves, or are we eating at the Hand of God? Often Christians trust the limits of their paycheck and the meager extras of overtime instead of the mighty outstretched arm of God. Many Christians have given up their church attendance to work a second job. God cannot bless this approach for it is carnal and not spiritual. The problem is that we like to be in control. Okay, come on now, admit it; wouldn't we be a whole lot better off if we allowed the God that spoke the universe into existence to control our lives, yes, even our finances? When we are in God's will and obedient to His word, His great provision provides far more than we can possible earn on our own and He supplies in ways unknown to our frail human logic proving once again that faith is the only way to please Him and receive His might bounty from glory. Trusting the Lord with our eternal soul took far more faith than trusting him with our finances. God's plan and program for this age is to work through the local church. That is where your giving should be focused. Eating at the hand of God and giving by faith will usher you into a spiritual realm that you may have not visited before. Here are 7 Biblical steps or principles to follow:



1. Start with Tithing (10%)

Some say that tithing was only meant under the dispensation of Law. Yet, Abraham tithed before the Law was given. He gave tithes to Melchizedek, King of Salem, who was a forshadowing of Christ to come.


Genesis 14:17-20
 
And the king of Sodom went out to meet him after his return from the
 slaughter of Chedorlaomer, and of the kings that were with him, at the valley of
 Shaveh, which is the king's dale. 18 And Melchizedek king of Salem brought
forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God. 19 And he
blessed him, and said, Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of
heaven and earth: 20 And blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered
 thine enemies into thy hand. And he gave him tithes of all.

Jacob vowed to tithe "of all that God would give him." Somehow he knew who was providing and what his responsibility was to give back of God's generosity.


Genesis 28:10-22 

And Jacob went out from Beersheba, and went toward Haran. 11 And he
lighted upon a certain place, and tarried there all night, because the sun was 
set; and he took of the stones of that place, and put them for his pillows, and
lay down in that place to sleep. 12 And he dreamed, and behold a ladder set
up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven: and behold the angels of 
God ascending and descending on it. 13 And, behold, the LORD stood above 
it, and said, I am the LORD God of Abraham thy father, and the God of Isaac: the
 land whereon thou liest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed; 14 And
 thy seed shall be as the dust of the earth, and thou shalt spread abroad to the 
west, and to the east, and to the north, and to the south: and in thee and in
 thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed. 15 And, behold, I 
am with thee, and will keep thee in all places whither thou goest, and will
 bring thee again into this land; for I will not leave thee, until I have done 
that which I have spoken to thee of. 16 And 
Jacob awaked out of his sleep, and he said, Surely the LORD is in this place;
and I knew it not. 17 And he was afraid, and said, How dreadful is this 
place! this is none other but the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.
18 And Jacob rose up early in the morning, and took the stone that he had 
put for his pillows, and set it up for a pillar, and poured oil upon the top of 
it. 19 And he called the name of that place Bethel: but the name of that 
city was called Luz at the first. 20 And Jacob vowed a vow, saying, If God
 will be with me, and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread 
to eat, and raiment to put on, 21 So that I come again to my father's house 
in peace; then shall the LORD be my God: 22 And this stone, which I have 
set for a pillar, shall be God's house: and of all that thou shalt give me I
will surely give the tenth unto thee.

God determined that 10 % would be given for his work and service through the Levites. I don't know what Christians who don't give through their local church are thinking. How is the building payed for? How does the Pastor get payed? The answer usually is "through someone else's tithe."

Numbers 18:20&21
 
And the LORD spake unto Aaron, Thou shalt have no inheritance in their 
land, neither shalt thou have any part among them: I am thy part and thine 
inheritance among the children of Israel. 21 And, behold, I have given the 
children of Levi all the tenth in Israel for an inheritance, for their service 
which they serve, even the service of the tabernacle of the congregation.

People who think that Tithing is strictly OT have not read Hebrews chapter 7. God validates tithing for the NT as well. The illustration is regarding the account of Abraham paying tithes to Melchisedec. The point made is that the Aaronic priests who received tithes under the Law were the descendants of Abraham. So, why did Abraham pay tithes to Melchisedec? Because he was greater than Abraham. Hebrews 7 tells us that the priesthood of Melchisedec was also greater than the preisthood of Aaron. So if Abraham payed tithes to Melchisedec before the Law, and Jesus our Savior is a better high priest after the order of Melchisedec. Doesn't He deserve and expect our tithes in this age through the local church. If you are confused now please reread this until you grasp it.


Hebrews 7:1-10  

For this Melchisedec, king of Salem, priest of the most high God, who met 
Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings, and blessed 
him; 2 To whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all; first being by 
interpretation King of righteousness, and after that also King of Salem, 
which is, King of peace; 3 Without father, without mother, without 
descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made like 
unto the Son of God; abideth a priest continually. 4 Now consider how 
great this man was, unto whom even the patriarch Abraham gave the tenth of 
the spoils. 5 And verily they that are of the sons of Levi, who receive 
the office of the preisthood, have a commandment to take tithes of the 
people according to the law, that is, of their brethren, though they come 
out of the loins of Abraham: 6 But he whose descent is not counted from 
them received tithes of Abraham, and blessed him that had the promises.
7 And without all contradiction the less is blessed of the better.
8 And here men that die receive tithes; but there he receiveth them, of
 whom it is witnessed that he liveth. 9 And as I may so
 say, Levi also, who receiveth tithes, payed tithes in Abraham. 10 For he
 was yet in the loins of his father, when Melchisedec met him.

