God's giving

God wants to have a strong bond with us.

God wants to have a strong bond with us.

2 Chronicles 27

One of the few accomplishments of King Jotham that is recorded in the Bible is this: "Jotham rebuilt the Upper Gate of the temple of the Lord and did extensive work on the wall at the hill of Ophel." (vs 3) Of course, any time anyone in Judah had regard for God’s temple, that was a good sign, but Bible scholars suggest that working on the "Upper Gate" of the temple means that Jotham rebuilt and restored the link between the temple and the palace in order to have free access from his house to God’s house.

God can give us more.

God can give us more.

2 Chronicles 25

Amaziah—like his father—started out well as king. Later, he too strayed from the ways of the Lord, but as kings of Judah went, he was a pretty good one. (Which is, I think, a sad commentary on the kings of Judah!) Before he went astray, however, he had a habit of listening whenever the Lord talked to him. One such occasion was recorded in this chapter:

God gives us rest.

God gives us rest.

2 Chronicles 14

I loved this verse from chapter 14: "Let us build up these towns," [Asa] said to Judah, "and put walls around them, with towers, gates and bars. The land is still ours, because we have sought the Lord our God; we sought him and he has given us rest on every side." (vs 7) The Israelites in Judah had not yet forsaken what they had learned in Egyptian captivity—that God is the very best King there is.

God's gifts can be squandered.

2 Chronicles 10

Today’s chapter reminded me somewhat of the story of the Prodigal Son—you know, the foolish boy who squandered the riches of his father’s estate. And since we looked yesterday at what an outrageous giver God is, I thought it might be prudent to add a P.S. today—that all of God’s gifts come with freedom. That means, if we are foolish enough, we can squander them all. What God gives, He doesn’t force us to keep or use wisely. We are free to do with His gifts what we want.

When Rehoboam succeeded his father as king, it didn’t take long to discover that he had inherited none of Solomon’s wisdom. In fact, one commentator (Dilday) observed that "with a dozen rash words, Rehoboam, the bungling dictator, opened the door for four hundred years of strife, weakness, and, eventually, the destruction of the entire nation." It didn’t take very much to totally destroy everything his father had built in Israel. His reign ushered in a phase of rebellion that split the nation, a rebellion from which it never recovered.

Photo © Unsplash/Paco S

Photo © Unsplash/Paco S

With all his wisdom and insight, it seems that Solomon foresaw this possibility, although it’s unknown whether he had his own son in mind when he wrote these words: "I hated all the things I had toiled for under the sun, because I must leave them to the one who comes after me. And who knows whether that person will be wise or foolish? Yet they will have control over all the fruit of my toil into which I have poured my effort and skill under the sun." (Eccl 2:18-19) It seems Solomon accurately foretold the fate of Israel.

Rehoboam took everything his father had built and wasted it. He took all of the gifts God had blessed his family with and squandered them. And, although it may be hard for us to believe, God allowed him to do it, and He also allows us to do it. He does not cease to be generous, even if He knows we will squander what He has given us. He gives because He is a giver, not because He will force us to use those gifts in a way that is pleasing to Him. He doesn’t determine outcomes. He doesn’t dictate our behavior. He only determines His behavior.

Photo © Unsplash/freestocks.org

Photo © Unsplash/freestocks.org

God gives us the freedom to take what He’s given us and abuse it, if we wish. We can destroy His gifts, if we wish. There’s part of me that still doesn’t understand that, just as I don’t understand why the father of the Prodigal Son would finance his journey into the far country. The only thing I can say is that God loves to give, and He loves to give with no strings attached. Accepting His gifts doesn’t turn us into puppets. We are free, as Rehoboam was, to squander it all... if we’re that foolish.

God always gives more.

God always gives more.

