TBU: The Bible Unpacked: In-Depth Edition

II. Offerings

Set/Reset Bookmark

Go to Bookmark

Chapter 27  Part II

Offerings

Making offerings to God of money and/or goods is an integral part of worshiping God. Moreover, the Bible gives a number of good reasons to give offerings to God. It also gives guidelines on what to give and how to give to God. Additionally, the Bible emphasizes the need for our lives to please God in order for our offerings to be acceptable to him.

Note that this section contains many OT verses speaking of offerings required by the OT law. Some kinds of OT offerings, or sacrifices, were specifically for sin (cf. Offerings for Atonement for Sinners). These have no current application for Christians as Jesus Christ sacrificed himself for sin once and for all. In contrast, other types of offerings were given for reasons such as thanksgiving to God and for the service of God. These offerings have their parallels in Christian worship offerings today – in the giving of money and other resources to God. Moreover, many of the OT regulations concerning these offerings provide reasons for and important principles involved in giving to God that are applicable today.

Reasons to Give to God

We are required to give offerings to God

See also:

2Ki 17:36  … but you shall fear the Lord, who brought you out of the land of Egypt with great power and with an outstretched arm. You shall bow yourselves to him, and to him you shall sacrifice. ▤ 

Ps 96:8  Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name; bring an offering, and come into his courts! ▤ 

Ezek 20:40  For on my holy mountain, the mountain height of Israel, declares the Lord God, there all the house of Israel, all of them, shall serve me in the land. There I will accept them, and there I will require your contributions and the choicest of your gifts, with all your sacred offerings. ▤ 

Ex 25:1-3  The Lord said to Moses, 2“Speak to the people of Israel, that they take for me a contribution. From every man whose heart moves him you shall receive the contribution for me. 3And this is the contribution that you shall receive from them: gold, silver, and bronze, … ▤ 

The reference is to offerings of materials for the building of the tabernacle.

Lev 7:37-38  This is the law of the burnt offering, of the grain offering, of the sin offering, of the guilt offering, of the ordination offering, and of the peace offering, 38which the Lord commanded Moses on Mount Sinai, on the day that he commanded the people of Israel to bring their offerings to the Lord, in the wilderness of Sinai. ▤ 

Note that in v. 38 “he” refers to God rather than to Moses (cf. AMP, CEV, NASB, NKJV).

Lev 23:37  These are the appointed feasts of the Lord, which you shall proclaim as times of holy convocation, for presenting to the Lord food offerings, burnt offerings and grain offerings, sacrifices and drink offerings, each on its proper day, … ▤ 

Offerings are an important part of worshiping God

See also:

1Sam 1:3  Now this man used to go up year by year from his city to worship and to sacrifice to the Lord of hosts at Shiloh, where the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, were priests of the Lord. ▤ 

1Chr 16:29  Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name; bring an offering and come before him! Worship the Lord in the splendor of holiness;z … ▤ 

z Or in holy attire

2Chr 29:28  The whole assembly worshiped, and the singers sang, and the trumpeters sounded. All this continued until the burnt offering was finished. ▤ 

2Chr 32:12  Has not this same Hezekiah taken away his high places and his altars and commanded Judah and Jerusalem, “Before one altar you shall worship, and on it you shall burn your sacrifices”? ▤ 

God was only to be worshiped with sacrifices at the temple in Jerusalem (cf. All offerings were only to be made at the place God chose for his presence amongst his people), in which was the altar for burning sacrifices.

Isa 19:21  And the Lord will make himself known to the Egyptians, and the Egyptians will know the Lord in that day and worship with sacrifice and offering, and they will make vows to the Lord and perform them. ▤ 

Ezek 46:2  The prince shall enter by the vestibule of the gate from outside, and shall take his stand by the post of the gate. The priests shall offer his burnt offering and his peace offerings, and he shall worship at the threshold of the gate. Then he shall go out, but the gate shall not be shut until evening. ▤ 

Ex 10:24-26  Then Pharaoh called Moses and said, “Go, serve the Lord; your little ones also may go with you; only let your flocks and your herds remain behind.” 25But Moses said, “You must also let us have sacrifices and burnt offerings, that we may sacrifice to the Lord our God. 26Our livestock also must go with us; not a hoof shall be left behind, for we must take of them to serve the Lord our God, and we do not know with what we must serve the Lord until we arrive there.” ▤ 

Here “serve” is akin to “worship” (CEV, GNT, NCV, NIV, NLT).

  • God is honored by offerings or gifts:

Prov 3:9  Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the firstfruits of all your produce; … ▤ 

God is honored by offerings or gifts in the respect and homage attributed to him by such offerings. Additionally, in the case of gifts being made to the needy (cf. Offerings are often to help the needy – bringing thanks and glory to God), God is honored by the needs of the needy being met in his name, as accentuated by their thanksgiving to him for such help.

Offerings acknowledge God’s provision for us . . .

Ex 23:14-16, 19a  “Three times in the year you shall keep a feast to me. 15You shall keep the Feast of Unleavened Bread. As I commanded you, you shall eat unleavened bread for seven days at the appointed time in the month of Abib, for in it you came out of Egypt. None shall appear before me empty-handed. 16You shall keep the Feast of Harvest, of the firstfruits of your labor, of what you sow in the field. You shall keep the Feast of Ingathering at the end of the year, when you gather in from the field the fruit of your labor. ▤ 19“The best of the firstfruits of your ground you shall bring into the house of the Lord your God. ▤ 

As noted earlier, the three major OT festivals were all linked with agricultural seasons. In each of these festivals, offerings from the harvest were made as an acknowledgement to God of his provision – and also as an expression of thanksgiving for his provision.

Deut 16:9-10  You shall count seven weeks. Begin to count the seven weeks from the time the sickle is first put to the standing grain. 10Then you shall keep the Feast of Weeks to the Lord your God with the tribute of a freewill offering from your hand, which you shall give as the Lord your God blesses you. ▤ 

The final clause (cf. Deut 16:17 ) indicates that the people were to bring an offering of an amount that was in proportion to the size of the harvest that God had blessed them with.

Deut 16:15-17  For seven days you shall keep the feast to the Lord your God at the place that the Lord will choose, because the Lord your God will bless you in all your produce and in all the work of your hands, so that you will be altogether joyful. 16“Three times a year all your males shall appear before the Lord your God at the place that he will choose: at the Feast of Unleavened Bread, at the Feast of Weeks, and at the Feast of Booths. They shall not appear before the Lord empty-handed. 17Every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the Lord your God that he has given you. ▤ 

Deut 26:9-10  And he brought us into this place and gave us this land, a land flowing with milk and honey. 10And behold, now I bring the first of the fruit of the ground, which you, O Lord, have given me.’ And you shall set it down before the Lord your God and worship before the Lord your God. ▤ 

Gen 28:22b  And of all that you give me I will give a full tenth to you. ▤ 

. . . In fact, all we have to give God has been given to us by him and ultimately belongs to him

See also:

1Chr 29:14, 16  But who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able thus to offer willingly? For all things come from you, and of your own have we given you. ▤ 16O 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. ▤ 

Matt 22:21  They said, “Caesar’s.” Then he said to them, “Therefore render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” ▤ 

We are to give to God what belongs to God. This indicates that what we should give to him actually belongs to him in the first place – as does in fact everything that we have.

Rom 11:35-36  “Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid?” 36For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen. ▤ 

There is nothing that we can give to God that would leave him indebted to us, for all things come from God in the first place – and exist through him and for him.

Job 1:21  And he said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” ▤ 

Although this verse is not referring to giving to God, it nevertheless indicates that all we have to give God has been given to us by him. It also reflects that all we have ultimately belongs to God, with Job’s words suggesting that God has the right to take away all we have.

  • Hannah’s gift to God of Samuel, her child that God gave her:

1Sam 1:27-28a  For this child I prayed, and the Lord has granted me my petition that I made to him. 28Therefore I have lent him to the Lord. As long as he lives, he is lent to the Lord. ▤ 

Offerings express thanksgiving to God for his deliverance

Ps 54:6-7  With a freewill offering I will sacrifice to you; I will give thanks to your name, O Lord, for it is good. 7For he has delivered me from every trouble, and my eye has looked in triumph on my enemies. ▤ 

Ps 56:12-13  I must perform my vows to you, O God; I will render thank offerings to you. 13For you have delivered my soul from death, yes, my feet from falling, that I may walk before God in the light of life. ▤ 

As the name indicates, thank offerings (v. 12) signified thanksgiving to God, prominently for God’s deliverance (v. 13) – as reflected elsewhere in this subsection. Note that the reference to performing vows (v. 12a) suggests that when facing danger, David had vowed to make thank offerings to God when God had delivered him (cf. Ps 116:8-9, 12-17 ).

