Bible reading for June 10.
"You shall give to him freely, and your heart shall not be grudging when you give to him, because for this the LORD your God will bless you in all your work and in all that you undertake." (Deuteronomy 15:10)
SABBATICAL YEAR. Every seventh year all Israelites were commanded to remit [or, release, cancel] their debts toward one another. Hebrew slaves were indentured only until that time, and at the Feast of Booths (Deut 31:10) they were to be released. And with this action a spirit of generosity was to prevail (vv 7-14). The Lord promised his blessing upon them for this (vv 6, 18; cf Prov 11:24-26). The Israelites were to remember their slavery in Egypt and to be sensitive toward others in need. They were not to be hardhearted or miserly toward the poor and the indebted.
GENEROSITY. Christians are to have open hearts and open hands toward one another and toward those in need. We have received a blessing that we might also be a blessing to others: "Freely you received, freely give" (Matt 10:8 NASV). God promises his added blessing: Jesus said, "...give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you" (Luke 6:38). We should not think only in terms of material blessings, or even in immediate blessing -- it's not a mechanical process. The overflow of God's goodness to us should result in our overflow of giving, forgiving, and thanksgiving: "For the ministry of this service is not only supplying the needs of the saints, but is also overflowing in many thanksgivings to God" (2 Cor 9:12; cf 9:6-11). We are to be, as it were, fountains that receive and pour forth God's blessing to others.
TAKEAWAY. The Lord Jesus is our model: He said, "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor" (Luke 4:18-19). And Paul wrote, "For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich" (2 Cor 8:9). God will give me what I need to fulfill this, so that I can be free with my resources, forgiveness, and all good things. Am I setting others free and making them rich by the gospel? Are we cancelling debts, lending and giving freely? Am I seeing and opening my heart to those who are dependent, marginalized, and those who have disabilities and inabilities?
"Of old you laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands. They will perish, but you will remain; they will all wear out like a garment. You will change them like a robe, and they will pass away, but you are the same, and your years have no end." (Psalm 102:25-27)
EVERYTHING WEARS OUT. Observe the images in this psalm of lament: dissipating smoke, a furnace in the bones, withering grass, skin and bones, a desert owl, a lonely sparrow, ashes for bread, and an evening shadow (vv 1-11). The psalmist is not only in distress but he is fading away. "But God..." introduces hope in verse 12. He is enthroned forever. He will have pity on his people. He will act and show forth his glory (vv 12-22). The real comfort of the psalmist comes in verses 23-28: God's immutability. This involves his eternality, but more: "You are the same..." The earth will wear out. We will wear out. But God is unchangeably and eternally God. This gives hope for our security, that we will have a permanent place in his plan (v 28). This passage is cited in the NT letter of Hebrews (1:10-12).
GOD'S IMMUTABILITY. Our permanence (in any sense) is related to his permanence. God will not change his mind about us (Mal 3:6), or fail to fulfill a promise (Num 23:19). He will not change his plans and decide, say, a million or so years from now, to let us fall away, or to come up with a new scheme where evil is good and good is evil. This is what the church has always believed: "God is eternal, infinite, and unchangeable in his power and perfection, goodness and glory, wisdom, justice, and truth" (New City Catechism, Q#2). God is "the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change" (James 1:17). His character and power cannot change for the better or for the worse. And Hebrews 13:8 says that "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever." We may wear out, but he will never wear out -- nor will we wear him out! That is why "his mercies are new every morning" (Lam 3:23). Is this a comfort to you? Do you think about, and thank God often, for his rock-solid character and power? How can this truth help you during changing and uncertain times?
Image credit: photo by John Wilson on Unsplash.
We are following the Robert Murray M'Cheyne (RMM) two-year reading schedule, as arranged by D. A. Carson.
Scripture quotations, unless otherwise noted, are from The ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
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