2 Chronicles 9

There’s no doubt about it. The Queen of Sheba was totally smitten with Solomon. Everything about him and his kingdom took her in—the palace, the temple, the banquet, and especially his wisdom. She had been expecting to see great things on her visit to Solomon, but she wasn’t prepared for what she actually found when she got there: "She said to the king, 'The report I heard in my own country about your achievements and your wisdom is true. But I did not believe what they said until I came and saw with my own eyes. Indeed, not even half the greatness of your wisdom was told me; you have far exceeded the report I heard.'" (vs 5-6)

God gives specific gifts to specific people.

God gives specific gifts to specific people.

1 Chronicles 27

To me, there is a troubling trend in modern Western society. I see it happening in schools with children, as well as in the general workplace with adults. I’m not sure what has caused this trend to appear in our culture. Perhaps it has its roots in the feminist movement or the civil rights movement. Regardless of where it came from, however, the trend has become that everybody must be seen and considered as equal in most every way.

God wants us to trust Him.

God wants us to trust Him.

1 Chronicles 22

Just before Solomon ascended to the throne, his father made all the necessary preparations for the building of the temple. David had wanted to build the temple himself, but God had decided that Solomon would build it instead. This was because Solomon would not be a warring king, as his father had been. In fact, Solomon’s very name was related to the Hebrew word for peace. It seems that God wanted the idea of peace to be an integral part of His dwelling place on Earth.

God is the parent.

God is the parent.

1 Chronicles 17

I think it means a lot of different things to say that we are created in the image of God. I believe that includes things like having freedom of choice, having the power to create little people in our own image, and being able to think intelligently. However, I also think it can point to other, more minor, characteristics or character traits, such as the example we find in this chapter.

One-Hit Wonder {ex17:1-6}

exodus-gods-graciousness-one-hit-wonder.png

"Israel drank from the spiritual rock that traveled with them,
and that rock was Christ." 1 Corinthians 10:4

God gives.
He doesn't know how to do anything else.
He gives rain to the righteous
        and rain to the wicked.
He gives water to the grateful
        and water to the complainers.

God is good.
He doesn't know how to be anything else.
If you are good to Him,
        He will be good to you.
If you are evil to Him,
        He will be good to you.

Moses struck the rock
with his rod at Meribah
and life-giving water flowed out.

We strike the Rock and
Life is still the thing
that gushes out after us,
a flood of grace
        to meet our anger,
a deluge of mercy
        to defy our shame,
a surge of good
        to repay our evil.

 

Mundane Manna {ex16:11-12}

Photo © Unsplash/Evi Radauscher

Photo © Unsplash/Evi Radauscher

In Egypt
God's people ate their fill
of meat and bread.
And in the wilderness
God's people ate their fill
of meat and bread.

For forty years
—14,600 days and nights—
God revealed to the Israelites
not that He could feed them in the desert
but that it was He
who had fed them in Egypt.

For God, the manna wasn't miraculous.

It is no harder for Him
to make bread rain from the sky
than it is to make
wheat stand in the soil or
dough rise in the bowl or
the crust appear in the oven.

God miraculously provided
for His people in the wilderness
no more or less
than He had in Egypt.

We should stop wondering
why God no longer works miracles and
start asking why we still consider
anything in this life
mundane.

 

God gives us all the right things.

God gives us all the right things.

1 Chronicles 4

About 20 years ago, author Bruce Wilkinson made two verses of 1 Chronicles 4 famous with his book, The Prayer of Jabez. Who knew that a genealogical chapter of the Bible could produce something so lucrative? I remember the book well. Though I never actually read it, I remember the firestorm it caused in the Christian church. Many people were excited about it—going to their weekly group study about Jabez to learn how to garner some extra wealth from God. And an equal number of people were extremely opposed to it, shocked that any Christian should ask God for more.

God can restore everything.

God can restore everything.

2 Kings 8

Since I didn’t end up commenting on her in chapter 4, I’m glad the Shunammite woman is back again. You remember her: She was the gal who (along with her husband) built a room in their home for the prophet Elijah. And, in order to repay their kindness, Elijah told the childless couple that they would have a son. This obviously delighted the woman, but it was clear that she didn’t want to get her hopes up. What I really loved about her, though, was what she did when her son died of a head injury several years later. The woman went immediately to Elijah and said, "Did I ask you for a son, my lord? Didn’t I tell you, 'Don’t raise my hopes?'" (2 Kings 4:28)

God has no problem with wealth.

