Giving to God (Series 1, Lesson 2)
These lessons are designed to be easily used for personal Bible Study or as a guide for group Bible Studies. Each of the lessons will include a set of discussion questions at the end of the lesson, which can be used either privately for introspection or in a group setting as provocative discussion builders. The very first thing that God gave to man after He had created them was dominion over the all the living creatures that moved on the earth, and he gave to man every “herb bearing seed” and every “fruit of a tree yielding seed” for food. He told man to “Be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the earth”. (Gen. 1: 28-30).
Think about that for a moment. He GAVE man the command to replenish the earth, and GAVE man control over the living things, and He GAVE man the herbs and fruits and vegetables of the earth for food. Think about this: Once He had given that command, the control, and the means to do it, to the people of earth, could He have taken it back? In the next chapter in Genesis, we receive more detail about his gift and instructions: “And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” (Gen. 2: 16-17).
So why give man everything but one tree, one fruit of one tree? Could it be symbolic (to man) that everything we have belongs to God, but He has GIVEN us the use of it? So by not eating of that one tree, man shows God that he recognizes that He is in control, that He gave it to man, that only He has the ability to create anything? You see, if man could create, if man were God’s equal, then the restriction would not have been necessary. Actually, it would have simply been a power-trip, as we might say today. It would have been God simply exerting His Godship and Ultimate control over His creation (Not that there would be anything wrong there, either.) But by giving man control over everything except one thing, one tree that probably didn’t have any special characteristics the other trees didn’t have, except there was a virtual sign that said, “Don’t touch this”, the tree became symbolic of recognizing that God created and owned everything. Wasn’t Old Testament tithing much the same? Did God really need the Israelites to tithe to provide for the poor and the Levites (the priests of the day)? Of course not! He could have provided for the poor and the Levites the same way He provided for everyone else! But by requiring a tenth (or more), He simply reminded the people that everything was created by Him, given by Him, and under His authority. By tithing, the people recognized that what they had did not come from their own personal creativity and self, but rather was a gift from God. New Testament giving is much the same way. Although tithing is not a requirement today (we can give as much as we want, 20%, 30%, whatever!), we are admonished to give cheerfully: “But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.” (Paul, writing in II Cor.
9: 6-7). When we give, we recognize that God is truly God, that he is the true giver of everything, of all life and things. We do not give to appease an angry God, we give to recognize a loving God as more bountiful than ourselves. Questions for discussion: How do you feel about giving back to the Creator of the Universe? Do you see the fall of man, and God’s provision to give us back the life we lost, in a different light now than before reading this? Do you see that when we give God back a portion of our bounty, we recognize Him as the ultimate giver and creator? Note: Scripture references are from the KJV. You have my permission to reprint and distribute this article as long as it is distributed in its entirety, including all links and copyright information. © Sean Mize 2006.
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