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Wednesday, April 04 2018

Contributor: Isekhua Evborokhai

INTRODUCTION

In our last study titled “Angels Are Ministering Spirits” we learnt that God’s Angels are His ministers who harken to the instructions of His words that He has given onto us. They are messengers who deliver God’s blessings to His children which includes material, physical and spiritual prosperity. Today, from our text with emphasis on verse 11 which says: “After coming into the house, they saw the Child with Mary His mother; and they fell to the ground and worshiped Him. Then, opening their treasures, they presented to Him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.” We will learn the importance of giving our best to the Lord. The wise men presented from their treasure, “valuable” gifts as part of their worship:

Gold: Tangible wealth has always been based upon the possession of gold and silver. In biblical times, gold’s primary purpose was (and still should be) storage for wealth and value.

Frankincense: Gives out a highly sweet-smelling fragrance when burned, and was therefore used in worship, where it was burned as a pleasant offering to God. See Exodus 30:8; Leviticus 16:12.

Myrrh: Is obtained from a thorny tree, which grows 8 or 9 feet high; used chiefly in embalming the dead, because it had the property of preserving dead bodies from putrefaction and was an ingredient of the holy ointment, Exodus 30:23

They offered Him gold as to a King, frankincense as a High Priest, and myrrh to sweeten the place where He was. It was customary in the East to show respect for persons of distinction by making presents or offerings of this kind.

The offerings here referred to were made because they were the most valuable items which the country of the wise men produced. They were tokens of respect and homage which they paid to the new-born King of the Jews.

The fact that this deed of the wise men (offering their best gifts and offerings) to the Lord was recorded in the Bible teaches us that it is right that we give to Him that which is of value including our hearts, our property, our all.

1. THE SIGNIFICANCE OF GIFTS

  1. Gifts pave way for the giver: Proverbs 18:16 says:

A gift opens the way and ushers the giver into the presence of the great.”

In Genesis 43:11; when Joseph’s brothers needed to return to Egypt, Israel asked them to prepare a gift for Joseph.

“Then their father Israel said to them, "If it must be, then do this: Put some of the best products of the land in your bags and take them down to the man as a gift--a little balm and a little honey, some spices and myrrh, some pistachio nuts and almonds.

  1. Gifts serve as a mark of Honour for the recipient

It is custom still common in the East, and everywhere in the world that it is unusual to approach a person of distinguished rank without a valuable present. Not to bring someone of honour gifts is to despise them. 1 Samuel 10:27 says: “But some scoundrels said, "How can this fellow save us?" They despised him and brought him no gifts. But Saul kept silent.

  1. Gifts (given to God) serve as a mark of Honour of Him

Proverbs 3:9 says: “Honour the LORD with thy substance, and with the first fruits of all thine increase” The NLT says: “Honour the LORD with your wealth and with the best part of everything you produce.”

When you give God your first fruits, you not only give Him the first, you give Him the best. In Malachi chapter 1, the Israelites brought God the worst of their leftovers for their sacrifices—the sick, blind, and lame animals. This is particularly important to us today because sometimes that’s what we bring God—our leftover time, energy, and devotion. We come to God when we’re not at our peak.

Let us consider a very popular story in the Bible recorded in Genesis 4:3-5. The AMP version says: “And in the course of time Cain brought to the Lord an offering of the fruit of the ground. But Abel brought [an offering of] the [finest] firstborn of his flock and the fat portions. And the Lord had respect (regard) for Abel and for his offering; but for Cain and his offering He had no respect. So Cain became extremely angry (indignant), and he looked annoyed and hostile.”

The MSG version says: “Abel also brought an offering, but from the firstborn animals of his herd, choice cuts of meat.” 

So, what was the difference? Why did God accept Abel’s offering and not Cain’s?

It was because Abel brought God the best because he believed God desired and deserved the best. Cain’s offering showed that he thought God deserved something but not necessarily the best. He kept the best for himself instead of offering it to God. Whenever you give God what is first in your heart, time, and treasure, (not when you have the time, not when you have done everything else, not if there is any money left, not if there is any energy left) you’re honouring Him as God; and the Lord will have respect (regard) for your sacrifice and be pleased with you.

 2. THE BENEFITS OF GIVING

(a) You create the opportunity to receive even more!

  • Luke 6:38 (NLT) says: “Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full--pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back."

When we give willingly, God will reward us in such abundance of blessings that they will be overflowing our basket and filling the robe in our lap.

It is important to know that the amount you give will determine the amount you get back! 2 Corinthians 9:6 (AMP) says: “Now [remember] this: he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows generously [that blessings may come to others] will also reap generously [and be blessed].

(b) You are guaranteeing continuous income

  • Proverbs 3:9-10 says:Honour the Lord with your possessions, and with the first fruits of all your increase; so your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will overflow with new wine.

Like Abel, we should give God the best because we believe God desires and deserves the best then He will ensure our barns (our bank accounts) are always filled with plenty of provision. And our vats to overflow. That means in addition to having plenty of provision in our bank accounts, God also promises to keep our income flowing to us in response to honouring Him with our first fruits offering.

When you think about it, those promises make sense. Our first fruits offerings demonstrate that we can be trusted with money because we don’t love money to the point of holding on tightly to it. It opens things up to work in our favour on the income side of the equation. And since we can be trusted to be good stewards over our finances, God can keep income flowing to us knowing it will be handled responsibly and our vats are overflowing as more and more income comes our way over time.

(c) You create the opportunity for an overflow while protecting what you already have!

  • Malachi 3:10 says: “Bring you all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in my house, and prove me now herewith, said 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.”

It is a blessing to know that we are part of the New Covenant; we are therefore free from the curse of the law. So, there is no punishment associated with not tithing. Instead, when we choose to tithe from our own free will, it releases God to be able to actively act on our behalf in two very specific ways. According to Mal.3:10-11

  • He will open additional heavenly blessings into our lives and our finances until there’s an overflow!
  • He will keep the devourer from eating away at our finances. This is important because if our wealth is constantly being drained off by unusual and unexpected expenses then it will never grow. It doesn’t matter how much we have coming in if there is always more going out. So, tithing closes that back door to protect our finances from leaking out in the form of unexpected expenses.

CONCLUSION

Giving tangible, valuable gifts of treasure to the Almighty should come naturally to us as we worship and honour Him; but unfortunately, this is not the case. The reason is due to the selfish nature of the fallen man. It is also a trick played by the enemy on believers to deprive them of their blessings!

That is why once the issue of money is raised, people become overly sensitive! Not to mention how some ministers have misrepresented giving to the Lord for their personal gains.

Apart from the fact that He desires and deserves the best; God’s request for us to give unto Him in offerings, tithes and first fruits have different purposes in the Kingdom of God. They all work together on our behalf so God can bless our finances in different ways.

Posted by: Isekhua Evborokhai AT 03:09 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
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