April 20: Be Generous to Consume?
Joshua 4:1–6:27; 2 Corinthians 9:6–15; Psalm 48
Our culture encourages us to absorb the latest and greatest, and then cast off our gently used devices. We are targeted to accumulate and consume. The new feature we learned about yesterday is now the one we can’t live without. At first, 2 Corinthians 9 seems to appeal to our consumer lifestyle: “The one who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and the one who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully” (2 Cor 9:6).
This verse has often been used to encourage giving, because then, God will provide us with even more. But should we give more for the sake of consuming more? Should this be our motivation for generosity?
Paul debunks this idea in the next verse: “Each one should give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or from compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Cor 9:7). Certainly God will provide for those who give; He takes care of those who follow Him. But our willingness to give should not be out of compulsion, obligation, or giving in order to receive. Selfish giving produces selfishness, not the love and mercy God desires (Micah 6:8).
God is incredibly generous. He gives us gifts—even sending His Son to die for us. As a result of His gracious love, we should also freely give. It reflects the thankfulness in our hearts: “being made rich in every way for all generosity” (2 Cor 9:11).
God’s generosity doesn’t hinge on our giving. We should give out of love for Him, and not from expecting a return on our investment.
What are your motives for giving?
REBECCA VAN NOORD
- And when all the people were wholly gone over Jordan (after the Lord had spoken unto Joshua, saying, Take you twelve men out of the people out of every tribe a man, And command you them, saying, Take you hence out of the midst of Jordan, out of the place where the Priests stood in a readiness, twelve stones, which ye shall take away with you, and leave them in the lodging, where you shall lodge this night) Then Joshua called the twelve men, whom he had prepared of the children of Israel, out of every tribe of man. And Joshua said unto them, Go over before the Ark of the Lord your God, even through the midst of Jordan, and take up every man of you a stone upon his shoulder according unto the number o the tribes of the children of Israel. That this may be a sign among you, that when your children shall ask their fathers in time to come, saying, What meant you by these stones? Then ye may answer them, That the waters of Jordan were cut off before the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord: for when it passed through Jordan, the waters of Jordan were cut off: therefore these stones are a memorial unto the children of Israel forever. Then the children of Israel did even so as Joshua had commanded, and took up twelve stones out of the midst of Jordan as the Lord had said unto Joshua, according unto the number of the tribes of the children of Israel, and carried them away with them unto the lodging, and laid them down there. And Joshua set up twelve stones in the midst of Jordan, in the place where the feet of the Priests, which bare the Ark of the Covenant stood, and there have they continued unto this day. So the Priests, which bare the Ark, stood in the midst of Jordan, until every was finished that the Lord had commanded Joshua to say unto the people, according to all that Moses charged Joshua: then the people hasted and went over. When all the people were clean passed over, the Ark of the Lord went over also, and the Priests before the people. And the sons of Reuben, and the sons of Gad, and half the tribe of Manasseh went over before the children of Israel armed, as Moses had charged them. Even forty thousand prepared for war, went before the Lord unto battle, into the plain of Jericho. That day the Lord magnified Joshua in the sight of all Israel, and they feared him, as they feared Moses all the days of his life. And the Lord spake unto Joshua, saying, Command the Priests that fear the Ark of the testimony, to come up out of Jordan. Joshua therefore commanded the Priests, saying, Come ye up out of Jordan. And when the Priests that bare the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord, were come up out of the midst of Jordan, and as soon as the soles of the Priests’ feet were set on the dry land, the waters of Jordan returned unto their place, and flowed over all the banks thereof, as they did before. So the people came up out of Jordan the tenth day of the first month, and pitched in Gilgal, in the East side of Jericho. Also the twelve stones, which they took out of Jordan, did Joshua pitch in Gilgal. And he spake unto the children of Israel, saying, When your children shall ask their fathers in time to come, and say, What mean these stones? Then ye shall show your children, and say, Israel came over this Jordan on dry land: