When God Pours Out Blessings, Part 7
Third, Pray to Confess That All We Have Comes From God
Both riches and honor come from you, and you rule over all....But who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able thus to offer willingly? For all things come from you, and of your own have we given you....O Lord our God, all this abundance that we have provided for building you a house for your holy name comes from your hand and is all your own. (1 Chr. 29:12, 14, 16)
The Bible makes abundantly clear that God hates it when the rich are full of violence (Micah 6:12) or oppress the poor (Neh. 5:1-13; Prov. 22:16), or when the rich are given favourable treatment to the disadvantage of others (Jas. 2:2-6). Earning wealth and possessing riches is not a bad or evil thing in itself, for it is “the Lord who makes poor and makes rich; he brings low and he exalts” (1 Sam. 2:7). No, what draws God’s ire is when the very creatures he formed and appointed to breath his air on his earth forget that everything they are and everything they possess is from his hand, as David confessed: “all things come from you” (1 Chr. 29:14). As we’ve already discussed, ingratitude is an awful offence against a generous and loving God, and a form of ingratitude is to forget who gave us everything we have.
Whatever we have is what God has ordained that we possess. If he clothes even the lilies of the field and feeds even the birds of the air (Matt. 6:26-29), then surely our money and groceries and wardrobes are gracious gifts from his hand. When God bestows blessing on us in spectacular and remarkable ways, God isn’t saying that he’s there to take care of the big stuff as long as we provide for the little things. Rather, he’s reasoning with us in a “greater-to-the-lesser” way, telling us, “If I provide for your needs in these great matters, how much more do I care for you in the small things?” As David confessed in this very passage, God relates to his people not only as Creator and King but also as their Father (1 Chr. 29:10), and for the Christian this ought to remind us of the words of Jesus: “If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!” (Matt. 7:11) We have been adopted as sons (Eph. 1:5; Gal. 4:5), and relate to God as children to a loving Father, calling him “Abba” (Rom. 8:15). He is a good Father and gives us all good things. Our response, then, with David is to confess that “all things come from you” and “all this abundance we have provided…comes from your hand and is all your own.” And with Paul we give “thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Eph. 5:20).
Dependence and gratitude—a grateful dependence, a dependent gratitude—marks the one who understands who and what he is and what he has been given.
Suggestions for prayer:
1. Examine yourself for ways in which you are relying on your own possessions. How much confidence do you have in your bank account, or in the contents of your home, or other things you own, rather than in God who gave them? How much do you find yourself worrying about finances or possessions?
2. Consider the example of Job, who had everything, lost everything, remained faithful to God, and was given even more back afterward—without (probably) ever finding out why, but who did get “dressed down” by God for daring to demand God answer to him (Job 38-41). How would you view God if your possessions were taken away?
3. Have you ever looked at your own giving to your church (in David’s words, “abundance we have provided”) as “coming from God’s hand and is all his own”? That is, have you ever considered that your donations are actually God giving and working and providing through you? That giving is an opportunity for you to be used by God? How might that affect the manner and the attitude and the amount you give in the future?