“Honor the LORD with your substance and with the first fruits of all your produce; then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will be bursting with wine.” (Proverbs 3:9-10 RSV).
When it finally began to dawn on Pharaoh the King of Egypt that he could no longer hold the children of Israel in captivity he began to negotiate or discuss the terms of their release with Moses.
When God brought thick darkness upon all the land of Egypt, except Goshen where the children of Israel were dwelling, for three days Pharaoh called Moses and said, “Go, serve the LORD; only let your flocks and your herds be kept back. Let your little ones also go with you.” (Exo. 10:24 NKJV).
Pharaoh would not mind the children of Israel going out of Egypt to worship their God empty-handed, leaving behind in Egypt all their possessions.
But, Moses would not agree to such terms. He bluntly refused Pharaoh’s offer!
24 Then Pharaoh called to Moses and said, “Go, serve the LORD; only let your flocks and your herds be kept back. Let your little ones also go with you.”
25 But Moses said, “You must also give us sacrifices and burnt offerings, that we may sacrifice to the LORD our God.
26 “Our livestock also shall go with us; not a hoof shall be left behind. For we must take some of them to serve the LORD our God, and even we do not know with what we must serve the LORD until we arrive there.”
27 But the LORD hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he would not let them go.
28 Then Pharaoh said to him, “Get away from me! Take heed to yourself and see my face no more! For in the day you see my face you shall die!”
29 And Moses said, “You have spoken well. I will never see your face again.” (NKJV).
Eventually, God brought the children of Israel out of Egypt not only with their own livestock but also with the wealth of Egypt. God gave the children of Israel favour in the sight of the Egyptians so that they gladly and freely gave them whatever they requested from them.
35 Now the children of Israel had done according to the word of Moses, and they had asked from the Egyptians articles of silver, articles of gold, and clothing.
36 And the LORD had given the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians, so that they granted them what they requested. Thus they plundered the Egyptians. (NKJV).
While the children of Israel were marching triumphantly through the wilderness to the Land God had promised them, God began to demand from them to worship Him with their possessions.
God commanded them to build Him a Tabernacle from their substance. He also set in place a sacrificial system of worship which involved offering to God regular sacrifices from their livestock.
1 Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying:
2 “Speak to the children of Israel, that they bring Me an offering. From everyone who gives it willingly with his heart you shall take My offering.
3 “And this is the offering which you shall take from them: gold, silver, and bronze;
4 “blue, purple, and scarlet thread, fine linen, and goats’ hair;
5 “ram skins dyed red, badger skins, and acacia wood;
6 “oil for the light, and spices for the anointing oil and for the sweet incense;
7 “onyx stones, and stones to be set in the ephod and in the breastplate.
8 “And let them make Me a sanctuary, that I may dwell among them. (NKJV).
The Scripture clearly teaches that honouring God with our substance is an essential part of our worship to God.
Under the Old Covenant, God actually forbade anyone to come before Him empty-handed, without any gift or offering in his hands from his substance to worship God.
God commanded, “And none shall appear before Me empty-handed.” (Exo. 34:20 NKJV).
If God would not want anyone under the Old Covenant to appear before Him empty-handed, holding back from God his substance, God undoubtedly wants the New Covenant saints to worship Him with their substance.
The early disciples of Christ gave freely, willingly, sacrificially, cheerfully and bountifully.
34 Nor was there anyone among them who lacked; for all who were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the proceeds of the things that were sold,
35 and laid them at the apostles’ feet; and they distributed to each as anyone had need.
36 And Joses, who was also named Barnabas by the apostles (which is translated Son of Encouragement), a Levite of the country of Cyprus,
37 having land, sold it, and brought the money and laid it at the apostles’ feet. (NKJV).
Apostle Paul urged the Corinthian church to emulate the churches of Macedonia who excelled in giving to God joyfully and willingly, even though out of their deep poverty (2 Cor. 8:1-5).
Paul admonished the Corinthian church to abound in giving, in worshipping or honouring God with their substance, saying, “But as you abound in everything–in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in all diligence, and in your love for us–see that you abound in this grace also.” (2 Cor. 8:7 NKJV).
This admonition is for all believers today!
God wants you to give freely, willingly, cheerfully, and bountifully, not forcefully, reluctantly, grudgingly or sparingly, or with the ulterior motive to impress, compel or motivate God to bless or give you hundredfold in return as it is being taught in many materialistic churches today.
The Scripture amply instructs and encourages us to give.
2 Corinthians 9:
6 But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.
7 So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver. (NKJV).
9 Honor the LORD with your substance and with the first fruits of all your produce;
10 then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will be bursting with wine. (RSV).
24 There is one who scatters, yet increases more; And there is one who withholds more than is right, But it leads to poverty. (NKJV).
17 He who has pity on the poor lends to the LORD, And He will pay back what he has given. (NKJV).
9 He who has a generous eye will be blessed, For he gives of his bread to the poor. (NKJV).
Beloved, worshipping or honouring God with your substance or possession shows that you acknowledge God as the source and the owner of all that you have. It also reveals that you acknowledge yourself as a mere steward or caretaker of God’s wealth or resources.
Don’t worship God only with mere words or songs while holding back from Him your wealth or possession.
Like Moses did, don’t listen to Pharaoh (the devil) who wants you to serve, worship or honour God empty-handed, leaving behind your substance under his control.
Like the children of Israel did, bring all your possessions before God and let Him be free to choose what He wants, when He wants it, and what He wants it for (Exo. 10:25-26).
This is true stewardship!
But, above all your substances or possessions, give your whole heart first to God by surrendering your life unreservedly to Jesus Christ. God wants your heart first and then your gifts or what is in your hands (2 Cor. 8:5).
It profits you nothing to offer your substance to God while holding back your heart from God!
Therefore, give yourself first to the Lord and then whatever the Lord would have you give towards the spread of the Gospel of His Kingdom on earth.
Prayer: My Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for all Your blessings in my life. My Dear Holy Spirit, teach and help me to abound continually in giving towards the spread of the Gospel of Christ to all nations, in Jesus’ name. Amen.