[forthright] Giving

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From: "Forthright Magazine" <forthrightmag@...>
Date: Mon, 24 Mar 2008 21:25:06 -0300
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COLUMN: FINAL PHASE

Giving
  by J. Randal Matheny, editor

In Scripture the most common subject of the verb "to
give" is God. The greatest gift God ever gave was his
only Son Jesus Christ. "For God so loved the world that
he gave his only Son, so that whoever believes in him
may not perish but have eternal life" (John 3:16).

God gives rest (Joshua 22:4; 2 Chronicles 20:30),
another heart (1 Samuel 10:9), one heart to obey his
command (2 Chronicles 30:12), a heart that knows him
(Jeremiah 24:7), wisdom and understand (1 Kings 4:29;
Daniel 1:17; Ephesians 1:17), sons and daughters (1
Chronicles 25:5), a kingdom (2 Chronicles 13:5; 1 Kings
11:31; Daniel 5:18), a king to the people (Acts 13:21),
an inheritance (Deuteronomy 20:16; Acts 20:32;
Galatians 3:18), a "stake" (NRSV) or "firm place" (NIV)
in his sanctuary (Ezra 9:8), "reviving" (NASB) or "new
life" (NIV, NRSV) for restoration (v. 9), a remnant (v.
13), favor (Psalm 84:11), peace (Jeremiah 14:13), glory
(1 Peter 1:21), a revelation (Revelation 1:1) mercy or
acceptance by others (Genesis 43:14), repentance and
forgiveness of sins (Acts 5:31; 2 Timothy 2:25) and
eternal life (1 John 5:11).

God gives the spirit to man (Ecclesiasted 12:7) and the
power to become his sons to those who believe in Jesus'
name (John 1:12).

God also gives someone up to desolation (2 Chronicles
30:7), to the king of Babylon (Ezra 5:12; Daniel 1:2).
He gave Jerusalem to punishment (Ezekiel 15:6). He was
willing to give a large part of Africa -- Egypt,
Ethiopia and Seba -- to redeem Israel (Isaiah 43:3).

That which is given to another must be received. Hence,
although God gave Israel Canaan (Genesis 17:8; 27:7;
Leviticus 25:38; Deuteronomy 1:25; Joshua 1:15; Ezekiel
36:28), the land had to be possessed by driving out the
inhabitants.

A blessing upon others includes a prayer that God would
give something to the blessed (Genesis 27:28; 28:3-4).
Asking God to give is a part of prayer (Genesis 15:2),
as are vows to give back (Genesis 28:20-22). To Solomon
God asked him to name what should be given him (1 Kings
3:5).

Metaphors use the idea of giving, such as God giving an
ear (listens) to a supplicant (Psalm 77:1).

Receiving God's good gifts implies stewardship and not
using them for self or to render up to other gods
(Ezekiel 16:16-19). The recipient of a gift may easily
forget who gave it, to show proper gratitude
(Deuteronomy 6:10-12).

God gives his Holy Spirit to those who believe and obey
(Acts 5:32; 11:17; cf. 2:38; Romans 5:5; 2 Corinthians
5:5; 1 Thessalonians 4:8). He gives the Spirit "so that
we may understand the gifts bestowed on us by God" (1
Corinthians 2:12).

He gives the increase (1 Corinthians 3:6, Gr.,
"auxano"). He gives wisdom, knowledge and joy "to the
one who pleases him" (Ecclesiastes 2:26). He gives
freely without chiding (James 1:5).

A keynote of the first chapter of James is giving: God
gives wisdom (v. 5), but only to the one who asks in
faith (v. 6-8). The perservering one will receive the
Lord's promise of the crown of life (v. 12). God is the
perfect giver, and constant; his best gift was giving
us life by the word of truth (James 1:17-18).

The Son follows the example of the Father. He gave
himself for our sins (Galatians 1:14), because he loves
us (Galatians 2:20), as an offering and sacrifice to
God (Ephesians 5:2). He gives eternal life (John 6:27;
Revelation 2:7), which consists of an understanding to
know him (1 John 5:20).

Martha's confidence that God would give to his Son
whatever he asked is also ours (John 11:22). We know
this even better, since God gave him a name above all
others (Philippians 2:9) and has given all things into
his hands (John 13:3).

Among God's people, the giver must not grieve at the
"loss" of his gift (Deuteronomy 15:10). The Lord's
blessings are to be given to others (Deuteronomy
15:14).

Besides the gift of salvation, man's greatest gift is
the commission of preaching the grace of God (Ephesians
3:2, 7; Colossians 1:25). He "has given us the ministry
of reconciliation" (2 Corinthians 5:17). God gives his
grace (1 Corinthians 1:4), not only for personal
consumption, but for public proclamation which builds
the house of God (1 Corinthians 3:10; cf. Romans 12:3;
15:15).

To give glory to God means to recognize his majesty and
sovereignty. It is a condition to survival (Jeremiah
13:16) and includes listening to his word (v. 17). It
means giving thanks for blessings received (Luke
17:18). It at times means confessing sin or the truth
(John 9:24). Associated with giving glory to God is
fearing him (Revelation 14:7) and repentance
(Revelation 16:9).

Whatever one's losses incurred as a price for obeying
God, his people must know that "the Lord is able to
give you much more than this" (2 Chronicles 25:9). He
gives us power, love and a sound mind, not a timid
attitude (2 Timothy 1:7). Through grace he gave us
eternal comfort and good hope, which serve as a basis
for asking for present comfort and strength in every
good work and word (2 Thessalonians 2:16-17).

At Jesus' invitation, we ask, "Give me this water"
(John 4:7-15).

Man must give what is due each one (Mark 12:14-17).
Some things are impossible to give to God, such as a
ransom for one's brother (Psalm 49:7). But we must give
account of ourselves to God (Romans 14:12).

Paul recalls a quote by Jesus recorded nowhere else in
Scripture: "It is more blessed to give than to receive"
(Acts 20:35).

As Francis Havergal wrote,

I gave My life for thee,
My precious blood I shed,
That thou might ransomed be,
And raised up from the dead.
I gave, I gave My life for thee,
What hast thou given for Me?
I gave, I gave My life for thee,
What hast thou given for Me?

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