Repayment

sparkler-677774_640 (1)Luke 14:14: you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the just.” (ESV)

Jesus was trying to inculcate a right understanding of reward in the people. Rather than look up to man for reward, he wanted them to look up to God, who repays on a grand scale in what is called the resurrection of the just. With that kind of focus, we will really live based on eternal rather than temporary consideration. Our primary influence becomes heavenly rather than pecuniary.

The bible says that he who comes to God must know that he is a rewarder (Hebrews 11:6). But we limit the reward to the earth, this time and age, and therefore become prone to disappointment, as we fight for human recognition, and compare ourselves with others, as we give with a short sighted approach, keeping our lives and not letting all go for the cause of Christ.

Therefore our impact is limited, because our understanding of reward is limited. Jesus said if anyone will come after him, he was deny himself, carry his cross (Luke 9:23).

But there is no carrying the cross without the understanding that there is a resurrection after. That is why Paul said that if only in the world we have benefit, then we are of all men most miserable (1Corinthians  15:19).

We can only give the level of denial we need as disciples of Jesus, when we fix our gaze on the eternal reward.

That is following the example of Jesus who for the joy set before him, the eternal joy of his reward, endured the cross (Hebrews 12:2), sacrificed himself as the lamb of God (John 1:29), did good to us, even if it meant going through harm himself.

And he was amply repaid. The bible says that he sees the result of the travail of his soul and he rejoiced (Isaiah 53:11).

Total conquest

sword-790815_640Joshua 11:21: And Joshua came at that time and cut off the Anakim from the hill country, from Hebron, from Debir, from Anab, and from all the hill country of Judah, and from all the hill country of Israel. Joshua devoted them to destruction with their cities. (ESV)

Joshua moved with swiftness and the nations were falling before him in packs. It was the Promised Land, the people were prepared, they had a charge from God, and there was no going back. They moved forward by the word of God. They did not allow fear to hold them back. They had no other option but to follow the word of God, to move forward and take the Promised Land, there was no going back, no backing down.

Their history was a big lesson on why not to reject the word of God. After about two years that God after coming from Egypt, God wanted them to start taking over the land. But after twelve spies were sent to bring a report of the Promised Land, and ten brought an evil report, Israel chose to agree with the evil report of the fearful spies and chose to rebel against the will of God (Numbers 13-14).

God wanted them to go into the Promised Land in fulfilment of his word to their father Abraham, but they had other ideas.

Eventually, the promise of God will come to pass but in another generation. God decided that set of people would not follow God willingly, he was going to allow them to pine away in the wilderness as they wander and die there.

And the children who are under twenty years at that time eventually inherited the Promised Land. Those who rejected the word of God wasted away in the wilderness.

The wilderness represents the place of limitation, and that generation allowed their latent fear to limit their vision and motion, and they died not fulfilling their ultimate potential.

But the Joshua generation was ready. They were not suffering from slavery hangover, not suffering from the fear of the unknown, they were in awe of the word of God knowing what happened to those who chose a different path than the one God outlines.

They refused to consider their own limitation, fully believing that since God was with them, no one can be against them. They stood firm in the face of opposition. They did not consider their lack of experience, their limited preparedness.

They had their eyes on the word of God and following the leadership of Joshua they piled victory upon victory. The fear of them filled the heart of the people all around. After they parted the river Jordan to move into the Promised Land, the people knew that this group of Israelites were unique, they had the power of God backing them up.

To mount a formidable resistance against them, their opposition set out to hire those who will curse them or they combine themselves together or shut the walls of the city against them, but in the end, Israel gained total conquest because they exhibited total trust in God.

They pressed on regardless of the size and ferocity of the opposition. They believed that greater is the one who is with him than he who is with their enemies. Their God has no limitation. Our God has no limitation. The bible says that in the beginning God created the heaven on the earth (Genesis 1:1-3). That gives the picture of the kind of God that we are talking about, not one limited in power, by time or in wisdom; and because of that he is able to give total conquest.

Limitless power

The children of Israel would not have the hope of having total conquest if they did not depend on the power of God.

But in the conquering of the land of Ai, the bible noted that they did not ask God to lead them, and seeing the town as smaller than Jericho which they recently conquered, Joshua sent a few men there (Joshua 7).

