September 14

Job 1:8-11 (NIV) 8Then the LORD said to Satan, "Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil." 9"Does Job fear God for nothing?" Satan replied. 10"Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land. 11But stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face."

Job is the earliest of all the literature in the Bible. The sin that was most feared was cursing God, even if it was not spoken aloud. The book begins by describing Job as the greatest man of the East, and tells us that he was blameless. We know that all have sinned and fallen short of God's glory, so we should consider this to be a statement relative to his culture. However, God commended him as one of the most righteous men upon the earth.

The scene changes to the halls of heaven. Satan (which means the Accuser) had been roaming the earth. God brought up the subject of Job and his righteousness. Satan suggested that it was only because of the abundance of wealth and protection from evil that caused Job to act in a righteous manner. In other words, his heart was not righteous, he was just never tempted sufficiently. Satan suggested that if God took away Job's possessions and he would commit that unpardonable sin of cursing God, "even curse You to your face". The heavenly forces are battling over the souls of men.

We can learn many things from this ancient narrative. God does put a hedge about us. Satan was complaining about that because he is the Destroyer. In the spiritual realms you can be sure your Adversary is accusing you before God. He must have permission to destroy the possessions of those under God's care. What assurance this should bring us, knowing that the only time the Adversary can get through that hedge is at God's permission. It will either turn us back to God, or it will bring us to a closer walk with Him. It will testify to the heavenly realms that the fallen angels have made the wrong choice.

Remember: You are the subject of a heavenly battle. Stay faithful!

September 14

2 Corinthians 9:6-8 (NIV) 6Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. 7Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 8And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.

In all the New Testament, this is the one passage that speaks the most clearly to a principle of giving. The converts gave all that they had in the time that followed Pentecost. As the evangelists went out to convert other regions, we don't see the same forsaking of all their possessions. They are now free from the confines of the Law, so they are not even required to give according to the Law's instruction. What is the new standard or guideline for giving?

When the church in Jerusalem went through a difficult time of famine, the other churches took up a collection for them. The Apostle Paul told them that their abundance should make up for the lack in Jerusalem. Then he gave them an eternal principle to go by. If you only plant a little seed, you only reap a small harvest, but if you plant an abundance of seed you will reap generously. What you put in is what you get out. Investing in the Kingdom of God is not something that returns small dividends. Don't limit yourself to a percentage.

Everyone should give as they have decided in their heart. The grace of God will work in your heart to produce good works. Paul wasn't worried about whether or not they would give. He did want them to be prepared when they came to make the collection, but he was not worried about the individual's gift. He trusted the Holy Spirit to work on each heart. The Spirit not only helps us know how much to give, but helps us have a generous and joyful spirit in giving. If you have to twist arms to get others to give, it is not pleasing to God. God loves a cheerful giver, not a coerced one.

Consider: Has the Holy Spirit been working on your heart to give to your church, a needy family, or a ministry? Do so generously in Jesus' name and you will generously be blessed.