I find our first reading a bit difficult to work out and it is both BAD and UGLY
Two separate events are described in a non chronogical way in that they occurred sometime earlier in David’s reign.
In 1-12 David has to deal with the Lord’s judgement (famine) against Israel for something that Saul had done. It wasn’t David’s fault at all but he was left to put things right according to the Lords call. Saul in his eagerness had tried to annihilate the Gibeonites after they had been given an oath this would not happen. David must make amends and so the Gibeonites ask for 7 of Saul’s descendants be put to death as recompense.Their bodies are publicly displayed and the rain comes, I assume to indicate that the famine the tool of God’s judgement is over. What do I get from this?…….I’m not sure! It is Bad and Ugly though.Human life did seem quite cheap and indiscriminate.
Sometimes, probably often, I suppose we are called to fix up the result of the sin of other individuals and even nations. It’s no good saying “I had nothing to with it” The “Sorry” statement to our own aboriginal people is a case in point.Think the plights of refugees, manna guests, world vision children…..get the idea.
Also note that good old Mephibosheth gets blessed by David yet again as respect for Saul who was once the Lords anointed. He continues this by disposing of Saul and his son Jonathan’s bones in a respectful way.
In 15-22 We read of 4 battles where David and his men defeat their old enemies the Philistines and at times reminiscent of David’s first battle with Goliath.The Lord was still with him (the lamp of Israel) and his men.
Now onto a much happier reading in 2 Corinthians 9 – (NIV & MSG)
I think this ties in pretty well with the wonderful news Ian announced yesterday with the full repayment of the FAC debt by everyone. I can hardly believe it!
In this reading I love Paul’s almost clumsiness in his writing. He says he has already boasted about their willingness to give generously and freely but now feels he has to remind them of this so in fact they do what they promised…..and he’s worried his boasting might come up hollow and he’ll look bad. How real does all this sound……I had to have a bit of a giggle really when he explains the logistics of making sure they follow through.
Paul then goes onto say something profound and universally true. God is the one who is fundamentally generous. He did not spare his son but gave Jesus generously to all.(vs14)
“God loves a cheerful giver” has unfortunately been quoted by many a preacher and somehow make us feel bad about our gift. Indeed it is more about our heart in giving than the gift itself. The heart matters more to God than the cash. As Ian more or less said a few weeks back “if your hearts not in this, then keep your money ” This principle too applies to all our giving, time, talents etc….I love the story of the widow’s offering in Mark12:41-44.
It always comes down to the heart with God. If it didn’t then cash would be King.!
The prosperity preachers distort the promises of Gods blessing. Unfortunately I think many of us on the evangelical side of the argument (I’ve probably got a foot on both sides these days!) sometimes never really expect God to bless at all.
If blessing equates to money, business success, houses etc “blessing” seems very self indulgent.
Vs10 & 11 speak more of being blessed both materially and spiritually for the purposes of God i.e. to be a blessing to others according to His will.
For me generosity covers everything not just the material.
May we seek His kingdom all the more AND expect the blessing to follow
PS – Me on soapbox
I think generosity of spirit is lacking in many churches especially amongst men.We are very closed with each other.We don’t live open spacious lives. We are so guarded, so careful, afraid of saying the wrong thing……..so we say Nothing.
How I long for this to change.