GUIDANCE and GIVING
By Rodney W. Francis
For some time now a burden has been in my heart to share with you some thoughts on the subject of “Guidance and Giving” in relation to the work of God. This is very important, for if we are not being guided aright, then our lives ~ as well as our giving ~ can be wasted on that which God does not intend for us! Our calling is not to be that of failures, but rather one of living in harmony with the plan of God and, as a result, being successful and fruitful in that which we do! We need to be sure of our calling if we expect to succeed; God has not called any of us to be failures and not succeed.
Let us take as our Scriptural base the calling of the man Bezalel (the name means “God is protection”). God chose him to make all the vessels needed for the work of the tabernacle (Exodus Chapters 31 to 40).
When Moses was in Mount Sinai alone with God, God told him that He had called by name Bezalel:“And I have filled him with the Spirit of God, in wisdom, in understanding, in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship, to design artistic works, to work in gold, in silver, in bronze, in cutting jewels for setting, in carving wood, and to work in all manner of workmanship. And I, indeed I, have appointed with him Aholiab the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan; and I have put wisdom (“skilfulness, wise-hearted”) in the hearts of all the gifted artisans, that they may make all that I have commanded you” (Exodus 31:3-6 , NKJV).
While Moses was being shown God’s plan for what He wanted His people to do, the Israelites had in the mean time run out of patience waiting for Moses to return to them. They rebelled against God and Moses, the result being that they made themselves an idol ~ a golden calf ~ which they then worshipped, and gave it the glory for their deliverance from Egypt! That glory which alone belonged to God (Exodus 32 )! Can you believe that??!! God told Moses the people had “corrupted”themselves: the word “corrupted” means “to destroy, to ruin, to lay in ruins, to destroy one’s way, i.e. to corrupt or pervert it, and hence to act wickedly; to make good for nothing; to corrupt wisdom, to pervert it to the purposes of craft and deceit. Moral corruption implies the loss of integrity and of virtue” (Wilson’s Old Testament Word Studies). Their decisions and actions made God angry! And Moses likewise, when he saw what his people had done, was so angry that he broke the two tables of testimony upon which God had personally written! How contrary and corrupt those people were. How quickly they went astray! Moses knew in his heart that for God to do His will through them, then God Himself would have to instruct them all along the way.
When we walk with the Lord we learn that God is the God of the impossible; that He is not limited to natural circumstances; that in spite of the surrounding conditions, when we trust His quickened, made alive “rhema” word to us, that He is able to bring it to pass ~ and He does! Knowing God’s guidance is one of the main “ingredients” to seeing “promise” become “reality”.
But let us get back to Bezalel . . . after Moses returned the second time from Mount Sinai he made known the fact that God had called Bezalel to do His work. You might think that it is alright for God to tell Moses about Bezalel’s call; but what about Bezalel himself? Did he know for sure that God had called him to fulfil this major task? By all means, yes! God Himself prepared Bezalel by filling him “with the Spirit of God, in wisdom and understanding, in knowledge and all manner of workmanship, to design artistic works . . . And He has put in his heart ability to teach (“to guide, direct, or instruct in a right way or course of action” ~ Wilson’s)” (Exodus 35:30-35 ). In Exodus chapters 36 to 39 we read of the many different works which Bezalel accomplished as a direct result of God’s call and guidance in his life. He could not have done it in his own strength! He could not have completed the work of God if he was not sure of God’s hand of guidance and enablement upon him. What a tremendous responsibility he carried, as together with Aholiab and other workers God gave him, they worked according to the commandment of the Lord!
GET THE GUIDANCE RIGHT AND THE GIVING WILL FOLLOW
God had called Bezalel by name to do a work for Him; and through God’s guidance and enabling he was able to complete it. The work Bezalel was called to do involved quite a considerable amount of expense. Many things were needed, and God provided those needs by touching (stirring) the hearts of His people. There is a principle of giving brought out in the Book of Exodus that would do us all good to reconsider.
Let us consider these Scriptures:
Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying: “Speak to the children of Israel, that they bring Me an offering. From everyone who gives it willingly (“volunteers, to present spontaneously; offer freely” ~ Strong’s) with his heart you shall take My offering” (Exodus 25:1-2 ).
And Moses spoke to all the congregation of the children of Israel, saying, “This is the thing which the Lord commanded, saying: ‘Take from among you an offering to the Lord. Whoever is of a willing heart, let him bring it as an offering to the Lord . . .” (Exodus 35:4-5 ).
And all the congregation departed from the presence of Moses. Then everyone came whose heart was stirred, and everyone whose spirit was willing, and they brought the Lord’s offering for the work of the tabernacle of meeting, for all its service, and for the holy garments. They came, both men and women, as many as had a willing heart . . .”(see Exodus 35:20-29 ).