Ps 107:19, 21-22  Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress. ▤ 21Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love, for his wondrous works to the children of man! 22And let them offer sacrifices of thanksgiving, and tell of his deeds in songs of joy! ▤ 

Ps 116:8-9, 12-17  For you have delivered my soul from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling; 9I will walk before the Lord in the land of the living. ▤ 12What shall I render to the Lord for all his benefits to me? 13I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the Lord, 14I will pay my vows to the Lord in the presence of all his people. 15Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints. 16O Lord, I am your servant; I am your servant, the son of your maidservant. You have loosed my bonds. 17I will offer to you the sacrifice of thanksgiving and call on the name of the Lord. ▤ 

In v. 13, “the cup of salvation” refers to an offering of wine to thank God for his salvation (cf. CEV, GNT, NIrV), made as part of a thank offering (v. 17). In v. 14, the vows probably at least included ones which were made during the psalmist’s dire predicament, promising offerings (v. 17) for deliverance by God. In v. 17, “the sacrifice of thanksgiving” is likely a “thanksgiving sacrifice” (NRSV; cf. CEV, NCV, NIV), as opposed to simply giving thanks (which is also in a sense a sacrifice).

Jer 33:10-11  Thus says the Lord: In this place of which you say, ‘It is a waste without man or beast,’ in the cities of Judah and the streets of Jerusalem that are desolate, without man or inhabitant or beast, there shall be heard again 11the voice of mirth and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride, the voices of those who sing, as they bring thank offerings to the house of the Lord: “‘Give thanks to the Lord of hosts, for the Lord is good, for his steadfast love endures forever!’ For I will restore the fortunes of the land as at first, says the Lord. ▤ 

Ezra 8:35  At that time those who had come from captivity, the returned exiles, offered burnt offerings to the God of Israel, twelve bulls for all Israel, ninety-six rams, seventy-seven lambs, and as a sin offering twelve male goats. All this was a burnt offering to the Lord. ▤ 

These offerings may well have been made primarily in thanksgiving for the people’s release from captivity and return to Jerusalem.

  • Thanksgiving offerings were made to express thankfulness:

Lev 7:11-12  And this is the law of the sacrifice of peace offerings that one may offer to the Lord. 12If he offers it for a thanksgiving, then he shall offer with the thanksgiving sacrifice unleavened loaves mixed with oil, unleavened wafers smeared with oil, and loaves of fine flour well mixed with oil. ▤ 

This underlines the concept that a thank offering was made “as an expression of thankfulness” (NIV®, v. 12). The passage deals with the process of making such thank offerings rather than reasons for them. In addition to God’s deliverance (as per the above references) they were made in response to other blessings of God – such as his provision (as per the previous two subsections).

Offerings support the service of God

See also:

Ex 35:20-22, 24, 29  Then all the congregation of the people of Israel departed from the presence of Moses. 21And they came, everyone whose heart stirred him, and everyone whose spirit moved him, and brought the Lord’s contribution to be used for the tent of meeting, and for all its service, and for the holy garments. 22So they came, both men and women. All who were of a willing heart brought brooches and earrings and signet rings and armlets, all sorts of gold objects, every man dedicating an offering of gold to the Lord. ▤ 24Everyone who could make a contribution of silver or bronze brought it as the Lord’s contribution. And every one who possessed acacia wood of any use in the work brought it. ▤ 29All the men and women, the people of Israel, whose heart moved them to bring anything for the work that the Lord had commanded by Moses to be done brought it as a freewill offering to the Lord. ▤ 

Lev 7:14  And from it he shall offer one loaf from each offering, as a gift to the Lord. It shall belong to the priest who throws the blood of the peace offerings. ▤ 

The description of such an offering as being “a gift to the Lord” arguably suggests that it is seen as being a gift for the Lord’s service – particular with the subsequent reference to it belonging to the priest (cf. 2Chr 31:4-6 ).

Num 7:2-5  … the chiefs of Israel, heads of their fathers’ houses, who were the chiefs of the tribes, who were over those who were listed, approached 3and brought their offerings before the Lord, six wagons and twelve oxen, a wagon for every two of the chiefs, and for each one an ox. They brought them before the tabernacle. 4Then the Lord said to Moses, 5“Accept these from them, that they may be used in the service of the tent of meeting, and give them to the Levites, to each man according to his service.” ▤ 

1Chr 29:2, 7  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. ▤ 7They gave for the service of the house of God 5,000 talents and 10,000 daricsa of gold, 10,000 talents of silver, 18,000 talents of bronze and 100,000 talents of iron. ▤ 

a A daric was a coin weighing about 1/4 ounce or 8.5 grams

2Chr 31:4-6  And he commanded the people who lived in Jerusalem to give the portion due to the priests and the Levites, that they might give themselves to the Law of the Lord. 5As soon as the command was spread abroad, the people of Israel gave in abundance the firstfruits of grain, wine, oil, honey, and of all the produce of the field. And they brought in abundantly the tithe of everything. 6And the people of Israel and Judah who lived in the cities of Judah also brought in the tithe of cattle and sheep, and the tithe of the dedicated things that had been dedicated to the Lord their God, and laid them in heaps. ▤ 

The offerings allowed the priests and Levites to devote themselves to God’s work (v. 4).

2Ki 12:4-5  Jehoash said to the priests, “All the money of the holy things that is brought into the house of the Lord, the money for which each man is assessed—the money from the assessment of persons—and the money that a man’s heart prompts him to bring into the house of the Lord, 5let the priests take, each from his donor, and let them repair the house wherever any need of repairs is discovered.” ▤ 

Note that “the money for which each man is assessed” appears to refer to allotted amounts owed by males in accordance with regulations regarding the periodic census (cf. Ex 30:11-16).

2Ki 22:4-6  Go up to Hilkiah the high priest, that he may count the money that has been brought into the house of the Lord, which the keepers of the threshold have collected from the people. 5And let it be given into the hand of the workmen who have the oversight of the house of the Lord, and let them give it to the workmen who are at the house of the Lord, repairing the house 6(that is, to the carpenters, and to the builders, and to the masons), and let them use it for buying timber and quarried stone to repair the house. ▤ 

Ezra 7:16  … with all the silver and gold that you shall find in the whole province of Babylonia, and with the freewill offerings of the people and the priests, vowed willingly for the house of their God that is in Jerusalem. ▤ 

Offerings are often to help the needy – bringing thanks and glory to God

Deut 26:12-13a  “When you have finished paying all the tithe of your produce in the third year, which is the year of tithing, giving it to the Levite, the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow, so that they may eat within your towns and be filled, 13then you shall say before the Lord your God, ‘I have removed the sacred portion out of my house, and moreover, I have given it to the Levite, the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow, according to all your commandment that you have commanded me. ▤ 

These gifts were ultimately an offering to God (to help the needy) as indicated by them: being a tenth or a “tithe”, typically the amount set aside for God; and being termed a “sacred portion” (v. 13a).

Rom 15:26  For Macedonia and Achaia have been pleased to make some contribution for the poor among the saints at Jerusalem. ▤ 

The churches in Macedonia and Achaia had “taken up an offering” (NLT; cf. GNT, NIrV) for the poor believers in Jerusalem. As such it was an offering to God to help the needy amongst his people.

2Cor 9:12-13  For the ministry of this service is not only supplying the needs of the saints but is also overflowing in many thanksgivings to God. 13By their approval of this service, theyb will glorify God because of your submission flowing from your confession of the gospel of Christ, and the generosity of your contribution for them and for all others, … ▤ 

b Or you

The “service” was giving towards the needs of the poor believers in Jerusalem, as referred to in the latter part of v. 13. As such their gifts were ultimately a service to or on behalf of God, as suggested by the reference to “many expressions of thanks to God” (v. 12).

2Chr 31:8  When Hezekiah and the princes came and saw the heaps, they blessed the Lord and his people Israel. ▤ 

The Israelites had generously given the firstfruits of all that their fields produced to support the priests and other Levites in their work (cf. vv. 4-6 ). The Levites were “needy” in that they were in need of such support and were at times listed with other needy groups (cf. Deut 26:12-13a ). The people’s generous giving brought blessing – or praise (cf. GNT, NCV, NIV) – to God.

By giving to God, we ourselves will be blessed

See also:

Luke 6:38  … give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you. ▤ 

2Cor 9:6-8  The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifullyc will also reap bountifully. 7Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 8And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiencyd in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work. ▤ 

c Greek with blessings; twice in this verse

d Or all contentment

In v. 7 cheerful givers are noted as being loved by God – a superlative blessing. Verse 8 teaches that God blesses those who give with all that they need for themselves (cf. AMP, CEV, GNT, NCV, NLT) and for abundant good works, such as further sharing with others.

2Cor 9:14  … while they long for you and pray for you, because of the surpassing grace of God upon you. ▤ 

Those who give are blessed by prayers for them by the appreciative recipients of the gifts. Note that the latter part of the verse suggests that such giving is ultimately as a manifestation of God’s grace to the giver themself.

