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.
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.
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.
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."
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.
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
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
(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.
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
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.
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.