The result was damning! They were routed before the enemy, and were later told that they were defeated because God withdrew himself from the nation of Israel, because in the conquest of Jericho, someone committed a sin, against to God’s instruction.

Victory for them was not by military might but by the power of God. This was brought poignantly home in a story of the battle of the children of Israel against a certain enemy nation where Moses was asked to lift up a staff. When his hand grew weak and it fell down, and his hand was up they were winning (Exodus 17:1-14). The rod of Moses represented the power of God, and in that we see how what is done in secret impacts on what happens in the public. Jesus said that when we pray in secret, God will reward us openly (Matthew 6:6).

Not limited by time

Just as God is not limited in ability, he is not limited in time. Peter said it this way: a day with the Lord is like a thousand years and a thousand years like a day (2Peter 3:8). He created time. When God chose to become man, he chose to be limited by time and space, or maybe not. He told Nathanael that already knew him even though they had not met before.

Not limited in wisdom

The whole world runs on the wisdom of God. The changing season, the rotation of the earth, the balance of the gases in the atmosphere, the changing weather, the rising and falling of the sun, all manifest the wisdom of God. The bible says that the heaven declares the glory of the Lord (Psalm 19). The created are the handiwork of God and they manifest his wisdom.

Conclusion

The Joshua generation mostly kept in step with God. The connected with all powerful God, they were able to overcome the opposition, no matter how big and how subtle.

Elevation

life-863462_640Joshua 4:14: On that day the LORD exalted Joshua in the sight of all Israel, and they stood in awe of him just as they had stood in awe of Moses, all the days of his life. (ESV)

Joshua did not attempt to elevate himself in the sight of the others. He waited for God to elevate him. But did he really have a choice but to humble himself for God to elevate him in view of the fact that Moses the one from whom he took over as the leader of Israel had such gigantic reputation and it was not easy to follow in his act.

In the first chapter of the book of Joshua, it was plain for all to see that it was not easy for Joshua to take over from Moses after his death. Not only did God say he needed to be courageous but the men of Israel repeatedly told him that he should be bold to take the necessary steps, that they were with him, and that they will deal seriously with anyone who acts otherwise.

Joshua did not try to make himself seem important in the eyes of the people, and that gives God the “space” to elevate him in the eyes of the people. The bible says that God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble (James 4:6). The devil is an example in this. He sought to elevate himself above God and the result was a crunching total demotion (Isaiah 14:12-16).

The same can be said for Adam and Eve. They were tempted to disobey God with the lure that eating the forbidden fruit will lead to an elevation of their wisdom. It was not to be. What they thought will to lead them to wisdom in the pursuant of their self-will, lead to their destruction (Genesis 3).

Real elevation by God may not be so interpreted by men. Men judge according to appearance, but God judges the heart (1Samuel 16:7).

It was the acts of God through the life of Joshua and Moses that lead to their elevation in the eyes of the people. And in the case of Moses he was so great that God needed to hide the place of his death and bury him himself. He died, but his burial place was not known, he was one of a kind (Deuteronomy 34:1-6).

When God was talking about him, he said that to other prophets he manifests in dreams, but with Moses he speaks face to face with God as friends (Numbers 12:5-10). Moses was the one who “singlehandedly” brought the children of Israel from Egypt.

So you can imagine how Joshua would feel trying to fill the shoes of such a great man. But he was different from Moses, having a different role from his. Moses did not lead the people into the Promised Land because of his temperament through he brought them from Egypt, but Joshua was meant to accomplish that. And while Moses parted the Red Sea and had the army of Egypt drown in the same, in the elevation of Joshua before the children of Israel, God caused him to do something for the River Jordan to be parted and the children of Israel to pass through it.

Man was created and put on an elevated stage, but he was brought down by sin in a thunderous crash. But he was not allowed to stay there as Jesus came to bear the punishment of sin and free men to go back to their place of elevation.

God, when he was about to make man, said: let us make man in our own image and let him have dominion on the birds of the air, the beasts on the ground and the fishes in the sea (Genesis 1:26-28). He was supposed to be the law on the earth.

He had a purposeful relationship with God and another human, he had the possession of the Garden of Eden, a well-watered and landscaped paradise.