The fact is (don't get nervous here) that Tithing is the Start or Beginning of giving according to the NT. The next step is

2. Offerings 
The Bible talks about Tithes and Offerings. Offerings refer to giving above and beyond the tithe which is given to the Lord and goes to the support of his church of which he is the head.

II Cor 8:1-11 
Moreover, brethren, we do you to wit of the grace of God bestowed on the 
churches of Macedonia; 2 How that in a great trial of affliction the 
abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their 
liberality. 3 For to their power, I bear record, yea, and beyond their
power they were willing of themselves; 4 Praying us with much intreaty that 
we would receive the gift, and take upon us the fellowship of the ministering to
the saints. 5 And this they did, not as we hoped, but first gave their own
selves to the Lord, and unto us by the will of God. 6 Insomuch that we 
desired Titus, that as he had begun, so he would also finish in you the same
 grace also. 

(He urges the Corinthians to be liberal.) 

7 Therefore, as ye abound in every
thing, in faith, and utterance, and knowledge, and in all diligence, and in your 
love to us, see that ye abound in this grace also. 8 I speak not by 
commandment, but by occasion of the forwardness of others, and to prove the
 sincerity of your love. 9 For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ,
that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his 
poverty might be rich. 10 And herein I give my advice: for this is
 expedient for you, who have begun before, not only to do, but also to be forward
 a year ago. 11 Now therefore perform the doing of it; that as there was a 
readiness to will, so there may be a performance also out of that which ye have. 

We should give Liberally (vs2). We should give Willingly
(vs3). We should give of Ourselves (vs5). Our giving should Abound (vss 7&10). We should give out of Love (vs8). According to vs 11 our giving is a Performance. Chapter 9, vs 7 says that we should give Cheerfully. Are you still with me? God 
met every need exactly for those that "ate at the hand of God." (II Cor 8:15) 
"As it is written, He that had gathered much had nothing over; and he that had
 gathered little had no lack." If we are tight with God, he'll be tight with us. (II Cor 9:6) "But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully."

3. When should we give? Sunday - the First day
I Cor 16:1&2

Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given order to the
 churches of Galatia, even so do ye. 2 Upon the first day of the week let 
every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be 
no gatherings when I come.

4. Give the Firstfruits

Always give to God First! Of your Gross pay, not net. God is like me, he doesn't care for leftovers. You give the government a lot more and they get theirs off the top. Show your Savior the same respect. If you don't, I will guarantee that you will never have any leftover and God won't get much if any.

Neh 10:35-39

And to bring the firstfruits of our ground, and the firstfruits
of all fruit of all trees, year by year, unto the house of the LORD: 36 Also
 the firstborn of our sons, and of our cattle, as it is written in the law,
 and the firstlings of our herds and of our flocks, to bring to the house of 
our God, unto the priests that minister in the house of our God: 37 And that 
we should bring the firstfruits of our dough, and our offerings, and the  
fruit of all manner of trees, of wine and of oil, unto the priests, to the 
chambers of the house of our God; and the tithes of our ground unto the
 Levites, that the same Levites might have the tithes in all the cities of 
our tillage. 38 And the priest the son of Aaron shall be with the Levites,
when the Levites take tithes: and the Levites shall bring up the tithe of 
the tithes unto the house of our God, to the chambers, into the treasure
house. 
5. Bring your gift to the House of God

Some Christians will give to TV and radio ministries and a host of missionary endeavors instead of tithing to the church that they should belong to. This is wrong. Most churches sponsor missionaries through Faith Promise or dedicated missions giving in the local church. The idea of "individuals partnering" with certain missionaries is not a good idea in my opinion. Let the whole church get behind a missionary and pray for them. They will lose a lot less support once they get to the field. (Exodus 36:5) "And they space unto Moses, saying, The people bring much more than enough for the service of the work, which the LORD commanded to make."



6. Your giving should support the Man of God 

The preacher should not be the poorest man in the church. The church should honor God by caring well for their Pastor. He does not have to live lavishly but shouldn't have to beg either. (I Cor 9:14) "Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel." I know how difficult it is to work full time and Pastor. I thank God that our church is able to support me well and has been for the past many years. That is a great testimony for a small church.



7. Giving invites the Blessings of God
Everyone down South wants to be "under the spout where the blessings come out." Amen to that Brother. God will bless our obedience if we are sincere about eating at his hand.

Malachi 3:8-11
 
Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we 
robbed thee? In tithes and offerings. 9 Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye 
have robbed me, even this whole nation. 10 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.
 11 And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy
 the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the 
time in the field, saith the LORD of hosts.

Giving is the one area in our Christian lives where God challenges us to put him to the test. He promises that he will open Heaven's windows and dump a heaping bucket full of blessing upon us for trusting Him and being faithful. However, he also warns that those who withhold are stealing from him. We would never think of putting our hand in the till but somehow not giving to God does not bother us as much. Not only do we rob from God when we don't give, but he claims that he allows the devil to take away from our spending power. Haggai called it "putting money in bags with holes." We can lay up treasure in heaven or serve the god of mammon and consume all that God has blessed us with on our own lusts. The key to understanding how to eat at the hand of God is found in the doctrine of Stewardship. You know well that "we are not our own" but that we are "bought with a price." And everything that we posses comes from the very hand of God. I am trying to encourage you to get in on one of the greatest blessings of the Christian life that will bring endless joy and encouragement to your Christian walk. There is nothing more wonderful than seeing God's hand at work in your life. Start giving and see what God does. You will be amazed.


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