Phil 4:16-19  Even in Thessalonica you sent me help for my needs once and again. 17Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that increases to your credit.e 18I have received full payment, and more. I am well supplied, having received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent, a fragrant offering, a sacrifice acceptable and pleasing to God. 19And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. ▤ 

e Or I seek the profit that accrues to your account

The phrase “increases to your credit” (v. 17) points to blessings being credited to them, to be bestowed upon them when appropriate. The often-quoted promise in v. 19 is in its context shown to have been made to people who had given generously to meet the needs of others, specifically the needs of Paul as he spread the gospel. With this promise Paul points to the magnitude of God’s provision to them, it being in accordance with “his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”

Prov 3:9-10  Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the firstfruits of all your produce; 10then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will be bursting with wine. ▤ 

Mal 3:10-12  Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need. 11I will rebuke the devourerf for you, so that it will not destroy the fruits of your soil, and your vine in the field shall not fail to bear, says the Lord of hosts. 12Then all nations will call you blessed, for you will be a land of delight, says the Lord of hosts. ▤ 

f Probably a name for some crop-destroying pest or pests

Ex 20:24  An altar of earth you shall make for me and sacrifice on it your burnt offerings and your peace offerings, your sheep and your oxen. In every place where I cause my name to be remembered I will come to you and bless you. ▤ 

One can infer from this that God will bless those who make offerings to him. “In every place where I cause my name to be remembered” probably refers to wherever the altar and offerings to God would be made (cf. CEV, GNT, NCV, NLT).

  • The miraculous blessing of the widow who sacrificially provided for the prophet Elijah:

1Ki 17:10-16  So he arose and went to Zarephath. And when he came to the gate of the city, behold, a widow was there gathering sticks. And he called to her and said, “Bring me a little water in a vessel, that I may drink.” 11And as she was going to bring it, he called to her and said, “Bring me a morsel of bread in your hand.” 12And she said, “As the Lord your God lives, I have nothing baked, only a handful of flour in a jar and a little oil in a jug. And now I am gathering a couple of sticks that I may go in and prepare it for myself and my son, that we may eat it and die.” 13And Elijah said to her, “Do not fear; go and do as you have said. But first make me a little cake of it and bring it to me, and afterward make something for yourself and your son. 14For thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, ‘The jar of flour shall not be spent, and the jug of oil shall not be empty, until the day that the Lord sends rain upon the earth.’” 15And she went and did as Elijah said. And she and he and her household ate for many days. 16The jar of flour was not spent, neither did the jug of oil become empty, according to the word of the Lord that he spoke by Elijah. ▤ 

The poor widow in a real sense gave to God, sacrificially providing for God’s prophet Elijah. As a result she was miraculously blessed.

Note: God has given us the ultimate gift – Jesus Christ himself

See also:

Arguably the main reason why we should give to God is his unmatchable generosity to us. As spoken of earlier in this section, all we have has in fact being given to us by God. The above cross reference further testifies to God’s amazing generosity to his people. But the most remarkable expression of his generosity was his ultimate gift of his Son Jesus Christ, to die on our behalf.

John 3:16  For God so loved the world,g that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. ▤ 

g Or For this is how God loved the world

John 6:32-33  Jesus then said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but my Father gives you the true bread from heaven. 33For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” ▤ 

God’s gift of “the true bread from heaven” (v. 32) is Jesus Christ, who in turn gives “life” to the world (v. 33).

2Cor 9:14-15  … while they long for you and pray for you, because of the surpassing grace of God upon you. 15Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift! ▤ 

As noted earlier, v. 14 speaks of generosity as being the manifestation of God’s surpassing grace. By its insertion immediately following this, v. 15 implies that God’s “indescribable gift” of his Son is a reason and motivating factor for Christians to give to God, in accordance with and in appreciation of his incredible gift to them.

Eph 1:22-23  And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, 23which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all. ▤ 

  • Jesus Christ gave up being rich and became poor, so that we might become rich:

2Cor 8:9  For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich. ▤ 

The phrase “he became poor” (v. 9) refers to Jesus Christ giving up his heavenly glory – ultimately so as to give up his life for us. He did this so that we might become spiritually rich.

Pray for persecuted Christians

What to Give to God

Give the “firstfruits” to God

See also:

The OT speaks of giving to God the first portion of what we produce, largely in the requirement for the Israelites to offer the first of their crops, i.e. the “firstfruits”. Today many believers emulate this by giving to God a portion of their wage on first receiving it. By this God’s provision and goodness is acknowledged in a way that honors him (cf. Prov 3:9 ) – putting him first, rather than simply offering him the leftovers that we can spare. Note also that offering the firstfruits to God was a statement, made in faith, that the rest of the harvest would take place – a principle also applicable today.

Prov 3:9  Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the firstfruits of all your produce; … ▤ 

Lev 23:10-11  Speak to the people of Israel and say to them, When you come into the land that I give you and reap its harvest, you shall bring the sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest to the priest, 11and he shall wave the sheaf before the Lord, so that you may be accepted. On the day after the Sabbath the priest shall wave it. ▤ 

Note that a sheaf is a bundle of grain stalks tied together after reaping. The waving of it before God was followed by a series of sacrifices. These actions were an acknowledgment that the whole harvest was a blessing from God. They were also a dedication of the whole harvest – possibly implying that the sustenance that it would give was to be used for living in a way that was honorable to him.

Deut 26:10  And behold, now I bring the first of the fruit of the ground, which you, O Lord, have given me.’ And you shall set it down before the Lord your God and worship before the Lord your God. ▤ 

2Chr 31:5a  As soon as the command was spread abroad, the people of Israel gave in abundance the firstfruits of grain, wine, oil, honey, and of all the produce of the field. ▤ 

Neh 10:35-37  We obligate ourselves to bring the firstfruits of our ground and the firstfruits of all fruit of every tree, year by year, to the house of the Lord; 36also to bring to the house of our God, to the priests who minister in the house of our God, the firstborn of our sons and of our cattle, as it is written in the Law, and the firstborn of our herds and of our flocks; 37and to bring the first of our dough, and our contributions, the fruit of every tree, the wine and the oil, to the priests, to the chambers of the house of our God; and to bring to the Levites the tithes from our ground, for it is the Levites who collect the tithes in all our towns where we labor. ▤ 

  • The offering of the firstborn, to commemorate God’s deliverance of from Egypt:

Ex 13:1-2, 11-16  The Lord said to Moses, 2“Consecrate to me all the firstborn. Whatever is the first to open the womb among the people of Israel, both of man and of beast, is mine.” ▤ 11“When the Lord brings you into the land of the Canaanites, as he swore to you and your fathers, and shall give it to you, 12you shall set apart to the Lord all that first opens the womb. All the firstborn of your animals that are males shall be the Lord’s. 13Every firstborn of a donkey you shall redeem with a lamb, or if you will not redeem it you shall break its neck. Every firstborn of man among your sons you shall redeem. 14And when in time to come your son asks you, ‘What does this mean?’ you shall say to him, ‘By a strong hand the Lord brought us out of Egypt, from the house of slavery. 15For when Pharaoh stubbornly refused to let us go, the Lord killed all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both the firstborn of man and the firstborn of animals. Therefore I sacrifice to the Lord all the males that first open the womb, but all the firstborn of my sons I redeem.’ 16It shall be as a mark on your hand or frontlets between your eyes, for by a strong hand the Lord brought us out of Egypt.” ▤ 

Consecrating every firstborn male to God commemorated God’s deliverance of the Israelites from Egypt (vv. 14, 16) – in which God took the life of every firstborn male amongst the Egyptians (v. 15) while sparing those of the Israelites. It also was an acknowledgement that the firstborn males belonged to God who had spared their lives. The sons of course could not be sacrificed and so were to be redeemed by giving to God a redemption price – five silver shekels (cf. Num 18:16). Unclean animals also could not be sacrificed and so likewise were to be redeemed.

Give the best to God . . .

Ex 23:19a  “The best of the firstfruits of your ground you shall bring into the house of the Lord your God. ▤ 

Num 18:12, 29  All the best of the oil and all the best of the wine and of the grain, the firstfruits of what they give to the Lord, I give to you. ▤ 29Out of all the gifts to you, you shall present every contribution due to the Lord; from each its best part is to be dedicated. ▤ 

Verse 12 speaks of offerings that the people were to give being allocated to the priests and Levites, to support them. Verse 29 speaks of how in turn the Levites were to present offerings from the offerings that had been given to them. In both cases the best was to be given – “the finest olive oil and all the finest new wine and grain” (v. 12) and “the best and holiest part” (v. 29).

Deut 12:11  … then to the place that the Lord your God will choose, to make his name dwell there, there you shall bring all that I command you: your burnt offerings and your sacrifices, your tithes and the contribution that you present, and all your finest vow offerings that you vow to the Lord. ▤ 

Ezek 20:40  For on my holy mountain, the mountain height of Israel, declares the Lord God, there all the house of Israel, all of them, shall serve me in the land. There I will accept them, and there I will require your contributions and the choicest of your gifts, with all your sacred offerings. ▤ 

Gen 4:3-5  In the course of time Cain brought to the Lord an offering of the fruit of the ground, 4and Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat portions. And the Lord had regard for Abel and his offering, 5but for Cain and his offering he had no regard. So Cain was very angry, and his face fell. ▤ 

It is not explicitly stated why God had regard for Abel’s offering but not for Cain’s offering. What may be in view is that Abel gave the best of the first of his flock – “the firstborn of his flock and of their fat portions” – whereas no such comparable description is made of Cain’s offering. (For further explanation, see Hebrews 11:4 and comment below in Give in a way that is acceptable to God.)