But when he chose to rebel against the word of God he fell from grace. There can be no claim to the experience of grace if we do not ardently embrace and follow of the word of God, which is called the word of grace (Acts 20:32).

With Jesus coming thousands of years after the sin in the Garden of Eden, we have another opportunity to get it right, to embrace the Word of God. Jesus is the embodiment of the word of God. God spoke about Jesus from heaven in the hearing of both Peter and John (while in a supernatural appearance, Moses and Elijah stood with Jesus on a mount): this is my beloved son hear him (Matthew 17:5). His rank is higher that Moses and Elijah, both of whom existed because of him (Colossians 1:16).

To truly hear is to allow our steps to be guided by what we have heard, it is to respond in faith to the word of God by acting based on it.

God wants humanity to hear Jesus, act based on the reality that he represents, the reality of the possibility of the reset in man’s relationship with God that went downhill since the mishap in the Garden of Eden.

We went down by rejecting the word, now we will come up by embracing the word, Jesus. Jesus is the Word who is God and the God who is the Word, he is the full communication of the father and he needs to be received (Hebrews 1:1-3).

A man prayed in the bible: send forth your truth which will guide me to your tabernacle (Psalm 43:3). Remember that with the sin the Garden of Eden, man was chased from the place where he had a close relationship with God, and now God has sent his son, he has sent the Word, and when we follow him, he leads us back to the presence of God, to an experience of God, to becoming partakers of the divine nature as we once were (2Peter 1:4).

We are made new creatures (2Corinthians 5:17), and are elevated to the heavenly places, the place of light as God moves us from the darkness that humanity was plunged into as we rejected the light of his presence (Colossians 1:13). In Jesus all was not lost, all was restored and more.

Complete obedience

Deuteronomy 12:32: “Everything that I command you, you shall be careful to do. You shall not add to it or take from it. (ESV)

God is a God of order, a God of details. If we will wait on him he will give us the details of his plan. We should not run on part information, which could be dangerous.

Moses spent forty days on Mount Sinai to receive the word of God for the children of Israel at the birth of the nation (Exodus 24:8). When Jesus’ mission was being prophesied about, the bible says that he has come to fulfil what was written about him in the book (Hebrews 10:5-7). There were details for him to carry out.

His life followed the prophesied outline.  He followed the word of God to the full, so much so that he said that he has not come to abolish the law, but to fulfil them (Matthew 5:17). That goes beyond doing right and avoiding wrong, though they are part of it, but to be the embodiment of what the Old Testament shadowed.

In the Old Testament the shedding of the blood of animals was central to whatever was done, and Jesus, who choose to become the Lamb of God, fulfilled that (John 1:29).

He shed his blood to bring man to God. The bible says that we were strangers to the commonwealth of Israel but have now been brought near through the blood of Jesus (Ephesians 2:11-13). The writer of the book of Hebrews says that we can now draw near to God with our conscience purged by the blood of Jesus (Hebrews 9:14).

There was another thing of the Old Testament that Jesus fully fulfilled. When he was asked to show them the signs that he was someone special, he said that the people should destroy the temple, and he will raise it up after three days (John 2:18-22).

They were angry at his word, because they thought he meant they should actually destroy the physical temple which held so much religious meaning to them, being the symbol of their identity and which had been in construction for decades.

It was not just a religious symbol but also their validation as a people who has their historical and future political and spiritual capital in Jerusalem.

But in the commentary of John on the words of Jesus, he said that he was referring to the temple which is his body, and the demolition of the temple and it being raised after three days was an allusion to his future death and resurrection at that time.

As the temple, Jesus carried the presence of God. Nicodemus came to him and said that he was sure that God was with him (John 3:1-3). He did not actually know that he was talking to God, the one who is the fullness of the Godhead bodily.

Jesus is the fullness of God in the flesh. His conception was an act of miracle. He was packed with power and wisdom. When he healed the eyes of a man who was born blind, the man testified that since the world began, no one was heard of anyone who opened the eyes of one born blind (John 9). When Jesus spoke the bible says that the people were amazed by the wisdom of his words, that was what he embodied with (Matthew 13:54). Jesus carried out the word of God and we should too.

We should focus on the commandment of God and not our opinion. Look where the opinion that Eve expressed that the bad fruit was good for her landed humanity (Genesis 3)!

