Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Proverbs 3:7-10 Open the Floodgates!

Before we move to this morning’s verses, I just wanted to thank you for praying for Don. The cancer committee was satisfied that the cancer has been removed and there is no need for further treatment. However, the surgeon may reopen the cut just to take a bit more margin as a precaution. He is going to speak with the pathologist about it. Don’s next visit is in two weeks.

Also, I want to ask for continued prayers for my sister, Jodi. She will be heading to Chicago at the end of this week, where she will see her doctors and they will check her bone marrow. Please pray for travel safety, protection from germs, as she is so vulnerable, and that they will find her bone marrow clear of any signs of the myeloma. She will be staying with her son, Jared, and his family, so pray that they will all remain healthy for the visit, and that Jodi will draw strength and encouragement from being with them.

Now, on to today’s passage, which like much of the Proverbs, jumps from one topic to the next:

Do not be wise in your own eyes;

    fear the Lord and shun evil.  
This will bring health to your body

    and nourishment to your bones.  
Honor the Lord with your wealth,

    with the firstfruits of all your crops;  
then your barns will be filled to overflowing,

    and your vats will brim over with new wine.  (Proverbs 3:7-10)

The Message states verse 7 this way: Don’t assume you know it all. Run to God! Run from evil! Why is it we think we are smarter than God? If Solomon were indeed writing this to a young man, possibly a teenager, I’m sure he felt the need to shake some sense into him, as teenagers are often wise in their own eyes! But we adults frequently act the same way. We fail to seek God’s wisdom because we think we have it handled. “I can get this one, God; no need for You to bother with it! I’ve got it covered!” That’s a small step toward disaster!

Verses 9-10 refer specifically to tithing, and while they seem unrelated to the first verses, they are about living a whole life that is in harmony with God’s will. And one of the ways we show that we are trusting and relying on God (verse 5) is by committing our finances to Him. When we put Him first in EVERYTHING, including our treasures, we are demonstrating wisdom! This is the one area in which God actually encourages us to test Him:

Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it. (Malachi 3:10)

Why does God ask for our money? He surely doesn’t need it! But we need to give it! Our handling of our finances speaks volumes about what we value. When we give him the first part (and an Old Testament tithe was at least a tenth of earnings, not including offerings), we show that we understand that ALL that we have comes from Him, and that He will take care of all of our needs.

One of the practical reasons that tithing works is that when you have set aside that financial gift back to God, you find that you are a much better budgeter of what is left. Your priorities for spending shift as you begin to take on His perspective about stewardship. You also begin to see your role in the local Body of Christ as your tithes help further the work of your church.

If you pay all of your other bills first, you will never find enough money left over to give. If this is not something you have ever done or tried, I would encourage you to test God in this area. Try setting aside a tithe for a few months and see if God doesn’t begin to bless you and somehow multiply back to you what you give to Him. It is all His anyway! God promises that our obedience in this will be rewarded - blessings from heaven will pour out on us. Who doesn’t want that??  

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