For the Lord your God dried up the waters of Jordan before you, until ye were gone over as the Lord your God did the red Sea, which he dried up before us, till we were gone over, That all the people of the world may know that the hand of the Lord is mighty, that ye might fear the Lord your God continually. Now when all the Kings of the Amorites, which were beyond Jordan Westward, and all the Kings of the Canaanites which were by the Sea, heard that the Lord had dried up the waters of Jordan before the children of Israel until they were gone over, their hearts fainted: and there was no courage in them anymore because of the children of Israel. That same time the Lord said unto Joshua, Make thee sharp knives, and return, and circumcise the sons of Israel the second time. Then Joshua made him sharp knives, and circumcised the sons of Israel in the hill of the foreskins. And this is the cause why Joshua circumcised all the people, even the males that came out of Egypt, because all the men of war were died in the wilderness by the way after they came out of Egypt. For all the people that came out, were circumcised: but all the people that were born in the wilderness by the way after they came out of Egypt, were not circumcised. For the children of Israel walked forty years in the wilderness, till all the people of the men of war that came out of Egypt, were consumed, because they obeyed not the voice of the Lord: unto whom the Lord sware that he would not show them the land, which the Lord had sworn unto their fathers, that he would give us, even a land that floweth with milk and honey. So their sons whom he raised up in their stead, Joshua circumcised: for they were uncircumcised, because they circumcised them not by the way. And when they had made an end of circumcising all the people, they abode in the places in the camp till they were whole. After, the Lord said unto Joshua, This day I have taken away the shame of Egypt from you: wherefore he called the name of that place, Gilgal, unto this day So the children of Israel abode in Gilgal, and kept the feast of the Passover, unleavened bread, and parched corn in the same day. And the Manna ceased on the morrow after they had eaten of the corn of the land, neither had the children of Israel Manna anymore, but did eat of the fruit of the land of Canaan that year. And when Joshua was by Jericho, he lift up his eyes and looked: and behold, there stood a man against him, having a sword drawn in his hand: and Joshua went unto him, and said unto him, Art thou on our side, or on our adversaries? And he said, Nay, but as a captain of the host of the Lord am I now come: then Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and did worship, and said unto him, What saith the Lord unto his servant? And the captian of the Lord’s host said unto Joshua, Loose thy shoe of thy foot: for the place whereon thou standest, is holy: and Joshua did so. Now Jericho was shut up, and closed, because of the children of Israel, none might go out nor enter in. And the Lord said unto Joshua, Behold, I have given into thine hand Jericho and the king thereof, and the strong men of war. All ye therefore that be men of war, shall compass the city, in going round about the city once: thus shall you do six days: And seven Priests shall bear seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the Ark: and the seventh day ye shall commpass the city seven times, and the Priests shall blow with the trumpets, And when they make a long blast with the ram’s horn, and ye hear the sound of the trumpet, all the people shall shout with a great shout: then shall the wall of the city fall down flat, and the people shall ascend up, every man straight before him Then Joshua the son of Nun called the Priests and said unto them, Take up the Ark of the Covenant, and let seven Priests bear seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the Ark of the Lord. But he said unto the people, Go and compass the city: and let him that is armed go forth before the Ark of the Lord. And when Joshua had spoken unto the people, the seven priests bare the seven trumpets of rams’ horns, and went forth before the Ark of the Lord, and blew with the trumpets, and the ark of the Covenant of the Lord followed them. And the men of arms went before the priests and bles the trumpets: then the gathering host came after the Ark, and they went and blew the trumpets. (Now Joshua had commanded the people, saying, Ye shall not shout, neither make any noise with your voice, neither shall a word proceed out of your mouth, until the day that I say unto you, Shout, then shall ye shout.) So the Ark of the Lord compassed the city, and went about it once: then they returned into the host, and lodged in the camp. And Joshua rose early n the morning, and the Priests bare the Ark of the Lord: Also seven Priests bare seven trumpets of rams’ horns, and went before the Ark of the Lord, and going blew