To subtract or add to the word of God is to think we are wiser than God, it is pride, something that the devil exhibited, and which King Saul exhibited (1Samuel 15).

We see some of the children of Israel worship the image of a snake for years (2Kings 18:1-4). God told Moses to make it while they were in the wilderness and by looking at it when snakes bit them, they were relieved. But instead of a focus on the word of God, as they were told not to be image worshippers in any way, some people thought within themselves that surely the snake has some power to help them for always (Numbers 21:1-9). It took a king Hezekiah to destroy it, who exhibited an uncommon zeal for carrying out the word of God in the details of it.

John the apostle wrote that we should beware of idols (1John 5:21), while Paul equated covetousness, putting our trust in money with idolatry (Colossians 3:5).

What we put our trust in becomes a god that draws away our allegiance from God. Jesus said that we cannot worship God and Mammon (Matthew 6:24). We cannot have two masters, either we hate one and love the other.

And what God wants is total commitment, he wants the fire of his devotion burning in us that is why he has shed his love in us by the Holy Spirit which he has given to us (Romans 5:5). And we are enjoined to walk in the spirit as we live in the spirit so that we will not fulfil the lust of the flesh, which wars against the spirit (Galatians 5:16-25).

The flesh is programmed to pull away from the demands of the spirit, to be interested only in itself and not think of God. Paul declared that some people are concerned about themselves and not the things that are of Christ Jesus’ (Philippians 2:4). These people will not respond when he calls, or will only do what is convenient for them to do.

Jesus said: if you love me you will obey my commandments, therefore love is more of commitment than feeling, it is beyond thought, it is action (John 14:15).

Jesus gave different commands to his disciples before he ascended to heaven. He said: go into the world and preach the gospel to all creatures (Mark 16:15). He said we shall be witnesses to him after the Holy Spirit has come upon us and will be speak for him in Judea, Samaria and the uttermost part of the world (Acts 1:8).

We have the commandment to reach out, to connect with the people across the world. And there is no generation where it is possible for every believer to carry out such great commission on a personal, direct and individual level as the internet affords.

We are not supposed to be ignorant of the new tool of the internet, which allows a single individual, without leaving his house to actually fulfil the great commission as you deliver the counsel of God to people across the globe. With the internet, the barrier of the borders of nations is broken.

That is the Opportunity that Jehiel Institute provides (dailymedit.com/category/jehiel), to have a mass of people using the internet to propagate the gospel. The bible says: the lord gave the word, great is the company of them who proclaim it. Come and be equipped to be among them, join the people of internet Impact, attend Jehiel Institute. Direct your questions to jehielinstitute@gmail.com

Change of fortune

money-515058_640Numbers 33:3: And they departed from Rameses in the first month, on the fifteenth day of the first month; on the morrow after the passover the children of Israel went out with an high hand in the sight of all the Egyptians.

The children of Israel experienced sudden change. If can also happen to you. There is nothing God cannot do. You can go from unrecognised to eating with the king in a day, as it happened to Mephibosheth (2Samuel 9); from starving to death to superabundance, as it was in Samaria in the time of Elisha (2Kings 7:1-3); from barren to having children like it happened to Hannah (1Samuel 1); you can come from slavery to freedom in a way as it happened to the millions of the children of Israel as they moved from Egypt. You can move from starving to having free food for years, like the widow of Zeraphath (1Kings 17:8-16).

God is in the business of changing fortunes, and there is a coming grand change of fortune: when in the twinkling of an eye we will be changed, mortality will swallow up immortality at the final trumpet (1Corinthians 15:53-53).

We will suddenly appear before the Lord, and we are full of hope for that to happen. It is been the most highly anticipated event of all time (1John 3:1-3). It will be the grandest change of fortune. While now we live in the wilderness of this world, we will soon be in the “paradise” of heaven, leaving the limitation of the flesh behind to leap fully into the supernatural, with a changed body (2Corinthians 15:49-58). And when we get our final rewards from God for what we have done in the flesh, some will rule with Christ even if they came from a humble background on the earth (Revelation 1:6).

Jesus is now made Lord, given a name that is above every other (Philippians 2:5-11). That was a change of fortune for him though he had to pass through death to get there.