God has no problem with wealth.

1 Kings 10

Did you notice that as you read through today’s chapter? Whoa! God certainly has no problem with wealth! I was amazed by the fact that Solomon had 1,400 chariots and 12,000 horses. Who needs 12,000 horses?! And this was just in addition to his palace and all the other things he acquired over the years as his fame spread far and wide. In the description of Solomon’s palace, the Bible says "nothing like it had ever been made for any other kingdom." (vs 20) Solomon was, by far, the richest man in the world—probably in the history of the world!

God wants us to have it all.

God wants us to have it all.

1 Kings 3

Wow! This chapter started out with God coming to Solomon like a genie in a bottle: "At Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon during the night in a dream, and God said, 'Ask for whatever you want me to give you.'" (vs 5) I had to wonder what I would say if God ever approached me like that. If you believed you were talking to someone who could give you anything, what would you really want?

God loves His enemies.

God loves His enemies.

2 SAMUEL 9

What another beautiful picture of God revealed in David in 2 Samuel 9. After being established as king of Israel, David looks for a way to pay kindness to the family of Saul: "The king asked, 'Is there no one still alive from the house of Saul to whom I can show God’s kindness?'" (vs 3) This was something quite remarkable in David’s time. In those days, kings would do everything possible to exterminate the descendants of previous kings in order to prevent their ascension to the throne at a later time.

God is good to everyone.

God is good to everyone.

1 SAMUEL 30

I love seeing these glimpses of God’s heart flash through in the life of David. From this chapter: "Along the way [David's men] found an Egyptian man in a field and brought him to David. They gave him some bread to eat and water to drink. They also gave him part of a fig cake and two clusters of raisins, for he hadn’t had anything to eat or drink for three days and nights. Before long his strength returned. 'To whom do you belong, and where do you come from?' David asked him. 'I am an Egyptian—the slave of an Amalekite,' he replied. 'My master abandoned me three days ago because I was sick. We were on our way back from raiding the Kerethites in the Negev, the territory of Judah, and the land of Caleb, and we had just burned Ziklag.'" (vs 11-14)

God gives us what we want.

God gives us what we want.

1 SAMUEL 28

Several years ago, Rob Bell wrote a book called Love Wins. It generated a lot of controversy by posing the question of whether or not there is an eternal hell. But the chapter I was most intrigued by was one that asked the question, Does God get what God wants? Bell didn’t provide an absolute answer, but he seemed to insinuate that (since God wants everyone to come to a knowledge of salvation) if everyone wasn’t saved, God wasn’t “great” enough to get what He wants. (At least, that’s what I understood him to be saying.)

God is extravagant.

God is extravagant.

JUDGES 17

What a quirky little chapter. Out of the blue, there is a story about this guy named Micah. He was a thief—having swiped 1100 shekels of silver from his mom. (Who steals from Mom?) After he heard her pronounce a curse on whoever had stolen the money, he fessed up and returned it. In turn, she was so worried that the curse would follow her thieving child that she had some of it melted down and made into a little idol that Micah kept in his house. His "god" would hopefully protect him from the curse.

God believes in a good offense.

God believes in a good offense.

JUDGES 15

If you like sports, you’ve probably heard the old saying that the best defense is a good offense. In other words, in the middle of a game, instead of trying to fight off an attack from the opposing team, you want to be on the offensive. You want to have to make them shut you down... not the other way around. The best defense is a good offense.

God gives the best.

God gives the best.

JUDGES 11

My dad used to say this about marriage: "God gives the best to those who leave the choice with Him." I can wholeheartedly attest to the truth of that statement. For those of you who know me and my husband, it may come as a shock, but when I met David, one of the first things I thought about him was that I could never date him. He just wasn’t "my type." Or so I thought. As it turns out, God knew my type a lot better than I did! Go figure!