. . . Do not give what is inferior to God

See also:

Lev 1:3  If his offering is a burnt offering from the herd, he shall offer a male without blemish. He shall bring it to the entrance of the tent of meeting, that he may be accepted before the Lord. ▤ 

Lev 22:17-25  And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 18“Speak to Aaron and his sons and all the people of Israel and say to them, When any one of the house of Israel or of the sojourners in Israel presents a burnt offering as his offering, for any of their vows or freewill offerings that they offer to the Lord, 19if it is to be accepted for you it shall be a male without blemish, of the bulls or the sheep or the goats. 20You shall not offer anything that has a blemish, for it will not be acceptable for you. 21And when anyone offers a sacrifice of peace offerings to the Lord to fulfill a vow or as a freewill offering from the herd or from the flock, to be accepted it must be perfect; there shall be no blemish in it. 22Animals blind or disabled or mutilated or having a discharge or an itch or scabs you shall not offer to the Lord or give them to the Lord as a food offering on the altar. 23You may present a bull or a lamb that has a part too long or too short for a freewill offering, but for a vow offering it cannot be accepted. 24Any animal that has its testicles bruised or crushed or torn or cut you shall not offer to the Lord; you shall not do it within your land, 25neither shall you offer as the bread of your God any such animals gotten from a foreigner. Since there is a blemish in them, because of their mutilation, they will not be accepted for you.” ▤ 

Regarding the exception in v. 23, such animals were not as seriously defected or flawed (cf. Deut 15:21 ) as those with the defects listed in the surrounding verses. However to use them in fulfillment of a vow would be to devalue the original cost associated with the vow.

Deut 15:21  But if it has any blemish, if it is lame or blind or has any serious blemish whatever, you shall not sacrifice it to the Lord your God. ▤ 

Num 6:14  … and he shall bring his gift to the Lord, one male lamb a year old without blemish for a burnt offering, and one ewe lamb a year old without blemish as a sin offering, and one ram without blemish as a peace offering, … ▤ 

Num 28:11  At the beginnings of your months, you shall offer a burnt offering to the Lord: two bulls from the herd, one ram, seven male lambs a year old without blemish; … ▤ 

Mal 1:8, 13-14  When you offer blind animals in sacrifice, is that not evil? And when you offer those that are lame or sick, is that not evil? Present that to your governor; will he accept you or show you favor? says the Lord of hosts. ▤ 13But you say, ‘What a weariness this is,’ and you snort at it, says the Lord of hosts. You bring what has been taken by violence or is lame or sick, and this you bring as your offering! Shall I accept that from your hand? says the Lord. 14Cursed be the cheat who has a male in his flock, and vows it, and yet sacrifices to the Lord what is blemished. For I am a great King, says the Lord of hosts, and my name will be feared among the nations. ▤ 

  • David’s refusal to give to God that which cost him nothing:

1Chr 21:22-24  And David said to Ornan, “Give me the site of the threshing floor that I may build on it an altar to the Lord—give it to me at its full price—that the plague may be averted from the people.” 23Then Ornan said to David, “Take it, and let my lord the king do what seems good to him. See, I give the oxen for burnt offerings and the threshing sledges for the wood and the wheat for a grain offering; I give it all.” 24But King David said to Ornan, “No, but I will buy them for the full price. I will not take for the Lord what is yours, nor offer burnt offerings that cost me nothing.” ▤ 

Give all that you can

See also:

Mark 12:41-44  And he sat down opposite the treasury and watched the people putting money into the offering box. Many rich people put in large sums. 42And a poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which make a penny.h 43And he called his disciples to him and said to them, “Truly, I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the offering box. 44For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.” ▤ 

h Greek two lepta, which make a kodrantes; a kodrantes (Latin quadrans) was a Roman copper coin worth about 1/64 of a denarius (which was a day’s wage for a laborer)

It would appear that Jesus is speaking of the widow’s action as being exemplary.

Acts 11:29  So the disciples determined, everyone according to his ability, to send relief to the brothersi living in Judea. ▤ 

i Or brothers and sisters

The phrase “everyone according to his ability” is understood to mean “as much as they could” (NLT, cf. CEV, GNT, NCV).

2Cor 8:1-3, 11-12  We want you to know, brothers,j about the grace of God that has been given among the churches of Macedonia, 2for in a severe test of affliction, their abundance of joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part. 3For they gave according to their means, as I can testify, and beyond their means, of their own accord, ▤ 11So now finish doing it as well, so that your readiness in desiring it may be matched by your completing it out of what you have. 12For if the readiness is there, it is acceptable according to what a person has, not according to what he does not have. ▤ 

j Or brothers and sisters

In the light of v. 3, with the phrases “out of what you have” (v. 11) and “according to what a person has” (v. 12), Paul may well be meaning that they should give what they are able, in accordance with what they have. Alternatively he could simply be speaking more generally of giving in proportion to one’s income, as do the verses in the following subsection.

Luke 12:33  Sell your possessions, and give to the needy. Provide yourselves with moneybags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys. ▤ 

The practice of giving an amount in proportion to one’s income – such as a tenth

See also:

1Cor 16:2  On the first day of every week, each of you is to put something aside and store it up, as he may prosper, so that there will be no collecting when I come. ▤ 

The expression “as he may prosper” refers to giving “in proportion to what you have earned” (GNT). The reference to “the first day of every week” quite possibly has church meetings in view, for the making of offerings of such sums of money.

Gen 28:22b  And of all that you give me I will give a full tenth to you. ▤ 

Deut 16:17  Every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the Lord your God that he has given you. ▤ 

Lev 27:30  Every tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land or of the fruit of the trees, is the Lord’s; it is holy to the Lord. ▤ 

A tithe – a tenth – of the land’s produce was to be set apart to God as holy (cf. NLT). In addition to being a form of worship, it was also an acknowledgement that the land, from which the people benefited, ultimately belonged to God.

Deut 14:22  You shall tithe all the yield of your seed that comes from the field year by year. ▤ 

2Chr 31:5  As soon as the command was spread abroad, the people of Israel gave in abundance the firstfruits of grain, wine, oil, honey, and of all the produce of the field. And they brought in abundantly the tithe of everything. ▤ 

Mal 3:8-10  Will man rob God? Yet you are robbing me. But you say, ‘How have we robbed you?’ In your tithes and contributions. 9You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing me, the whole nation of you. 10Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need. ▤ 

The people were to bring the tithes of their produce so that there would be sufficient food stored in the temple, the food being for the priests along with the needy. Not doing so was in effect robbing God (vv. 8-9).

Offer spiritual sacrifices to God

See also:

Spiritual sacrifices specifically mentioned in this subsection are: thanksgiving (Ps 50:14; Jonah 2:9); ourselves (Rom 12:1); praise (Heb 13:15); and a penitent spirit (Ps 51:17).

1Pet 2:5  … you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. ▤ 

Ps 50:14  Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving,v and perform your vows to the Most High, … ▤ 

v Or Make thanksgiving your sacrifice to God

Jonah 2:9  But I with the voice of thanksgiving will sacrifice to you; what I have vowed I will pay. Salvation belongs to the Lord! ▤ 

Rom 12:1  I appeal to you therefore, brothers,t by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.u ▤ 

t Or brothers and sisters

u Or your rational service

We ought to offer “ourselves as a living sacrifice to God, dedicated to his service and pleasing to him” (GNT cf. AMP, CEV).

Heb 13:15  Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name. ▤ 

Ps 51:16-17  For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it; you will not be pleased with a burnt offering. 17The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise. ▤ 

In confessing and repenting of his adultery with Bathsheba, David speaks of his deeply humbled state and great remorse. These are the sacrifices that God requires of us for sin – as opposed to merely formal sacrifices (v. 16).

  • Doing good and sharing with others are also sacrifices that are pleasing to God:

Heb 13:16  Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God. ▤ 

Note: The OT grain and peace offerings

See also:

The five major offerings were the burnt offering, the grain offering, the peace offering (or fellowship offering), the sin offering and the guilt offering. As their names suggest, the latter two were used in making atonement for sin. This was also one of the prime uses of the burnt offering. As such these three kinds of offerings are dealt with in chapter 9, as per the above cross references. As noted earlier, offerings for sin have no current application for Christians, but the other types of offerings have their parallels in Christian worship offerings today.