Dead for Jesus had a double meaning. Though he went down he also came up. With his death, he experienced a change of fortune in his spiritual impact. He said except a grain of seed falls to the ground and dies it abides alone, but when it dies it brings forth many like itself (John 12:24).

Jesus is now us the author of salvation for those who trust him (Hebrews 5:9). While he was on earth his impact hardly crossed the boundary of the nation of Israel, now as a life-giving Spirit, his impact in worldwide, nay universal (1Corinthians 15:45).

Because he humbled himself to the death on the cross, he was given a name that is above every other name and at the name of Jesus every knee bows and every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord.  That did not happen before he hung on the cross, so what was supposed to end him only increased his influence.

Jesus comes with the promise of change of life. He told Peter: follow me and I will make you a fisher of men. That happened in a most spectacular way, as the Holy Spirit came down. But Peter didn’t look like someone who will do much in life talk less of being an instrument of a powerful change in the world, becoming the number one person leading the church after the departure of Jesus.

He wielded so much influence though from a lowly background. God lifted him up and he shone as light in his generation. A similar change of fortune happened to David, who from following sheep was elevated to become King in Israel though he also had to pass through a wilderness experience.

There was a time Peter personally experienced a change of fortune in his business while he was a fisherman (Luke 5:1-7).

He and his crew which included his brother had laboured all night seeking to catch something to take home, but it was all in vain. He was so despondent that they were packing up at dawn but Jesus said they should cast their net again in the sea, and they caught so much fish to everyone’s amazement.

They caught so much fish that their net started to break. Because Peter obeyed the words of Jesus to cast his net in the sea, he experienced a radical change of fortune at that time.

In a wedding which was held in Cana of Galilee, the ceremony was about to flop, but Jesus stepped in and supernaturally provided wine. But it happened as some servants obeyed the words of Jesus (John 2).

Change of fortune is about great transformation. The Christian experience delivers a complete change of fortune. We move from death to life. The bible says that those who believe in Jesus have passed from death to live, and that if we believe in Jesus we will not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16, 5:24).

In the first chapters of the bible we saw how the fortune or humanity really dipped, but now the line has fallen for us in pleasant places, we have a good heritage, we have a new portion in Jesus, the portion of life (Psalm 16:6).

We have been blessed with all spiritual blessings in the heavenly places (Ephesians 1:3), we have been redeemed (Revelation 5:9), our lot has changed, we were once darkness, but now we have received light through Jesus (Ephesians 5:8). Our weakness is replaced with his strength. That was what Jesus told Paul: he said my grace is sufficient for you, for my strength is made perfect in weakness (2Corinthians 12:9).

Our change of fortune affects us inwardly, and externally and in what lies in our future. Internally we become new creatures (2Corinthians 5:17). We are saved, and as time goes on we experience change in our thinking process.

As are engaged in the renewing of our minds, we are changed in the spirit of our mind, in the influences that are cast over our thinking process, as we move from wrong thinking to right thinking.

When we experience the power of the Holy Spirit, we are changed. Jesus told his disciples, that they will receive power after the Holy Spirit has come upon them.

Before then they were a bunch of ragtag Galileans, feeling out of their depths in the cosmopolitan city of Jerusalem, but after the Holy Spirit came, they started taking over the place doing miracles and teaching with great boldness, rubbing off badly on the religious leaders who wanted to get rid of them who threatened to harm them. But instead of being cowed, they shifted to an higher gear in spiritual impact after as they prayed together (Acts 1-4).

Prayer is a tool for a change of fortune. That was the gateway for Hannah to experience change of fortune, and that was how Jabez experienced his own change of fortune (1Chronicles 4:9-10). His name meant pain, but he does not want them to continue experiencing negativity but chose to pray to God rather than be resigned to his situation, God answered him.

Contributions and connection with God

sport-climbing-25258_640Numbers 18:8: Then the LORD spoke to Aaron, “Behold, I have given you charge of the contributions made to me, all the consecrated things of the people of Israel. I have given them to you as a portion and to your sons as a perpetual due.  

The children of Israel were supposed to deal with God in faith, connecting with the unseen God with seen things, connecting with the eternal God with their used of limited time. We contribute our substance, our time in devotion to God on the earth and it is converted to heavenly rewards.

