Highlights In Today's Reading:
Hezekiah continues instituting further reforms (31:20-21). A powerful enemy rises up to destroy the nation. Notice which prophet Hezekiah joins forces with to seek the Lord's protection and God's answer (32:20-22). Later Hezekiah commits a very foolish act (32:31). Next, Manasseh reigns and commits more evil acts than any before him. After being captured, bound and chained and imprisoned, he repents and is set free, but it is too late for the nation. His evil son is murdered and his 8 year old son becomes king.
Faith in the ever-present God inspires worship, and faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God (Romans 10:17). This, in turn, will spontaneously prompt generous giving. Hezekiah appealed to the people to supply the financial needs of the priests and the Levites, that they might be encouraged in the Law of the Lord. . . . the children of Israel brought in abundance . . . and the tithe of all things. . . . The Lord hath blessed His people (II Chronicles 31:4-5,10). When Jerusalem was cleansed of idolatry, the tithes poured in from all parts of the nation. The king was amazed at the overabundance when the people were in a right relationship with God. Biblical contributions will always insure God's blessings. Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in Mine House, and prove Me now herewith, saith the Lord of Hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it (Malachi 3:10).
Repentance and cleansing from sin is followed by a desire for fellowship with God. This inevitably results in various sacrifices since all offerings are directly related to the basic principle of love. What God wants is not yours, but He wants you — self first, then offerings. This is the Divine order. Ananias and Sapphira not only did not give all they pretended to give, but they never gave themselves. Give because you want to, not because you have. to. Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give (II Corinthians 9:7).
How does one get to the point where he wants to give? The Macedonians found the secret. They first gave their own selves to the Lord (8:5).
In your giving, recognize the fact that you are giving to the Lord. Sometimes we talk of giving to the church or to missions, but we are really giving to the Lord through those channels.
The churches of Macedonia. . . . praying us with much intreaty that we would receive the gift. . . . but first gave their own selves to the Lord. . . . see that ye abound in this grace also (II Corinthians 8:1,4-5,7).
Thought for Today:
Giving in order to gain prosperity from God will never work out, but the Scripture teaches us to give — Every man according as he purposeth in his heart (II Corinthians 9:7).
By Hezekiah's offering of the king's portion (share) of his substance for the burnt offerings (II Chronicles 31:3). The burnt offerings were wholly consumed, symbolic of total surrender, and offered as a sweet savour to the Lord (Leviticus 8:28; Numbers 15:3). God offered His King's portion in Christ Jesus who, in total surrender on the cross, was wholly consumed, even unto death. Christ . . . hath given Himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour (Ephesians 5:2).
31:10 store =b> abundance; 31:14 oblations =b> offerings; gifts; 31:16 courses =b> assigned tasks; divisions; 31:18 set office =b> devotion; 31:19 several =ingle; 32:6 comfortably =b> encouragingly; 32:8 rested themselves =b> relied; 32:17 rail on =b> belittle; denounce; 32:18 affright =b> frighten; 33:11 fetters =b> chains.
Pray for International Shortwave Broadcasts sponsored by Dorothy W. Ralston • Staff: Ilene Wallace • Government Official: Rep. Steve Israel (NY) • Country: San Marino (25,000) inside north-central Italy • Major language: Italian • Religious freedom • 95% Roman Catholic; 5% Atheist • Prayer Suggestion: Ask the Lord to write His precepts in your heart (Colossians 3:16).
Optional Reading: II Corinthians 1
Memory Verse for the Week: I Peter 2:2