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Preparing Our Hearts When We Give

10 minutes to read

What should be the posture of our heart while giving to the Lord? When we give to the Lord a portion of the money that He graciously gives us, do we stop, consider and pray that our hearts would be right before the Lord? For some, giving becomes a ritualistic or a mindless practice. For some, it still is a struggle to give generously, cheerfully, and regularly. The prayer that David makes for his son Solomon and the people of Israel in 1 Chronicles 29:10-19 is a wonderful reminder for us on how to prepare our hearts for giving.

Just prior to this passage we see that David is getting things ready for his son Solomon to take charge of the kingdom of Israel. The central aspect of Solomon’s rule was going to be the building of the temple and David is doing his best in making all the necessary preparations for it. In 1 Chronicles 23-28 we read that David is organizing the Priests, the Levites, and the military personnel. Soon after in 29:2, we read that David provides his wealth for the building of the temple and he gives abundantly for this work.

2 So I have provided for the house of my God, so far as I was able, the gold for the things of gold, the silver for the things of silver, and the bronze for the things of bronze, the iron for the things of iron, and wood for the things of wood, besides great quantities of onyx and stones for setting, antimony, colored stones, all sorts of precious stones and marble. 3 Moreover, in addition to all that I have provided for the holy house, I have a treasure of my own of gold and silver, and because of my devotion to the house of my God, I give it to the house of my God: 4 3,000 talents of gold, of the gold of Ophir, and 7,000 talents of refined silver, for overlaying the walls of the house, 5 and for all the work to be done by craftsmen, gold for the things of gold and silver for the things of silver.

After bringing these offerings to the Lord, David calls on the people to follow his example in 29:5. But notice the emphasis in his call to them. The call from him to them is to offer willingly.

 Who then will offer willingly, consecrating himself today to the LORD?”

The people are moved by what David does and they too bring their offerings for the building of the temple (1 Chr. 29:7-8). And after having given, notice the reason for their rejoicing

9 Then the people rejoiced because they had given willingly, for with a whole heart they had offered freely to the LORD. David the king also rejoiced greatly.

Their rejoicing was because their giving was willing, with a whole heart. And seeing what they did, David too rejoices. But he doesn’t stop with that, he makes a beautiful prayer on behalf of his people. And from this prayer, we can learn 3 wonderful truths regarding preparing our hearts while we give to the Lord.  

If we recognise the sovereignty of God over all things, we would know that all that we have, all that we give, is from Him.

1. Adore God recognising that He is sovereign over all (vs 10-13)
10 Therefore David blessed the LORD in the presence of all the assembly.

Vs 10 starts with “therefore”. Because his heart was glad seeing the wholeheartedness in the giving of the people (vs 9), David erupts in praise. A wonderful way to respond to God’s providence, isn’t it? David’s adoration of God was focused on the sovereignty of God in all things.

Blessed are you, O LORD, the God of Israel our father, forever and ever. 11 Yours, O LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, for all that is in the heavens and in the earth is yours. Yours is the kingdom, O LORD, and you are exalted as head above all. 12 Both riches and honor come from you, and you rule over all. In your hand are power and might, and in your hand, it is to make great and to give strength to all. 13 And now we thank you, our God, and praise your glorious name.

How often do we see God’s providence and walk away as if we earned it or completely ignore it as if it didn’t matter? If we recognise the sovereignty of God over all things, we would know that all that we have, all that we give, is from Him. And when we know that all that we have is from Him, we would give Him the praise that He rightly deserves. We would praise Him and him alone!

2. Humble yourself before God recognising your inability and frailty (vs 14-16)
After recognizing God’s sovereignty, David moves to recognise his inability and frailty.

Vs 14 But who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able thus to offer willingly?

Notice the word, willingly mentioned again. Why does he say that?

Vs 15 for all things come from you, and of your own have we given you. For we are strangers before you and sojourners, as all our fathers were. Our days on the earth are like a shadow, and there is no abiding. 16 O LORD our God, all this abundance that we have provided for building you a house for your holy name comes from your hand and is all your own

There is a recognition of his own inability, and a humble recognition of God’s providence and that He owns everything. David is a king who owned far more than any other person in Israel, he’s given so much for the building of the temple, and yet he humbles himself by recognising his lowly estate and God’s supremacy over all things.

How often do our hearts swell up with pride when we give, and see what we’ve given? Do we recognize that we don’t own anything? All that we have comes from God’s hand to us, graciously! When we give, we only give back a portion of what He has given to us? If we are taking pride in our giving, we must repent, for we have not understood our true estate. We ought to humble ourselves before God, recognizing our frailty and inability to bring anything to this world and help ourselves. God has been gracious in our lives and we must humbly recognise his providence when we give, and give Him the glory!

3. Seek God to change us, recognising that He alone changes hearts (vs 17-19)
In vs 17, David testifies that his heart and the people’s hearts are right before God. In their giving, the posture of their heart has been right.

17 I know, my God, that you test the heart and have pleasure in uprightness. In the uprightness of my heart, I have freely offered all these things, and now I have seen your people, who are present here, offering freely and joyously to you.

But having done what they’ve done, still, there isn’t pride or a presumption that this attitude would continue on in the lives of people. He makes a plea before the Lord that such a posture of heart would ever be with not just him, but for all the people of God.

God has been gracious in our lives and we must humbly recognise his providence when we give, and give Him the glory!

18 O LORD, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, our fathers, keep forever such purposes and thoughts in the hearts of your people, and direct their hearts toward you.

 What a prayer to make! Who is it that changes our hearts? Who is it that directs our hearts to give? It is God and God alone! God is the one who made a way for our selfish, self-centered hearts to be made anew. Through his son’s work on the cross, he paved a way for our hearts to be changed. When we believe in Him, he regenerates our hearts. And He also changes our hearts continually. Through the work of His Spirit in our lives, he changes us and makes us more and more in the image of His Son. And so, it is to Him we look to change our hearts. To change our hearts from being lovers of money, to loving Him. From being hoarders to givers. From giving grudgingly, to giving with a joyful heart. From giving as an after-thought to giving regularly and with every given opportunity. And when our hearts are changed, our actions follow suit. We pray this prayer not just for ourselves, but also for others in the church. For our children, and grandchildren, like David does that God would direct their hearts towards Him!

All these provisions were made by the people of Israel so that the temple of God could be built, and people could worship God in that temple. And so, David makes his final petition in his prayer. And his petition was that all these resources provided and gathered together, would be used for the building of the temple of God, where the worship of God can occur.

19 Grant to Solomon my son a whole heart that he may keep your commandments, your testimonies, and your statutes, performing all, and that he may build the palace for which I have made provision.”

Today, as believers, when we give to the church, there is a purpose for the giving. We don’t lose sight of that. The money that we give our churches is used to further the mission of the church and help people worship Christ. For evangelism, for discipleship, for training and equipping men and women, for supporting the pastors and shepherds who are labouring for us. And a wonderful prayer to be made would be to seek God’s face that these resources would be used for the mission of the church. We pray for wisdom for the leaders in the church to handle faithfully the money that we give. That the money would be used well for the Lord’s work and for the Lord’s glory. Our responsibility doesn’t end with just giving, but we can pray that those handling the finances would be faithful. We ought to seek the Lord’s face that the church of Jesus Christ would be able to go about the mission faithfully, and that his church is built with the help of these resources.

It is God who owns everything. It is God who provides. It is God who works in our hearts to help us give joyfully and willingly. It is God who gives the leaders the uprightness of heart to use these finances in a faithful manner. So, there is no other place that we run, apart from Him. May we seek Him in prayer and prepare our hearts to give. 

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