with the trumpets: and the men of arms went before them, but the gathering host came after the Ark of the Lord, as they went and blew the trumpets. And the second day they compassed the city once, and returned into the host: thus they did six days. And when the seventh day came, they rose early, even with the dawning of the day, and compassed the city after the same manner seven times: only that day they compassed the city seven times. And when the Priests had blow the trumpets the seventh time, Joshua said unto the people, Shout: for the Lord hath given you the city. And the city shall be an execrable thing, both it, and all that are therein, unto the Lord: only rahab the harlot shall live, she, and all that are with her in the house: for she hid the messengers that we sent. Notwithstanding, be ye ware of the execrable thing, lest ye make yourselves excrable thing, lest ye make yourselves execrable, and in taking of the execrable thing, make also the host of Israel execrable, and trouble it. But all silver, and gold, and vessels of brass, and iron shall be consecrate unto the Lord, and shall come into the Lord’s treasurey. So the people shouted, when they had blown trumpets: for when the people had heard the sound of the trumpets, they shouted with a great shout: and the wall fell down flat: so the people went up into the city, every man straight before him: and they took the city. And they utterly destroyed all that was in the cities both man and woman, young, and old, and ox, and sheep, and ass with the edge of the sword. But Joshua had said unto the two men that had spied out the country, Go into the harlot’s house, and bring out thence the woman, and all that she hath, as ye swore to her. So the young men that were spies, went in and brought out Rahab, and her father, and her mother, and her brethren, and all that she had: also they brought out all her family, and put them without the host of Israel. After, they burnt the city with fire, and all that was therein: only the silver and the gold, and the vessels of brass and iron, they put unto the treasure of the house of the Lord. So Joshua saved Rahab the harlot, and her father’s household, and all that she had, and she dwelt in Israel, even unto this day, because she had hid the messengers, which Joshua sent to spy out Jericho. And Joshua swore at that time, saying, Cursed be the man before the Lord, that riseth up, and buildeth the city Jericho: he shall lay the foundation thereof in his eldest son, and in his youngest son shall he set up the gates of it. So the Lord was with Joshua, and he was famous through all the world. Joshua 4:1–6:27
- This yet remember, that he which soweth sparingly, shall reap also sparingly, and he that soweth liberally, shall reap also liberally. As every man wisheth in his heart, so let him give, not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace to abound toward you, that ye always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound in every good work, (As it is written, He hath sparsed abroad and hath given to the poor: his benevolence remaineth for ever. Also he that findeth seed to the sower, will minister likewise bread for food, and multiply your seed, and increase the fruits of your benevolence.) That on all parts ye may be made rich unto all liberality, which causeth through us thanksgiving unto God. For the ministration of this service not only supplieth the necessities of the Saints, but also abundantly causeth many to give thanks to God. (Which by the experiment of this ministration praise God for your voluntary submission to the Gospel of Christ, and for your liberal distribution to them, and to all men.) And in their prayer for you, to long after you greatly, for the abundant grace of God in you. Thanks therefore be unto God for his unspeakable gift. 2 Corinthians 9:6–15
- Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised in the City of our God, even upon his holy Mountain. Mount Zion, lying Northward, is fair in situation: it is the joy of the whole earth, and the City of the great king. In the palaces thereof God is known for a refuge. For lo, the kings were gathered, and went together. When they saw it, they marveled: they were astonied, and suddenly driven back. Fear came there upon them, and sorrow, as upon a woman in travail. As with an East wind thou breakest the ships of Tarshish, so were they destroyed. As we have heard, so have we seen in the City of the Lord of hosts, in the city of our God: God will establish it forever. Selah. We wait for thy loving kindness, O God, in the midst of thy Temple. O God, according to thy Name, so is thy praise unto the world’s end: thy right hand is full of righteousness. Let mount Zion, and go round about it, and tell the towers thereof. Mark well the wall thereof: behold her towers, that ye may tell your posterity. For this God is our God forever and ever, he shall be our guide unto the death. Psalm 48