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Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Marks of a Revived People (2 Chronicles 31:4-5, 10b)

 "He ordered the people living in Jerusalem to give the portion due the priests and Levites so they could devote themselves to the Law of the LORD. As soon as the order went out, the Israelites generously gave the first fruits of their grain, new wine, oil and honey and all that the fields produced. They brought a great amount, a tithe of everything."
"Since the people began to bring their contributions to the temple of the Lord, we have had enough to eat and plenty to spare, because the LORD has blessed his people, and this great amount is left over."

You give to what you believe in and you keep watch over your investments. I had never kept up with the Dow Jones Stock Market until I opened a small mutual fund some years ago. It was then that I became interested in how the market was doing. Personal investments do that. 

Giving is an investment tool. If you are interested in people then you invest in people. If you are interested in God's work here on earth then you'll give to spiritual causes that further His kingdom. Giving is an indicator of your interests. 

The lack of giving reveals self-centeredness. Self-absorbed people spend all of their money on themselves while spiritually minded people invest their time and resources in others. So then, giving is a spiritual indicator.

Hezekiah supports the work of the Levites and orders the people to support the priests and their work. They respond wholeheartedly by giving "a great amount of tithe of everything". Four months later offerings are piled everywhere. When people first give themselves to the Lord their pocket books soon follow. 

Liberal giving characterizes a revived people.

God blesses those who give first and live off of the rest while those who are stingy live off the first and give from their leftovers (rarely do they have leftovers and rarely do they give). They think that they can't afford to give while spiritual investors look for opportunities to give.

Hezekiah's example teaches us that stingy leaders generally have stingy followers while generous leaders tend to lead generous people.

Questions for today's Chronological Bible reading:
2 Chronicles 31:2-21

  • Describe the distribution process of the offering given to the Levites.
Isaiah 18:1-21:17
  • Why does the LORD raise up adversaries against Egypt?
  • Who does the LORD use to judge Egypt?
  • How will Egypt respond to their oppressors?
  • What point does the LORD make in having Isaiah prophesy barefoot and half-naked?
  • How does Isaiah respond to the vision God gives him?
  • How does this vision effect Isaiah physically?
  • What analogy does the LORD use to describe Israel's prophets?
Turning truth into prayer
Ask the LORD to allow you to see that in which you've invested. Ask Him to help you to invest in the three things that last forever: prayer, the Word of God, and the souls of men.