Notice in these Scriptures God was only wanting willing-hearted offerings; offerings from those whose hearts He had stirred up! Those people were guided by the Lord in their giving! There was no need for “pleadings,” “emotional appeals” or “gimmicks,” to get money “for the work of the Lord” (as we hear so much of today). God does not work that way. If we cannot give unto HIM from our hearts willingly, then He has no need of our money or gifts ~ rather the need is for more of His presence in our lives; there is need of our getting our priorities and motives right. God wants our hearts to know Jesus as Lord more than any money or gifts we can give Him. Let me repeat: There is a need for our priorities to be right in this area of Christianity today. We hear too much the saying, “If only we had the money we could do such and such”! In a sense that could be true ~ but wherever did God’s Word and work fail because there was not enough money (from a Scriptural point of view)? The problem does not lay with the finances. It is either in the realm of guidance, an unwillingness of heart, or the timing is not right.
God’s Word does not lie. His promises never fail ~ so let us see what happened to Bezalel’s ministry as a result of the people offering willingly:
And they received from Moses all the offering which the children of Israel had brought for the work of the service of making the sanctuary. So they continued bringing to him freewill offerings every morning (Exodus 36:3 ).
Then all the craftsmen who were doing all the work of the sanctuary came, each from the work he was doing, and they spoke to Moses, saying, “The people bring much more than enough for the service of the work which the Lord commanded us to do.” So Moses gave a commandment, and they caused it to be proclaimed throughout the camp, saying, “Let neither man nor woman do any more work for the offering of the sanctuary.” And the people were restrained from bringing, for the material they had was sufficient for all the work to be done ~ indeed too much” (Exodus 36:4-7 ).
What a testimony! When God’s people are put on a “guilt trip” to give more money (and sadly, many are), then the blessing of God is lost. (For those who believe in tithing, that can also become a legalistic requirement if it is not done from a free and flowing heart.) But when God’s people were released to function freely from their hearts there was sufficient to fulfil the whole need!Their willing giving enabled the work to be completed! Bezalel made and did all that the Lord commanded Moses (Exodus 38:22 ). He accomplished all that God had asked of him, and without any lack (the people had to be restrained, not constrained)! A great missionary in times past, Hudson Taylor, said this: “God’s work, done in God’s way, will not lack God’s supply.”We need to know this in all reality today. When we are in the service of the King of kings and Lord of lords He certainly does not “send us out to beg” to “keep the work of the Lord going”!! There is quite a difference between trusting a “Faithful God, and in trusting God’s faithful”! Let us go again to the eternal Word of God and be reminded of its promises:
“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want (“want, fail, lessen, decrease, lack, have need, make lower” ~ Strong’s)” (Psalm 23:1 ).
“Oh, fear the Lord, you His saints! There is no want (“lack”) to those who fear Him” (Psalm 34:9 ).
“Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you” (Luke 6:38 ).
Today’s English Version Translation puts Luke 6:38 this way:
“Give to others, and God will give to you. Indeed, you will receive a full measure, a generous helping, poured into your hands ~ all that you can hold. The measure you use for others is the one that God will use for you."
“And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus”(Philippians 4:19 ).
Think about that! This is what The Message Bible says on Philippians 4:19 ~
“You can be sure that God will take care of everything you need, His generosity exceeding even yours in the glory that pours from Jesus.”
“But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work” (see 2 Corinthians 9 ).
“For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world ~ our faith” (1 John 5:4 ).
DO WE BELIEVE WHAT GOD SAYS IN HIS WORD?
These Scriptures still apply to us today. The question is: “Do we believe what God says in His Word?” It is essential that we know the call of God for our lives and seek to fulfil it by His divine guidance.
That does not mean that “the call of God” will not be tested, and that the finances will pour-in like a river at all times. There will be times of real trials and afflictions, and seeming great needs unmet. But these times can be used to press us closer into God so that that which He has called us to gets refined and sharpened to work out better for God’s glory. The ministry He has called us to also is strengthened in those times. In The GFM Ministry we have found that when we are tried and tested (both spiritually and financially) those times have been turned into a heart-searching and a re-examination of our call. Often the reason the finances start drying up is because we are trying to run ahead of the Lord, or we are getting away from that which God has called us to do. Through the trial we are brought back on to the right track.
Let us ever seek to know the guidance of God in our lives, and in our giving ~ for if our guidance is not from the Lord, then our giving is not from the heart; and so much time, money and effort on our part will not bear eternal fruit. God help us all to not let this happen, but rather to always have a heart full of love for His will and work. Amen.