Lev 2:1-3  When anyone brings a grain offering as an offering to the Lord, his offering shall be of fine flour. He shall pour oil on it and put frankincense on it 2and bring it to Aaron’s sons the priests. And he shall take from it a handful of the fine flour and oil, with all of its frankincense, and the priest shall burn this as its memorial portion on the altar, a food offering with a pleasing aroma to the Lord. 3But the rest of the grain offering shall be for Aaron and his sons; it is a most holy part of the Lord’s food offerings. ▤ 

The grain offering was to express thanksgiving to God, for the harvest and/or for other blessings. It was usually offered with animal sacrifices. The “memorial portion” (v. 2; cf. v. 16 ) represented or signified the offering as a whole – “a token that it has all been offered to the Lord” (GNT). It was burnt on the altar, while the rest was given as food to God’s priests.

Lev 2:13-16  You shall season all your grain offerings with salt. You shall not let the salt of the covenant with your God be missing from your grain offering; with all your offerings you shall offer salt. 14“If you offer a grain offering of firstfruits to the Lord, you shall offer for the grain offering of your firstfruits fresh ears, roasted with fire, crushed new grain. 15And you shall put oil on it and lay frankincense on it; it is a grain offering. 16And the priest shall burn as its memorial portion some of the crushed grain and some of the oil with all of its frankincense; it is a food offering to the Lord. ▤ 

Note that the inclusion of salt – “the salt of the covenant” – may well have been an allusion to and a reminder of God’s covenant with the people.

Lev 3:1-5  If his offering is a sacrifice of peace offering, if he offers an animal from the herd, male or female, he shall offer it without blemish before the Lord. 2And he shall lay his hand on the head of his offering and kill it at the entrance of the tent of meeting, and Aaron’s sons the priests shall throw the blood against the sides of the altar. 3And from the sacrifice of the peace offering, as a food offering to the Lord, he shall offer the fat covering the entrails and all the fat that is on the entrails, 4and the two kidneys with the fat that is on them at the loins, and the long lobe of the liver that he shall remove with the kidneys. 5Then Aaron’s sons shall burn it on the altar on top of the burnt offering, which is on the wood on the fire; it is a food offering with a pleasing aroma to the Lord. ▤ 

A portion of the peace offering was offered to God (vv. 3-5; cf. Lev 7:29-31a ); a further portion was eaten by the priests (cf. Lev 7:31-34 ); and the remainder was eaten by the one making the offering (cf. Lev 7:15-18 ) and by relatives or friends. This sharing of the offering between God, the priests (the mediators between God and his people) and the one making the offering expressed peace between the latter and God.

Lev 7:11-18  And this is the law of the sacrifice of peace offerings that one may offer to the Lord. 12If he offers it for a thanksgiving, then he shall offer with the thanksgiving sacrifice unleavened loaves mixed with oil, unleavened wafers smeared with oil, and loaves of fine flour well mixed with oil. 13With the sacrifice of his peace offerings for thanksgiving he shall bring his offering with loaves of leavened bread. 14And from it he shall offer one loaf from each offering, as a gift to the Lord. It shall belong to the priest who throws the blood of the peace offerings. 15And the flesh of the sacrifice of his peace offerings for thanksgiving shall be eaten on the day of his offering. He shall not leave any of it until the morning. 16But if the sacrifice of his offering is a vow offering or a freewill offering, it shall be eaten on the day that he offers his sacrifice, and on the next day what remains of it shall be eaten. 17But what remains of the flesh of the sacrifice on the third day shall be burned up with fire. 18If any of the flesh of the sacrifice of his peace offering is eaten on the third day, he who offers it shall not be accepted, neither shall it be credited to him. It is tainted, and he who eats of it shall bear his iniquity. ▤ 

Peace offerings could be made as a thanksgiving sacrifice (vv. 12-15), as a freewill offering or in fulfillment of a vow (vv. 16-18), the latter being where one had vowed to make such an offering. Thus peace offerings could be made to express gratitude or devotion to God.

Lev 7:29-34  Speak to the people of Israel, saying, Whoever offers the sacrifice of his peace offerings to the Lord shall bring his offering to the Lord from the sacrifice of his peace offerings. 30His own hands shall bring the Lord’s food offerings. He shall bring the fat with the breast, that the breast may be waved as a wave offering before the Lord. 31The priest shall burn the fat on the altar, but the breast shall be for Aaron and his sons. 32And the right thigh you shall give to the priest as a contribution from the sacrifice of your peace offerings. 33Whoever among the sons of Aaron offers the blood of the peace offerings and the fat shall have the right thigh for a portion. 34For the breast that is waved and the thigh that is contributed I have taken from the people of Israel, out of the sacrifices of their peace offerings, and have given them to Aaron the priest and to his sons, as a perpetual due from the people of Israel. ▤ 

  • Drink offerings:

1Chr 29:21  And they offered sacrifices to the Lord, and on the next day offered burnt offerings to the Lord, 1,000 bulls, 1,000 rams, and 1,000 lambs, with their drink offerings, and sacrifices in abundance for all Israel. ▤ 

Drink offerings were offerings of wine poured out on the altar of burnt offering, in connection with a burnt offering, a grain offering or a peace offering.

Pray for persecuted Christians

How to Give to God

See also:

Give in a way that is acceptable to God

See also:

Lev 19:5-7  When you offer a sacrifice of peace offerings to the Lord, you shall offer it so that you may be accepted. 6It shall be eaten the same day you offer it or on the day after, and anything left over until the third day shall be burned up with fire. 7If it is eaten at all on the third day, it is tainted; it will not be accepted, … ▤ 

Lev 1:3-4  If his offering is a burnt offering from the herd, he shall offer a male without blemish. He shall bring it to the entrance of the tent of meeting, that he may be accepted before the Lord. 4He shall lay his hand on the head of the burnt offering, and it shall be accepted for him to make atonement for him. ▤ 

Verse 3b is speaking of how in order for an offering (cf. NCV, NIV, NLT, v. 4) and the person giving it to be acceptable to God, offerings had to be presented and made at the one place specified by him.

Mal 3:3-4  He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, and they will bring offerings in righteousness to the Lord.k 4Then the offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing to the Lord as in the days of old and as in former years. ▤ 

k Or and they will belong to the Lord, bringers of an offering in righteousness

To be pleasing to God and so acceptable, our offerings must be accompanied by righteous living – as discussed in the first two subsections (cross-referenced above) of the next chapter section.

Heb 11:4  By faith Abel offered to God a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain, through which he was commended as righteous, God commending him by accepting his gifts. And through his faith, though he died, he still speaks. ▤ 

This points to the difference in attitude between Abel and Cain as being the reason – or part thereof – for God’s acceptance of Abel’s sacrifice but not Cain’s. In offering his sacrifice Abel was acting in faith, presumably encompassing faith in the God-given significance of the sacrifice and God’s acceptance of it as such. In contrast, Cain may have simply offered his sacrifice as a matter of course or only as an obligation, perhaps even grudgingly.

Give willingly

Ex 35:5, 20-22, 29  Take from among you a contribution to the Lord. Whoever is of a generous heart, let him bring the Lord’s contribution: gold, silver, and bronze; ▤ 20Then all the congregation of the people of Israel departed from the presence of Moses. 21And they came, everyone whose heart stirred him, and everyone whose spirit moved him, and brought the Lord’s contribution to be used for the tent of meeting, and for all its service, and for the holy garments. 22So they came, both men and women. All who were of a willing heart brought brooches and earrings and signet rings and armlets, all sorts of gold objects, every man dedicating an offering of gold to the Lord. ▤ 29All the men and women, the people of Israel, whose heart moved them to bring anything for the work that the Lord had commanded by Moses to be done brought it as a freewill offering to the Lord. ▤ 

Freewill offerings were voluntary offerings – spoken of here in regard to voluntarily giving materials for the building of the tabernacle. Note that the people’s willingness is underlined in 36:6 which says that “the people were restrained from bringing” after they had supplied more than enough.

2Ki 12:4-5  Jehoash said to the priests, “All the money of the holy things that is brought into the house of the Lord, the money for which each man is assessed—the money from the assessment of persons—and the money that a man’s heart prompts him to bring into the house of the Lord, 5let the priests take, each from his donor, and let them repair the house wherever any need of repairs is discovered.” ▤ 

1Chr 29:5b-6, 9, 17  Who then will offer willingly, consecrating himselfl today to the Lord?” 6Then the leaders of fathers’ houses made their freewill offerings, as did also the leaders of the tribes, the commanders of thousands and of hundreds, and the officers over the king’s work. ▤ 9Then 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. ▤  … [David:] 17I 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. ▤ 

l Or ordaining himself; Hebrew filling his hand

In v. 5b, David calls on the people to willingly consecrate themselves to the Lord, here referring to dedicating themselves (cf. CEV) to “the service of the Lord” (NCV™) by giving precious materials (cf. vv. 3-5a, 7-8) for the building of the temple. Note that v. 17 mentions another important aspect of giving gifts to God in an acceptable manner – one must do so in “uprightness”, which is inclusive of being sincere and having no ulterior motives.

