Read 2 Chronicles 31
Hezekiah seeks to destroy all idols. He inspires the people, renewing Burnt Offerings . . . and . . . the set feasts (II Chr. 31:3), as well as commanding them to tithe and support the priests so that the people might be encouraged in the Law of the Lord (31:4); firstfruits, tithes, and many biblical reforms. A powerful enemy rises up and threatens to destroy the nation of Israel. Notice which prophet Hezekiah joins forces with to pray for the Lord's protection (32:20-22).
Faith in the ever-present God inspires worship, and faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God (Rom. 10:17). This, in turn, will spontaneously prompt generous giving. Hezekiah appealed to the people to supply the financial needs of the priests and the Levites, that they might be encouraged in the Law of the Lord. . . . the children of Israel brought in abundance . . . and the tithe of all things. . . . The Lord hath blessed His people (II Chr. 31:4-5,10). When Jerusalem was cleansed of idolatry, the tithes poured in from all parts of the nation. The king was amazed at the overabundance when the people were in a right relationship with God. Giving to the Lord's wrok in the Lord's way will always insure the blessings of God. 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 . . . pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it (Mal. 3:10).
Repentance and cleansing from sin are followed by a desire for fellowship with God. This inevitably results in various sacrifices since all offerings are directly related to the basic principle of love. It is not what belongs to you that God is looking for, but you — self first, then offerings. This is the Divine order. Not only did Ananias and Sapphira not give all they pretended to give, but they never gave themselves to the Lord. Give because you want to, not because you have to. Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give (II Cor. 9:7).
How does one get to the point where he wants to give? The Macedonians found the secret. They first gave their own selves to the Lord (8:5).
In your giving, recognize the fact that you are giving to the Lord. Sometimes we talk of giving to the church or to missions, but we are really giving to the Lord through those channels.
The churches of Macedonia. . . . praying us with much intreaty that we would receive the gift. . . . but first gave their own selves to the Lord. . . . see that ye abound in this grace also (II Cor. 8:1,4-5,7).
Thought for Today:
Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you, Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you (Luke 6:27-28).
By Hezekiah's offering of the king's portion (share) of his substance for the Burnt Offerings (II Chr. 31:3). Burnt Offerings were wholly consumed, symbolic of total surrender, and offered as a sweet savour to the Lord (Lev. 8:28; Num. 15:3). God offered His King's portion in Christ Jesus who, in total surrender on the cross, was wholly consumed, even unto death. Christ . . . hath given Himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling savour (Eph. 5:2).
31:10 store abundance; 31:14 oblations free will offerings; 31:16 courses assigned tasks; 31:18 set office appointed office; 31:19 every several city every city; 32:6 comfortably encouragingly; 32:8 rested themselves relied; 32:17 rail on belittle; denounce; 32:18 affright brighten; 33:11 fetters chains.
Pray for Government Official: Rep. Steve Israel (NY) • Country: Iran (66.2 million) in southwestern Asia • Major languages: Farsi and Turki • Hostile to all Christian activity • 87% Shi'a; 12% Sunni; .5% Baha'i; .4% Christian; .03% Jewish; .04% Parsi (Zoroastrian); .03% Other • Prayer Suggestion: Ask the Lord to give you mercy and compassion for others (Jude 1:21-22).
Optional Reading: 2 Corinthians 1
Memory Verse for the Week: John 15:12