TBU: The Bible Unpacked: Intermediate Edition

II. Offerings

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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.

Reasons to Give to God

Offerings are an important part of worshiping God

They will worship with sacrifices and food offerings. They will make vows to the Lord and carry them out.   Isaiah 19:21b  GW

Offerings acknowledge God’s provision for us

[Moses, to the Israelites:] Count seven weeks from the time you start harvesting grain. 10Then celebrate the Festival of Weeks to the Lord your God. Bring a freewill offering in proportion to the blessings the Lord your God has given you.   Deuteronomy 16:9-10  GW

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. Today believers likewise offer a portion of what they have earned from their work.

Offerings express thanksgiving to God for his deliverance

[David:] O God, I have taken vows before you; therefore I will offer thanksgiving sacrifices to you. 13For you have delivered me from death and my feet from stumbling, so that I may walk before God in the light of the living!   Psalms 56:12-13  ISV

Offerings support the service of God

The Israelites brought a freewill offering to the Lord, every man and woman whose heart was willing to bring materials for all the work that the Lord through Moses had commanded them to do.   Exodus 35:29  NET

What to Give to God

Give the “firstfruits” to God

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.   2 Chronicles 31:5  ESV

The OT speaks of giving to God the first portion of what we produce, often referred to as 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. Proverbs 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.

Give the best to God . . .

[A directive to the Israelites:] You must bring the best of the firstfruits of your land to the Holy Tent of the Lord your God.   Exodus 23:19a  NCV™

. . . Do not give what is inferior to God

[Directives to the Israelites:] You shall not offer anything that has a blemish, for it will not be acceptable for you.   Leviticus 22:201  ESV

Give all that you can

[Paul, speaking of the Macedonian churches:] They have been tested by great troubles, and they are very poor. But they gave much because of their great joy. 3I can tell you that they gave as much as they were able and even more than they could afford.   2 Corinthians 8:2-3a  NCV™

And a poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, worth less than a penny. 43He called his disciples and said to them, “I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the offering box than all the others. 44For they all gave out of their wealth. But she, out of her poverty, put in what she had to live on, everything she had.”   Mark 12:42-44  NET

Offer spiritual sacrifices

So offer spiritual sacrifices that God accepts through Jesus Christ.   1 Peter 2:5b  GW

Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, acknowledging his name.   Hebrews 13:15  NET

How to Give to God

Give willingly

[Paul, to believers:] Each one of you should give just as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, because God loves a cheerful giver.   2 Corinthians 9:7  NET

Give generously

[Paul, to the Corinthian believers:] Therefore I thought it necessary to urge these brothers to go to you in advance and to arrange ahead of time the generous contribution you had promised, so this may be ready as a generous gift and not as something you feel forced to do. 6My point is this: The person who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and the person who sows generously will also reap generously.   2 Corinthians 9:5-6  NET

Give regularly

[Paul, to believers:] On the first day of the week, each of you should set aside some income and save it to the extent that God has blessed you, so that a collection will not have to be made when I come.   1 Corinthians 16:2  NET

This verse is quite probably speaking of money being brought to Christian gatherings held on the first day of every week.

Righteousness and Making Offerings

We must live righteously to acceptably worship God

[God:] You, Israel, turn justice into poison and throw righteousness on the ground. … 21I hate your festivals; I despise them. I’m not pleased with your religious assemblies.23Spare me the sound of your songs. I won’t listen to the music of your harps.   Amos 5:7, 21, 23  GW

Then they’ll bring an offering in righteousness to the Lord. 4Then the offering to the Lord by Judah and Jerusalem will be acceptable as it was in the past, even as in former years.   Malachi 3:3b-4  ISV

For any form of worship to be acceptable to God, including making offerings, we must live righteously, doing what is right.

Our offerings are not acceptable if our lives do not please God

[God, speaking of his unfaithful people:] For they have paid no attention to what I have said, and they have rejected my law. 20I take no delight when they offer up to me frankincense that comes from Sheba or sweet-smelling cane imported from a faraway land. I cannot accept the burnt offerings they bring me.   Jeremiah 6:19b-20a  NET

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

[Paul:] I appeal to you: offer yourselves as a living sacrifice to God, dedicated to his service and pleasing to him.   Romans 12:1b  GNT

Pray for persecuted Christians