It is by grace that you have been saved through faith and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God. Ephesians 2:8 (NIV) The Christian life is God’s work in which we become involved. The problem is that we can become so interested in what we are...
“Therefore I command you, ‘You shall open wide your hand to your brother, to the needy and to the poor, in your land.’” Deuteronomy 15:11
Moses gave two commands: first, to grant a release from debts at the end of every seven years (15:1) and second, to be openhanded toward the needy and poor (15:11). In these commands, God is calling the people to live with a right heart. He warns us about four dangers:
1. A hard heart
“If among you, one of your brothers should become poor… you shall not harden your heart…” (15:7).
2. A closed hand
“You shall not…shut your hand against your poor brother, but you shall open your hand to him and lend him sufficient for his need, whatever it may be” (15:7-8).
3. A wicked thought
“Take care lest there be an unworthy thought in your heart and you say, ‘The seventh year, the year of release is near,’ and your eye look grudgingly on your poor brother, and you give him nothing, and he cry to the Lord against you, and you be guilty of sin” (15:9).
4. A grudging spirit
“Give to him freely, and your heart shall not be grudging when you give to him…” (15:10). This comes over into the New Testament as “God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Cor. 9:7).
The fact that Moses says so much about the heart reminds us that the law has its limits. Even the best law has loopholes. Here is the law of God, and Moses says, “If you have a hard heart, you will sin against God—even while you are outwardly keeping it!”
Which of these do you need to be especially on your guard against in your giving?