Rom 15:26  For Macedonia and Achaia have been pleased to make some contribution for the poor among the saints at Jerusalem. ▤ 

2Cor 8:3-4  For they gave according to their means, as I can testify, and beyond their means, of their own accord, 4begging us earnestly for the favorm of taking part in the relief of the saints … ▤ 

m The Greek word charis can mean favor or grace or thanks, depending on the context

2Cor 8:10-12  And in this matter I give my judgment: this benefits you, who a year ago started not only to do this work but also to desire to do it. 11So now finish doing it as well, so that your readiness in desiring it may be matched by your completing it out of what you have. 12For if the readiness is there, it is acceptable according to what a person has, not according to what he does not have. ▤ 

Verse 12 underlines that willingness (i.e. “readiness” to give) is crucial to one’s gift being acceptable to God – along with it being given in accordance with what one has.

2Cor 9:5, 7  So I thought it necessary to urge the brothers to go on ahead to you and arrange in advance for the giftn you have promised, so that it may be ready as a willing gift, not as an exaction. ▤ 7Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. ▤ 

n Greek blessing; twice in this verse

o Or a gift expecting something in return; Greek greed

A “cheerful giver” is “one who gives gladly” (GNT).

Give joyfully

See also:

The joy that should accompany the presentation of offerings comes largely from being mindful of and grateful for the reason that they are being offered – reasons such as God’s provision and deliverance.

Num 10:10  On the day of your gladness also, and at your appointed feasts and at the beginnings of your months, you shall blow the trumpets over your burnt offerings and over the sacrifices of your peace offerings. They shall be a reminder of you before your God: I am the Lord your God. ▤ 

Deut 16:10-11  Then you shall keep the Feast of Weeks to the Lord your God with the tribute of a freewill offering from your hand, which you shall give as the Lord your God blesses you. 11And you shall rejoice before the Lord your God, you and your son and your daughter, your male servant and your female servant, the Levite who is within your towns, the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow who are among you, at the place that the Lord your God will choose, to make his name dwell there. ▤ 

1Chr 29:17b  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. ▤ 

2Chr 24:10  And all the princes and all the people rejoiced and brought their tax and dropped it into the chest until they had finished.p ▤ 

p Or until it was full

Ps 27:5-6  For he will hide me in his shelter in the day of trouble; he will conceal me under the cover of his tent; he will lift me high upon a rock. 6And now my head shall be lifted up above my enemies all around me, and I will offer in his tent sacrifices with shouts of joy; I will sing and make melody to the Lord. ▤ 

  • Enthusiasm in giving inspires others to do likewise:

2Cor 9:2  … for I know your readiness, of which I boast about you to the people of Macedonia, saying that Achaia has been ready since last year. And your zeal has stirred up most of them. ▤ 

Give generously

See also:

2Chr 31:4-5  And he commanded the people who lived in Jerusalem to give the portion due to the priests and the Levites, that they might give themselves to the Law of the Lord. 5As soon as the command was spread abroad, the people of Israel gave in abundance the firstfruits of grain, wine, oil, honey, and of all the produce of the field. And they brought in abundantly the tithe of everything. ▤ 

2Cor 8:3  For they gave according to their means, as I can testify, and beyond their means, of their own accord, … ▤ 

2Cor 8:7  But as you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in all earnestness, and in our love for youq—see that you excel in this act of grace also. ▤ 

q Some manuscripts in your love for us

Paul calls on the Corinthians to “abound and excel in this gracious work” (AMP) of giving to the poor – “to be generous… in this service” (GNT; cf. CEV).

2Cor 8:20  We take this course so that no one should blame us about this generous gift that is being administered by us, … ▤ 

2Cor 9:5-6  So I thought it necessary to urge the brothers to go on ahead to you and arrange in advance for the giftr you have promised, so that it may be ready as a willing gift, not as an exaction.s 6The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifullyt will also reap bountifully. ▤ 

r Greek blessing; twice in this verse

s Or a gift expecting something in return; Greek greed

t Greek with blessings; twice in this verse

Ex 36:3-6  And they received from Moses all the contribution that the people of Israel had brought for doing the work on the sanctuary. They still kept bringing him freewill offerings every morning, 4so that all the craftsmen who were doing every sort of task on the sanctuary came, each from the task that he was doing, 5and said to Moses, “The people bring much more than enough for doing the work that the Lord has commanded us to do.” 6So Moses gave command, and word was proclaimed throughout the camp, “Let no man or woman do anything more for the contribution for the sanctuary.” So the people were restrained from bringing, … ▤ 

Num 31:52  And all the gold of the contribution that they presented to the Lord, from the commanders of thousands and the commanders of hundreds, was 16,750 shekels.u ▤ 

u A shekel was about 2/5 ounce or 11 grams

This large amount of gold had been acquired from the Midianites after defeating them in battle. Following the realization that not one of their soldiers had been lost (cf. vv. 48-50), the army commanders presented it as a gift “to make atonement for ourselves before the Lord” (v. 50), presumably as “a payment for our lives” (GNT) in recognition of God’s deliverance of them.

1Chr 29:2-5a  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. 3Moreover, 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: 43,000 talentsv of gold, of the gold of Ophir, and 7,000 talents of refined silver, for overlaying the walls of the house,w 5and for all the work to be done by craftsmen, gold for the things of gold and silver for the things of silver. ▤ 

v A talent was about 75 pounds or 34 kilograms

w Septuagint; Hebrew houses

Mark 14:3-9  And while he was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper,x as he was reclining at table, a woman came with an alabaster flask of ointment of pure nard, very costly, and she broke the flask and poured it over his head. 4There were some who said to themselves indignantly, “Why was the ointment wasted like that? 5For this ointment could have been sold for more than three hundred denariiy and given to the poor.” And they scolded her. 6But Jesus said, “Leave her alone. Why do you trouble her? She has done a beautiful thing to me. 7For you always have the poor with you, and whenever you want, you can do good for them. But you will not always have me. 8She has done what she could; she has anointed my body beforehand for burial. 9And truly, I say to you, wherever the gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will be told in memory of her.” ▤ 

x Leprosy was a term for several skin diseases; see Leviticus 13

y A denarius was a day’s wage for a laborer

The woman’s action – involving great cost (vv. 3, 5) – was in effect an offering to Jesus. In v. 8 Jesus refers to the Jewish practice of anointing a body with oils to prepare it for burial. He indicates that the woman’s action did this – at least in a symbolic sense – thus affording him this honor that he would be denied on his forthcoming death as a criminal. As such the woman’s anointing of Jesus foreshadowed his death, with the costliness of her doing so possibly pointing to the priceless worth of Jesus’ death.

  • God is able and willing to enable us to be generous:

2Cor 9:8-11, 13-14  And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiencyz in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work. 9As it is written, “He has distributed freely, he has given to the poor; his righteousness endures forever.” 10He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness. 11You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God. ▤ 13By their approval of this service, theya will glorify God because of your submission flowing from your confession of the gospel of Christ, and the generosity of your contribution for them and for all others, 14while they long for you and pray for you, because of the surpassing grace of God upon you. ▤ 

z Or all contentment

a Or you

Give regularly . . .

1Cor 16:2  On the first day of every week, each of you is to put something aside and store it up, as he may prosper, so that there will be no collecting when I come. ▤ 

Ex 29:42  It shall be a regular burnt offering throughout your generations at the entrance of the tent of meeting before the Lord, where I will meet with you, to speak to you there. ▤ 

This and the following references speak of offerings made by or on behalf of the Israelites as a whole. Nevertheless, the regularity of such offerings is an exemplary model for believers today, both individually and corporately.

Num 28:1-6  The Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 2“Command the people of Israel and say to them, ‘My offering, my food for my food offerings, my pleasing aroma, you shall be careful to offer to me at its appointed time.’ 3And you shall say to them, This is the food offering that you shall offer to the Lord: two male lambs a year old without blemish, day by day, as a regular offering. 4The one lamb you shall offer in the morning, and the other lamb you shall offer at twilight; 5also a tenth of an ephahb of fine flour for a grain offering, mixed with a quarter of a hinc of beaten oil. 6It is a regular burnt offering, which was ordained at Mount Sinai for a pleasing aroma, a food offering to the Lord. ▤ 

b An ephah was about 3/5 bushel or 22 liters

c A hin was about 4 quarts or 3.5 liters

2Ki 16:15a  And King Ahaz commanded Uriah the priest, saying, “On the great altar burn the morning burnt offering and the evening grain offering and the king’s burnt offering and his grain offering, with the burnt offering of all the people of the land, and their grain offering and their drink offering. ▤ 

Num 28:9-11  On the Sabbath day, two male lambs a year old without blemish, and two tenths of an ephah of fine flour for a grain offering, mixed with oil, and its drink offering: 10this is the burnt offering of every Sabbath, besides the regular burnt offering and its drink offering. 11“At the beginnings of your months, you shall offer a burnt offering to the Lord: two bulls from the herd, one ram, seven male lambs a year old without blemish; … ▤ 

. . . and give on special occasions

See also:

Num 10:10  On the day of your gladness also, and at your appointed feasts and at the beginnings of your months, you shall blow the trumpets over your burnt offerings and over the sacrifices of your peace offerings. They shall be a reminder of you before your God: I am the Lord your God. ▤ 

The people were to make offerings to God at the appointed feasts and festivals (cf. Num 29:39 ).

