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The Fear that Makes You Generous

When you encounter God, really encounter God, your heart will be moved to give.
King David was dealing with one of the low moments of his life. He had to choose the punishment for an act of foolishness on his part. He wisely chose for God to meet out the discipline rather than turn it over to people. “David said to Gad, “I am in deep distress. Let me fall into the hands of the LORD, for his mercy is very great; but do not let me fall into human hands.” (1 Chronicles 21:13) In response, “God sent an angel to destroy Jerusalem.” (v. 15) In the midst of the event, David got a glimpse of the power and authority of his God. “David looked up and saw the angel of the LORD standing between heaven and earth, with a drawn sword in his hand extended over Jerusalem.” (v. 16)
It was one of those great moments in life when a man realizes how much more powerful God is than any of us. In a moment, David realized that God could do whatever He wanted. He could destroy anything, save anything, overpower anything and restore anything. There is no one who can resist Him and He has no equal. We all know these truths intellectually but there are moments when it comes to light and moves our hearts. It was one of those opportunities for David and he immediately responded, “Was it not I who ordered the fighting men to be counted? I, the shepherd, have sinned and done wrong. These are but sheep. What have they done? LORD my God, let your hand fall on me and my family, but do not let this plague remain on your people.” (v. 17)
Fortunately, God is gracious and gave David the opportunity to build an altar at the place where the angel was stationed in battle array. It is easy to tell that David has been changed by this encounter because “he went up in obedience to the word that Gad had spoken in the name of the LORD,” (v. 19) and he was determined to pay for the altar out of respect for God.
At the same time, “While Araunah was threshing wheat, he turned and saw the angel; his four sons who were with him hid themselves.” (v. 20) Araunah, likewise, became instantly generous when he saw the Angel in all his glory. “Take it! Let my lord the king do whatever pleases him. Look, I will give the oxen for the burnt offerings, the threshing sledges for the wood, and the wheat for the grain offering. I will give all this.” (v. 23)
David would have none of it, however. “No, I insist on paying the full price. I will not take for the LORD what is yours, or sacrifice a burnt offering that costs me nothing.” (v. 24) Wouldn’t it be awesome if we regularly had arguments of generosity in our churches, communities, organizations and families?
I know all of us struggle with being generous. We are painfully aware of our own needs. We work hard to make a living and sincerely wrestle with how much we can afford to give away. Wisdom is definitely in order because we need to provide for the members of our households but there is something special that happens in the hearts of men and women when they get a realistic view of the power, majesty, authority and abilities of the one Almighty God. It is easy to give something to the God who deserves everything!
“Dear Lord, please show us this week who you really are so that our hearts remain willing.”

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