When you go to another country, you cannot spend the currency of the old place in the new place, it needs to be converted, but the one who has worked hard in one country and earned a lot will have more to convert when he and his friends who did not work so hard travel to the new country.

Heaven is a new country where what we did on earth will be converted to spiritual rewards. Paul was very convinced of this and said that God crowns ready for those who love his appearing (2Timothy 4:6-8). He spoke of the prize of the high calling of God which is not on this earth (Philippians 3:9-14), he spoke of winning the prize at the end of a race (1Corinthians 9:24).

We need to strive for the prize of the high calling of God. In letters written to churches and recorded in the book or Revelation, there was something that each church were supposed to overcome and at the end of the day when Jesus comes back they will be amply rewarded (Revelation 2-3).

Paul contributed greatly for the work of God. And he was happy to leave the earth after sometimes assured that he was going to the place of reward. Jesus, talking about reward at the end of time said that a man left town and gave his servants different amounts of money to work with, those who worked hard were rewarded, while the one who decided to hide what he was given was published, when the master came back (Matthew 25:14-30). Jesus will not be gone forever, he is coming back to give to everyone according to their work (Revelation 22:12).

There is the time of ultimate reward. Paul said that we will all stand before the judgement seat of Christ to gain the reward of what we have done in the flesh (2Corinthians 5:10). Being here on earth should count for spiritual rewards.

When it comes to reward, the ultimate is faith, hope and love (1Corinthians 13:13). Faith is private in devotion to God, Hope is future, in anticipation of his coming and what we keep from because of that and love is for other, in activities we embark on to benefit others. These three determine our reward.

With faith we connect with God (Luke 18:1, 8), with hope firmly in us, we set our eyes not on the temporary things on earth but on the things of heaven (Colossians 3:1-3), where Christ is seated; on the eternal things and are not distracted by the things of the earth. That is why we embrace righteousness not because it is popular but because we live as one pleasing God in heaven (1John 3:1-3). And when it comes to love, what is what our work should be directed by, and the bible says that if it is not love, it is nothing (1Corinthians 13).

What is given in the course of God in time, space and energy in what is physical is translated into something greater bigger, something spiritual. To gain great spiritual rewards, Paul Told timothy to tell those who are rich in this world to not trust in uncertain riches but put their trust in God and be great givers, because giving on the earth translates to something greater in the realm of God (1Timothy 6:17-19).

Heaven is closer than you think. There are angels all around us, and God is watching us. Even though we do not see them, we can connect with them.

For example, the bible says the angels hearken to the word of God (Psalm 103:20), therefore if you put the word of God in your mouth, as you say it, you set angels in motion to carry things out on your behalf. And God said that he elevates his word above his name (Psalm 138:2), and Jesus said that his words are spirits and life, so when we speak the word of God though it carries natural energy, it also carries spiritual energy.

Not only that, when we pray we set things in motion in the realm of the spirit as Daniel’s experience showed (Daniel 9-10).

He was praying and fasting and twice in response to his prayer effort God sent angels. And on one of the two occasions, for 21 days, an evil angel stopped the good angel from delivering his message. And as Daniel continued in prayer, another good angel was dispatched to help the first, and the initial angel sent was able to gain passage to deliver the divine message to Daniel.

Jesus said when we pray in the secret God will reward us openly (Matthew 6:6). Prayer gets God going. Jesus said that men ought always to pray and not to faint (Luke 18:1). When we spend time with God we get rewarded with his presence. God said: you will seek me and you will find me when you seek me with all your heart (Jeremiah 29:13). In prayer, we pay a special attention to God so that he can pay a special attention to us. We ask and it is given to us.

Our material giving also gets things going in the spirit. Jesus said when we give it will be given to us, good measure pressed down shaken together will men pour into our bosom (Luke 6:38).

When we give to God, which is to his course on earth, it is like a sweet-smelling odour going up to God in heaven (Philippians 4:10-18).

When Noah offered sacrifices after the flood which ravaged the earth, the bible said that God smelled the offering and promised to never destroy the world with a flood (Genesis 8:20-22). Noah connected with God on behalf of humanity with that offering, and God connected back with that promise and said that as long as the earth remains, seed-time and harvest will not cease.