Num 29:39  “These you shall offer to the Lord at your appointed feasts, in addition to your vow offerings and your freewill offerings, for your burnt offerings, and for your grain offerings, and for your drink offerings, and for your peace offerings.” ▤ 

Lev 9:3-4  And say to the people of Israel, ‘Take a male goat for a sin offering, and a calf and a lamb, both a year old without blemish, for a burnt offering, 4and an ox and a ram for peace offerings, to sacrifice before the Lord, and a grain offering mixed with oil, for today the Lord will appear to you.’ ▤ 

The special occasion was the commencement of the priests’ ministry, on which God would appear in his glory to the people (cf. vv. 23-24).

1Chr 29:21-22  And they offered sacrifices to the Lord, and on the next day offered burnt offerings to the Lord, 1,000 bulls, 1,000 rams, and 1,000 lambs, with their drink offerings, and sacrifices in abundance for all Israel. 22And they ate and drank before the Lord on that day with great gladness. And they made Solomon the son of David king the second time, and they anointed him as prince for the Lord, and Zadok as priest. ▤ 

The offering of thousands of sacrifices marked the occasion of Solomon’s anointing as king.

1Ki 8:63  Solomon offered as peace offerings to the Lord 22,000 oxen and 120,000 sheep. So the king and all the people of Israel dedicated the house of the Lord. ▤ 

2Chr 29:35  Besides the great number of burnt offerings, there was the fat of the peace offerings, and there were the drink offerings for the burnt offerings. Thus the service of the house of the Lord was restored. ▤ 

The occasion was the rededication of the temple – after its purification – and the reestablishment of the temple worship practices, under King Hezekiah.

Ezra 6:17  They offered at the dedication of this house of God 100 bulls, 200 rams, 400 lambs, and as a sin offering for all Israel 12 male goats, according to the number of the tribes of Israel. ▤ 

Note: The practice of making of vows to God, which have to be kept

Vows are voluntary promises made to God, usually as an act of worship, expressing devotion or thanksgiving. Regarding thanksgiving, vows may be made either in response to something one has received or as a promise to God if he would grant a request. A vow usually involves offering something to God, but can instead involve doing something or abstaining from something. (An example of a vow involving doing something is given in Acts 18:18b, which says that Paul “cut his hair, for he was under a vow.”) The practice is not compulsory and is rarely mentioned in the NT.

Lev 22:18-19  Speak to Aaron and his sons and all the people of Israel and say to them, When any one of the house of Israel or of the sojourners in Israel presents a burnt offering as his offering, for any of their vows or freewill offerings that they offer to the Lord, 19if it is to be accepted for you it shall be a male without blemish, of the bulls or the sheep or the goats. ▤ 

Lev 27:2-3, 9, 14-15, 28  Speak to the people of Israel and say to them, If anyone makes a special vow to the Lord involving the valuation of persons, 3then the valuation of a male from twenty years old up to sixty years old shall be fifty shekelsd of silver, according to the shekel of the sanctuary. ▤ 9“If the vowe is an animal that may be offered as an offering to the Lord, all of it that he gives to the Lord is holy. ▤ 14“When a man dedicates his house as a holy gift to the Lord, the priest shall value it as either good or bad; as the priest values it, so it shall stand. 15And if the donor wishes to redeem his house, he shall add a fifth to the valuation price, and it shall be his. ▤ 28“But no devoted thing that a man devotes to the Lord, of anything that he has, whether man or beast, or of his inherited field, shall be sold or redeemed; every devoted thing is most holy to the Lord. ▤ 

d A shekel was about 2/5 ounce or 11 grams

e Hebrew it

One could make a vow to dedicate persons to God by giving what was deemed as an equivalent value for them (cf. vv. 2-8). Some other things dedicated to God could be redeemed or bought back by payment of what they were worth plus a fifth (cf. vv. 13, 15, 19). However things “devoted” to God – likewise a form of vow – were absolutely his and could not be redeemed (v. 28).

1Sam 1:11, 27-28a  And she vowed a vow and said, “O Lord of hosts, if you will indeed look on the affliction of your servant and remember me and not forget your servant, but will give to your servant a son, then I will give him to the Lord all the days of his life, and no razor shall touch his head.” ▤ 27For this child I prayed, and the Lord has granted me my petition that I made to him. 28Therefore I have lent him to the Lord. As long as he lives, he is lent to the Lord.” ▤ 

Here Hannah speaks of her son Samuel, who would become Israel’s last and greatest judge.

Deut 23:21-23  If you make a vow to the Lord your God, you shall not delay fulfilling it, for the Lord your God will surely require it of you, and you will be guilty of sin. 22But if you refrain from vowing, you will not be guilty of sin. 23You shall be careful to do what has passed your lips, for you have voluntarily vowed to the Lord your God what you have promised with your mouth. ▤ 

This and the following extracts indicate that vows must be kept. Note that v. 22 points out that making vows is not mandatory (cf. Eccl 5:5 ).

Ps 50:14  Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving,f and perform your vows to the Most High, … ▤ 

f Or Make thanksgiving your sacrifice to God

Ps 61:8  So will I ever sing praises to your name, as I perform my vows day after day. ▤ 

Ps 66:13-14  I will come into your house with burnt offerings; I will perform my vows to you, 14that which my lips uttered and my mouth promised when I was in trouble. ▤ 

As with 50:14 above, the offerings are spoken of as being made to fulfill the vows that had been taken (cf. NLT).

Eccl 5:4  When you vow a vow to God, do not delay paying it, for he has no pleasure in fools. Pay what you vow. ▤ 

Hos 14:2  Take with you words and return to the Lord; say to him, “Take away all iniquity; accept what is good, and we will pay with bulls the vowsg of our lips. ▤ 

g Septuagint, Syriac pay the fruit

  • So, be cautious about making a vow:

Eccl 5:1-3, 5-6  h Guard your steps when you go to the house of God. To draw near to listen is better than to offer the sacrifice of fools, for they do not know that they are doing evil. 2i Be not rash with your mouth, nor let your heart be hasty to utter a word before God, for God is in heaven and you are on earth. Therefore let your words be few. 3For a dream comes with much business, and a fool’s voice with many words. ▤ 5It is better that you should not vow than that you should vow and not pay. 6Let not your mouth lead youj into sin, and do not say before the messengerk that it was a mistake. Why should God be angry at your voice and destroy the work of your hands? ▤ 

h Ch 4:17 in Hebrew

i Ch 5:1 in Hebrew

j Hebrew your flesh

k Or angel

In view of the context, vv. 1-3 most probably has in view the making of rash vows. Proverbs 20:25 similarly cautions against making rash vows and dedications: “It is a snare to say rashly, “It is holy,” and to reflect only after making vows.” The saddest example of what turned out to be a rash vow is Jephthah’s vow (cf. Judges 11:30-40).

Pray for persecuted Christians

Righteousness and Making Offerings

We must live righteously to acceptably worship God . . .

See also:

Ps 15:1-5  O Lord, who shall sojourn in your tent? Who shall dwell on your holy hill? 2He who walks blamelessly and does what is right and speaks truth in his heart; 3who does not slander with his tongue and does no evil to his neighbor, nor takes up a reproach against his friend; 4in whose eyes a vile person is despised, but who honors those who fear the Lord; who swears to his own hurt and does not change; 5who does not put out his money at interest and does not take a bribe against the innocent. He who does these things shall never be moved. ▤ 

Verse 1 speaks of coming before God in his temple in worship (cf. GNT, NLT) and for fellowship with him. Psalms 24:3 below is of a similar vein.

Ps 24:3-4  Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord? And who shall stand in his holy place? 4He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to what is false and does not swear deceitfully. ▤ 

Mal 3:3-4  He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, and they will bring offerings in righteousness to the Lord.l 4Then the offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing to the Lord as in the days of old and as in former years. ▤ 

l Or and they will belong to the Lord, bringers of an offering in righteousness

Isa 1:13-16  Bring no more vain offerings; [your] incense is an abomination to me. New moon and Sabbath and the calling of convocations— I cannot endure iniquity and solemn assembly. 14Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hates; they have become a burden to me; I am weary of bearing them. 15When you spread out your hands, I will hide my eyes from you; even though you make many prayers, I will not listen; your hands are full of blood. 16Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your deeds from before my eyes; cease to do evil, … ▤ 

Verses 13b-14 speak of worship-related gatherings and celebrations which amounted to meaningless, intolerable worship of God in the light of the people’s evil deeds (vv. 15b-16a). Amos 5:21, 23-24 below has a similar theme.

