Study from God’s Word… 2 Chron 24: 3; 2 Kgs 12: 4-5 [2 Chron 24: 4-5]; 2 Kgs 10: 32-36; 2 Kgs 13: 1-2; 2 Kgs 12: 6 – 16 [2 Chron 24: 6 – 14]; 2 Chron 24: 15 – 22; 2 Kgs 13: 3-4, 7; 2 Chron 24: 23-24; 2 Kgs 12: 17-18; 2 Kgs 13: 8-11; 2 Kgs 13: 11, 14-20 [2 Chron 24: 25-27] … Passage for Reflection: 2nd Kings 12: 13-15 … NIV 13 The money brought into the temple was not spent for making silver basins, wick trimmers, sprinkling bowls, trumpets or any other articles of gold or silver for the temple of the LORD; 14 it was paid to the workmen, who used it to repair the temple. 15 They did not require an accounting from those to whom they gave the money to pay the workers, because they acted with complete honesty.
My Journal for Today: My devotional “shepherd,” Dr. F. LaGard Smith, has taken me through some parallel passages in 2nd Kings and 2nd Chronicles which chronicle the activities of the separated tribes of Israel, in the Northern kingdoms, and Judah, in the southern portions of the promised lands. And one has to be impressed by how God blesses when His peoples are obedient and how the people are laid vulnerable to evil when they are disobedient. And the operational applications from these scriptural accounts are obvious, of course.
And Smith is right on from his devotional today as he speculates what the world would be like now if God’s people were on a roll of obedience as they were in today’s highlighted passage, … when in Judah the Priests preached and declared God’s word about giving; and the people responded by joyfully [key attitude], bringing their tithes/taxes into the storehouse of the Temple with gleeful excitement. What was going on during these times could be brought out in the OT passage from Solomon about giving in Proverbs 3: 9-10 and in the NT exhortation by Paul in 2nd Corinthians 9: 6-7. And if you don’t know these by heart, I hope you’ll find them and meditate on their meaning … for the church and for each of us individually.
What would it be like for us individually, for the church, and for our world, if ALL believers, from any given country, did what God has instructed us to do in those two biblical exhortations above? Well, it would the playing out of God’s challenge and promise for all times from Malachi 3: 6 - 12 - linked here for your study. Think of it! God’s people do what God challenges believers to do … to bring their tithes into the storehouse (i.e., the local church). And if believers did that voluntarily and joyfully [i.e.,100% of believers giving 10% of what God has given us to the local church], there would be so many funds in the local churches that there would be no need for a welfare system in whatever country did that. The churches would have so much money that they could take care of any of the physical, emotional, or spiritual needs of their members. And there would be so many funds left over that churches could take care of needy non-believers in their area, which would be an incredible witness to the world, likely causing a massive turning to Christ wherever that kind of witness were noticed by a non-believing world in need.
However, the reality is that fewer than 5% of “evangelicals” tithe to their local church; and most churches struggle to make ends meet financially. So, we have to play the “what if” question; and Christ’s Church in the world is crippled in its witness because so few people come forward to give as we are challenged by God in those passages above. Historically we’ve seen – e.g., by today’s highlight passage – what could be; but we’re living out what is true right now as God’s Church backs away from God’s challenge to give so that God could prove to us what He has promised (again see Malachi 3: 8-10). But then, … see if you’re willing to take God’s challenge and give as God’s word instructs in the two other passages I’ve brought out above. Because God’s promise – from Malachi 3 – is that He’ll pour out His blessing upon you in ways you’ll find wondrous and amazing. God says, “Try Me!” But the question is …“Why don’t we?
It’s up to us, as believers, to see if we really believe God’s word on this and follow through by giving as He instructs. As a personal witness, my wife an I have been giving – prayerfully with joy – like this for years now; and we have been blessed with everything we would need and so much more. And beyond that, even on a fixed income as a retired government worker, my wife and I, by God's providence, have been able to give and support the ministry for which God called us to serve Him. And all we can say to that is Praise the Lord!
My Prayer for Today: Lord, You promised; … and You have delivered – BIGTIME! Amen