christine's bible study

The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever. Isa 40:8

1 corinthians 6, giving, not grasping

Read 1 Corinthians 6 at Bible Gateway.

Now therefore, it is already an utter failure for you that you go to law against one another. Why do you not rather accept wrong? Why do you not rather let yourselves be cheated? No, you yourselves do wrong and cheat, and you do these things to your brethren! 1 Cor 6:7-8

Paul is here echoing Jesus’ words:

“You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I tell you not to resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. If anyone wants to sue you and take away your tunic, let him have your cloak also. And whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two. Give to him who asks you, and from him who wants to borrow from you do not turn away.” Mat 5:38-42

This generosity of spirit was the way the patriarchs were. After Abraham was promised the Holy Land by God, his herdsmen and Lot’s herdsmen quarreled over pasture. So Abraham, the elder, the family patriarch to whom honor should have been due, told Lot to choose his portion of land first. He did not grasp for his own rights, land, privilege, honor, or anything else. Lot chose the best portion of land to the human eye, the Jordan valley that was green and well watered everywhere like the Garden of Eden. He was looking out for number one (Gen 13:5-11).

Now right after Abraham did this:

“And the LORD said to Abram, after Lot had separated from him: “Lift your eyes now and look from the place where you are—northward, southward, eastward, and westward; for all the land which you see I give to you and your descendants forever. And I will make your descendants as the dust of the earth; so that if a man could number the dust of the earth, then your descendants also could be numbered. Arise, walk in the land through its length and its width, for I give it to you.” Gen 13:14-17

Abraham did not seek his own gain, but trusted in the LORD to fulfill His promise to him, and because he did, the LORD renewed His promise and added to it. Each time Abraham was tested in this way, on the matter of seeking to get his own rights, YHVH renewed His promise to Abraham, and added to it. Read through the book of Genesis and see for yourself.

When Abraham won great spoil by defeating the four kings, he refused to take even a sandal strap, but returned it all to the king of Sodom (Gen 14:21-23). When YHVH asked Isaac of Abraham, Abraham gave (Gen 22). When Isaac was digging wells in the land of the Philistines, every time he hit water, the Philistines took the wells from him. Rather than fight for his own rights, he moved and kept digging wells until he had some that they left him in peace over (Gen 26:18-22)

The hearts of the patriarchs were giving, not grasping. I believe they were this way, because they understood the nature of YHVH, that He who had pronounced the blessing over them was giving and not grasping. They had the heart attitude, that they could afford to be a blessing, because they had already been blessed by God. Abraham was generous with Lot before he had amassed his riches. He was generous with the king of Sodom when he was just beginning to prosper. So his giving heart did not rest on the fact that he already had plenty and to spare. He was that way from the beginning.

That is the way the LORD is with us – when we have His nature dwelling within, we seek the welfare of others first; we seek to give and not grasp!

Now we have the reminder of Jesus, and Paul, that God’s people are this way. They do not seek their own, but they relinquish rights. They give, they do not take. But how many of us, beloved, live that way? That is the question. When Jesus had finished His discourse, in which His instruction to turn the other cheek was a part, He said:

“Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock. But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.” Mat 7:24-27

Let us not be hearers only, but doers, for it is the doer who will have his house(hold) built upon the rock. Seeing from first hand experience that your household, your family, has fallen, because you have not been a doer of the sayings of Jesus (who is the Living Word; His sayings stretch from Gen 1:1 to Rev 22:21), is very painful. No one wants to go there, take it from others who have been there before you and can report back that it is horrific and to be avoided at all costs!

Listen, God honors His Word. He will not abrogate this Word just because we are Christians. If we choose to build our house on rock, then it will withstand storms. If we choose to build our house on sand, it will fall, and great will be its fall. Become doers of the Word, all the Word, Torah included, not picking and choosing, and become imitators of our Father in heaven, who gives to all generously and without reproach!

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