Amos 5:7, 21, 23-24  O you who turn justice to wormwoodm and cast down righteousness to the earth! ▤ 21“I hate, I despise your feasts, and I take no delight in your solemn assemblies. ▤ 23Take away from me the noise of your songs; to the melody of your harps I will not listen. 24But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream. ▤ 

m Or to bitter fruit

. . . Our offerings are not acceptable to God if our lives do not please him

See also:

Prov 15:8  The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord, but the prayer of the upright is acceptable to him. ▤ 

Prov 21:27  The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination; how much more when he brings it with evil intent. ▤ 

God is in view as the one who detests such sacrifices.

Isa 66:3  He who slaughters an ox is like one who kills a man; he who sacrifices a lamb, like one who breaks a dog’s neck; he who presents a grain offering, like one who offers pig’s blood; he who makes a memorial offering of frankincense, like one who blesses an idol. These have chosen their own ways, and their soul delights in their abominations; … ▤ 

This is implying that when one lives in a way that is abhorrent to God, such acts of worship become contemptible. The point is made by comparing these acts of worship with detestable sins – some of which possibly are pagan religious activities.

Jer 6:19-20  Hear, O earth; behold, I am bringing disaster upon this people, the fruit of their devices, because they have not paid attention to my words; and as for my law, they have rejected it. 20What use to me is frankincense that comes from Sheba, or sweet cane from a distant land? Your burnt offerings are not acceptable, nor your sacrifices pleasing to me. ▤ 

Jer 14:10, 12  Thus says the Lord concerning this people: “They have loved to wander thus; they have not restrained their feet; therefore the Lord does not accept them; now he will remember their iniquity and punish their sins.” ▤ 12Though they fast, I will not hear their cry, and though they offer burnt offering and grain offering, I will not accept them. But I will consume them by the sword, by famine, and by pestilence.” ▤ 

Because of their sin God would not accept the people (v. 11) or their offerings (v. 12).

Hos 8:12-13  Were I to write for him my laws by the ten thousands, they would be regarded as a strange thing. 13As for my sacrificial offerings, they sacrifice meat and eat it, but the Lord does not accept them. Now he will remember their iniquity and punish their sins; they shall return to Egypt. ▤ 

In v. 13a, “them” refers to the sacrifices – though it is also very much applicable to the people themselves (cf. Jer 14:10, 12 ).

Amos 5:12, 22  For I know how many are your transgressions and how great are your sins— you who afflict the righteous, who take a bribe, and turn aside the needy in the gate. ▤ 22Even though you offer me your burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them; and the peace offerings of your fattened animals, I will not look upon them. ▤ 

Hag 2:12-14  ‘If someone carries holy meat in the fold of his garment and touches with his fold bread or stew or wine or oil or any kind of food, does it become holy?’” The priests answered and said, “No.” 13Then Haggai said, “If someone who is unclean by contact with a dead body touches any of these, does it become unclean?” The priests answered and said, “It does become unclean.” 14Then Haggai answered and said, “So is it with this people, and with this nation before me, declares the Lord, and so with every work of their hands. And what they offer there is unclean. ▤ 

Ungodly lives make what we do and our offerings unacceptable to God (vv. 13-14), rather than our offerings making ungodly lives acceptable to him (v. 12) – as illustrated here by the OT ceremonial laws referred to (vv. 12-13).

Mal 2:13-14  And this second thing you do. You cover the Lord’s altar with tears, with weeping and groaning because he no longer regards the offering or accepts it with favor from your hand. 14But you say, “Why does he not?” Because the Lord was witness between you and the wife of your youth, to whom you have been faithless, though she is your companion and your wife by covenant. ▤ 

  • Offerings should not be made to the detriment of God’s commands:

Mark 7:9-13  And he said to them, “You have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God in order to establish your tradition! 10For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and your mother’; and, ‘Whoever reviles father or mother must surely die.’ 11But you say, ‘If a man tells his father or his mother, “Whatever you would have gained from me is Corban”’ (that is, given to God)n 12then you no longer permit him to do anything for his father or mother, 13thus making void the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And many such things you do.” ▤ 

n Or an offering

God desires righteousness more than offerings and sacrifices

See also:

It is more important to God that we live righteously, being godly and obedient, than to make offerings or sacrifices.

1Sam 15:22  And Samuel said, “Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to listen than the fat of rams. ▤ 

Ps 40:6-8  In sacrifice and offering you have not delighted, but you have given me an open ear.o Burnt offering and sin offering you have not required. 7Then I said, “Behold, I have come; in the scroll of the book it is written of me: 8I delight to do your will, O my God; your law is within my heart.” ▤ 

o Hebrew ears you have dug for me

God desires obedience to his will more than offerings and sacrifices. Verses 7-8 point to David’s readiness and willingness to do God’s will – as opposed to simply relying on offerings to please God (v. 6).

Hos 6:6  For I desire steadfast lovep and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings. ▤ 

p Septuagint mercy

Mic 6:6-8  “With what shall I come before the Lord, and bow myself before God on high? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old? 7Will the Lord be pleased withq thousands of rams, with ten thousands of rivers of oil? Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?” 8He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness,r and to walk humbly with your God? ▤ 

q Or Will the Lord accept

r Or steadfast love

Mark 12:33  And to love him with all the heart and with all the understanding and with all the strength, and to love one’s neighbor as oneself, is much more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices. ▤ 

Isa 1:11, 16-17  What to me is the multitude of your sacrifices? says the Lord; I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams and the fat of well-fed beasts; I do not delight in the blood of bulls, or of lambs, or of goats. ▤ 16Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your deeds from before my eyes; cease to do evil, 17learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause. ▤ 

Righteousness (v. 17) should be a higher priority for us than offerings (v. 11). For even a multitude of sacrifices gives God no pleasure without righteousness in the lives of those offering the sacrifices.

Jer 7:21-23  Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: “Add your burnt offerings to your sacrifices, and eat the flesh. 22For in the day that I brought them out of the land of Egypt, I did not speak to your fathers or command them concerning burnt offerings and sacrifices. 23But this command I gave them: ‘Obey my voice, and I will be your God, and you shall be my people. And walk in all the way that I command you, that it may be well with you.’ ▤ 

This implies that obedience to God (v. 23) is more important than offerings and sacrifices (vv. 21-22). This is reflected in v. 21 implying that because of the people’s disobedience, their offerings and sacrifices were pointless – and as such they may as well have eaten the meat themselves rather than burning it as an offering. Additionally vv. 22-23 speak of obedience being an earlier and higher priority.

Mal 2:11-12  Judah has been faithless, and abomination has been committed in Israel and in Jerusalem. For Judah has profaned the sanctuary of the Lord, which he loves, and has married the daughter of a foreign god. 12May the Lord cut off from the tents of Jacob any descendants of the man who does this, who brings an offering to the Lord of hosts! ▤ 

s Hebrew any who wakes and answers

The last part of v. 11 is referring to marrying foreign women who worshiped other gods. Judgment for such disobedience could not be averted simply by bringing an offering to God (v. 12).

  • Relationships with others should be set right prior to offering gifts to God:

Matt 5:23-24  So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. ▤ 

We should in fact offer ourselves to God, in service to him

Rom 6:13  Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousnesaving been brought to life by God, we should offer our lives in service to him The phrase “your members” speaks of one’s bodily parts (cf. “your bodies”, Rom 12:1 ) as encompassing all one’s faculties and capacities.

Rom 12:1  I appeal to you therefore, brothers,t by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.u ▤ 

t Or brothers and sisters

u Or your rational service

We ought to offer “ourselves as a living sacrifice to God, dedicated to his service and pleasing to him” (GNT cf. AMP, CEV).

2Cor 8:5  … and this, not as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then by the will of God to us. ▤ 

Phil 2:17  Even if I am to be poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrificial offering of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all. ▤ 

A drink offering was an offering of wine poured out on a sacrifice or the altar. Paul pictures his life as being poured out as an offering to God (cf. 2Tim 4:6 ), with the apparent likelihood of his death resulting from his service to God. The “sacrificial offering of your faith” speaks of the Philippians’ own sacrifice to God in their service to him (cf. CEV, NCV, NLT) – the sacrifice which Paul’s life was being poured out upon, metaphorically speaking.

2Tim 4:6  For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. ▤ 

Rom 15:15-16  But on some points I have written to you very boldly by way of reminder, because of the grace given me by God 16to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles in the priestly service of the gospel of God, so that the offering of the Gentiles may be acceptable, sanctified by the Holy Spirit. ▤ 

This is speaking of Paul effectively making an “offering” to God of those whom he has brought to faith – rather than the Gentiles offering themselves. However it does reflect the assertion that believers’ lives are to be lived as offerings to God.

Luke 11:39-41  And the Lord said to him, “Now you Pharisees cleanse the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness. 40You fools! Did not he who made the outside make the inside also? 41But give as alms those things that are within, and behold, everything is clean for you. ▤ 

If we dedicate our hearts and minds to God (“those things that are within”) then our acts – which are a product of our hearts and minds – will be “clean”, acceptable to God.

Pray for persecuted Christians