July 19 - The Joy of Giving
Asaph the psalmist gives us a clue about the purpose of God’s presence on earth. Through Judah and Israel, God’s name is made known. He has chosen a dwelling place on earth in Salem and Zion so that His presence may defeat the enemies and establish His rule on earth. Through His presence in His dwelling place, He is to set up His judgment and save all the humble of the earth. The formula is simple: when God arises and set up His presence on earth, the forces of darkness will be defeated and God’s Kingdom would then be established on earth, bringing salvation to the humble, to those who confess their sins and receive the King’s rule.
After King David had made all the preparations for the building of the temple, he addressed to the people and to his son, Solomon. The reason for building the temple was clear, so that through the covenant they made with God, God would come down to Zion and be their God and they be His people. The temple would serve as God’s footstool, a place where He put His foot to rest. The presence of God in the temple enabled Israel to live out their purpose as the people of God. As the prophet Habakkuk declared: when God is in His holy temple, let all the earth be silent before Him. God’s rule and judgment will be extended to all the earth when the presence of God is on earth. This is what the Lord has taught us in the Lord’s Prayer: that His Kingdom come and His will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
To serve the Lord, God’s people can have a part in bringing in God’s presence and Kingdom on earth. When Solomon built the temple, it was not just building a house for the Lord but to bring in the Kingdom and presence of God. To that end, the people participated in giving what the Lord had already deposited in their lives. When they gave cheerfully, God was pleased and David was also rejoicing. Giving to the house of God so that God’s presence and Kingdom can come is joyful, for anyone may see the result of such giving.
All ministries that may bring in God’s presence and Kingdom are worthy causes. It is not to build up human kingdoms or empires, it is not to glorify the presence of man but of God. Today, many ministries are competing for the giving of God’s people and we must be careful in giving our resources to any ministry or cause. Discernment is needed to see what the ministry is building toward.
Sadly, many ministries today are church-based and self-focused. They are serving their own people but not for bringing in the presence and Kingdom of God. They are building the people’s temple but not God’s temple. As wise stewards, let us find a worthy ministry to support and then give cheerfully. When your giving brings in the presence and Kingdom of God, there will be joy in your life.
Ps 76:1-9 1 Chron 28:1-29:30 Rom 5:6-21 Prov 19:18-19