Giving

butterfly-176156_640Leviticus 5:11: “But if he cannot afford two turtledoves or two pigeons, then he shall bring as his offering for the sin that he has committed a tenth of an ephah of fine flour for a sin offering. He shall put no oil on it and shall put no frankincense on it, for it is a sin offering. (ESV)

God is a giver. When he made man from the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, he invested his Spirit into man, as the bearer of his image on the earth (Genesis 1:26-18, 2:7). And after sin came in and the Adam and Eve discovered that they are naked, God provided a better covering in the form of the skin of a lamb (Genesis 3).

As a giver, Abraham was outstanding. He gave his son when God asked for it (Genesis 22). God had given him precious promises and had told him: walk before me and be perfect. He was called to a life of obedience which later involved taking the steps to sacrifice his son even though he did not practically execute it as he was given another instruction to give something else: a ram caught in the tickets.

Abraham was tested in his much he values the presence of God, and he passed.

Relationship is about giving. If there is no giving there is no relationship and the relationship between us and God is not different.

The bible says that for God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son and whoever believes in him will not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16). So by giving his son, he gave us eternal life (1John 5:11).

But there is nothing we need to give in return to benefit from that gift- it is our faith. We are to put our faith in Jesus, rely on him, make the sure to leave everything and follow Jesus.

David said he will not give God what does not cost him anything (2Samauel 24:24). He fully grasps the idea that giving is paramount in any relationship. He had enough reverence for God and love for him to want to give to him.

When it comes to the building of the temple, though eventually he did not do it, the bible says that he generously provide for the temple that his son would build and his generosity provoked many leaders to give with the same spirit of generosity.

His valuation of the importance of the house of God, of building a house for God, helped to shape other people’s values.

The religion in the Old Testament was about giving, sacrifice were made daily, monthly, yearly, everyone was to bring of the produce of the ground, fruit of the animals. They were told that it is God who gives them the power to get wealth.

And in the New Testament, Paul said that we should offer our bodies as living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is our reasonable sacrifice (Romans 12:1-2). This is our sensible response to the sacrifice Jesus made for us by dying for our sins and the benefits that have accrued to us through them.

What you give determines what you receive, and that is what Jesus said. He said: give and it will be given to you, good measure pressed down shaken together shall men pour into your bosom (Luke 6:38).

Even Jesus did not try to receive without first giving. He did not receive many sons into glory without first giving himself (Hebrews 2:10). He said: except a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it abides along but when it dies it brings forth many seeds, the seed sown gets multiplied (John 12:23-25). That is the nature of seed. The seed may look insignificant but it has the capacity to be multiplied.

Jesus gave himself and he also wants us to give ourselves. Paul said that we should be living sacrifices i.e. sacrifice with no end point. That it is living means that we should constantly need and opportunity to make the sacrifice. It is an ongoing sacrifices, where we separate ourselves to the glory of God.

As living sacrifices with living devotion to God, and dedication to him, our lives becomes seeds like Jesus’ was.

Be becomes seeds for spiritual impact in other peoples’ lives. Paul talked about his own sacrifice saying that he makes up what is lacking in the sacrifice of Jesus (Colossians 1:24). Not that the sacrifice of Jesus is not enough, but someone has to pay the sacrifice to bring the message, and that involves giving ourselves in self-sacrifice.

David said that he will not give God what does not cost him anything. He paid for the place where an altar was built even though it was offered to him free.

Our giving creates a channel between heaven and earth. It creates a landing pad for the things God is releasing, or wants to release. Our giving is a statement of desire for more.

The widow of Zeraphath gave, part of what she thought was not enough to feed herself and her son, to the prophet for the release of the multiplied blessings of God (1Kings 17).

That is the reason it is more blessed to given that to receive, according to the words of Jesus quoted by Paul (Acts 20:35). When we give we create the possibility for receiving in multiple folds. And Jesus said we should be faithful in the use of unrighteous mammon (money), so that we may have true riches.

When you give you show a heart of obedience, that you care, you show your divinity. God is generous and it is that trait that we exhibit as givers.

Giving also expresses lack of fear of lack. Fear causes people to withhold more than is necessary (2Timothy 1:6-7). They hoard money and are not generous. You cannot be a lover of God and not want to give, as your love for God is reflected in your love for others. When you trust God to provide for your needs you will give.