What Will You Give Me?
Gen. 15:1 After these things the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision, saying, "Do not be afraid, Abram. I am …your exceedingly great reward." 2 But Abram said, "Lord God, what will You give me, seeing I go childless,…?" (NKJV)
Jn. 15:5 I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. (NKJV)
Mt. 6:19 "Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; 24 "No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon. 25 "Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on….32 For after all these things the Gentiles seek….33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. (NKJV)
1 Pt. 1:18 knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot. 20 He indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world…, Rev. 13:8 … the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. (NKJV)
For those of us struggling with the consciousness of lack of money, the Lord has a remedy. As economic times worsen and the credit system threatens to devour what remains of earthly finances, the Father would minister the following word.
By now we are all painfully aware of Jesus’ clear exhortation that we are not to live under domination of the consciousness of the need for money. We are familiar with the uncompromising choice presented us in Matthew 6. We can only serve one consciousness. We can either be dominated by the awareness of the need for money, or by the awareness of our devotion to God.
This is subtly hinted at again in His closing discourse to the disciples before the cross. He says to them, “Without Me you can do nothing.” Contrast this of course to the world’s motto, “Without money you can do nothing.” And of course, how many church leaders have we also heard echo the latter mantra.
Some time ago, I heard a good message from Art Nuernberg director of Evangelical Institute in Greenville, South Carolina. He observed that when Jesus finally departed His disciples after commissioning them to become the church, He left them equipped with only two things: prayer and the Holy Spirit. Notably, He didn’t leave them any money. That message continues to resonate within me as I write this to you.
The problem is that to function in this world, one obviously “needs” money. One cannot buy and sell life’s necessities, including those for the executing of kingdom ministry functions, without money. Even Jesus commonly acknowledged the need to use money to buy things:
Jn. 6:5 Then Jesus lifted up His eyes, and seeing a great multitude coming toward Him, He said to Philip, "Where shall we buy bread, that these may eat?"…29 For some thought, because Judas had the money box, that Jesus had said to him, "Buy those things we need for the feast…"
So Jesus was not saying we are not to use or have any sense of the need of money to do business. Yet the need for money is not to be focal to our awareness. He rather is to be focal. Trusting in the Spirit and living by prayer is to be focal.
But how does this work? How do we walk in the daily need of money without focusing on that need in coming to God in prayer? How do we successfully divert our attention from money when faced with any lack of it for conducting life and executing ministry—especially chronic lack?
Abrahams’ Question and Our Need for Money
When coming to the Father about promised yet lacking financial support and provision, in essence, we are asking like Abraham, “What will you give me?” We are applying Abraham’s question to our need for finances. But we need more context:
God made a promise to Abraham. This was the promise that He would become a great nation. After some time, assumably a period of years, Abraham still having no child asks, “What will you give me seeing I go childless?” He wants to know how God intends to fulfill this promise.
Similarly, we have a promise from God. It is that all our needs will be met. “All these things shall be added to you.” What things? “All these things that the Gentiles seek.” This includes all the things of food, clothing, housing—whatever the Gentiles find necessary to obtain by means of money in context of their society. Those same things God has promised to give us. The implication is not that those “things” will come miraculously necessarily, but that if money is required, it will be there for us.
But like Abraham, we—still without money—find ourselves asking, “What will you give me seeing I still have no cash with which to buy the things necessary to live and to do your work as promised?”
God’s Offer of Himself Ahead of Abraham’s Question
But wait. There’s still more to the context we haven’t seen. Before Abraham asks the Lord, “What will you give me, seeing I am still childless?”, the Lord says something. He says to Abraham, “I AM your exceedingly great reward.” The Lord is really saying, “I am everything to you. I AM the fulfillment of what I have promised you.”
In light of this, what Abraham is really asking is this, “Since YOU are my great reward, what will You give me of YOURSELF, seeing I go childless?”
In other words, “What and how will you give me of Yourself to fulfil this promise of a child?”
Indeed, after yet many more years, we learn that in order for Abraham to have his own child according to the promise, God had to literally give Abraham something of “Himself”—His own Life—within Abraham’s body because Abraham’s body was as good as dead (Heb. 11:12), and he was not capable of fathering a child by that time. God waited until it was impossible for Abraham to naturally father a child before giving into Abraham’s body “something of Himself” by which the promised child could be conceived.
This accords with our parallel question to Abraham’s. As God told Abraham “I AM your great reward,” so has He said to us. And thus, when we look at God’s promise of monetary provision, and we know that He has said that HE is our great reward, we have to ask Abrahams’ question in the same context:
“What will you give me of YOURSELF seeing I am still poverty stricken and can’t pay my bills? I’m not seeing the promise fulfilled that all these things the Gentiles seek directly by money would be added to me by my seeking YOU alone. I’m not seeing the promise that without YOU I can do nothing, instead of without money I can do nothing. Even with You I still seem unable to do anything! ”
Again, let’s remember. When Jesus departed from the disciples, He left them only the Holy Spirit and prayer. Yet He knew they would need money. But He didn’t leave them any. Somehow He expected that leaving them the Holy Spirit and prayer would be enough to produce whatever money would otherwise be needed. Again to be clear, it’s not that He expected they would not need money—as if by prayer and the Holy Spirit all their needs would just appear from the sky as heavenly barter. His earlier ministry already had them using money for their needs and expenses.
The expectation really was that by prayer and the Holy Spirit, together with the recent fresh exhortation in the Upper Room that “without ME you can do nothing,” the disciples would be able to obtain whatever they needed including finances by accessing something of HIMSELF—because HE was their great reward—and therefore by seeking HIM, everything else the Gentiles already sought by money and for which they themselves would need money would be added to them.
If we carry the end of the Abrahamic story into this, we can conclude that by the time HE would be ready to fulfil this promise of adding all things to us, God might bring us to the point where it was impossible for us to even work anymore to earn our own money because we are too old or sick. Or perhaps He might crash our economy so that no jobs are available or the possibility of starting a business. Why He might even first lead us into a humiliating situation of indebtedness before fulfilling this promise of “adding all these things.” And in all these extreme cases, like Abraham, it would be necessary for God to literally give us something of Himself by His Holy Spirit by which alone would enable us to come into the finances promised by seeking Him alone.
[Note: This is very important to grasp because the promise of provision in Matthew 6 creates an expectation of immediate fulfillment in all circumstances, leading to perpetual frustration by its seeming failure in our lives. This promise, like all divine promises, is subject to the outworking of a divine purpose that usually includes initial delay and an appearance of failure to deliver. There has to be a good reason why so many who seek to live a life based in the financial promise of Matthew 6 still often struggle with finances.]
What of Himself Does God Offer?
If we’ve gotten this far, the next thing we find ourselves asking is, “Well what would be the nature of that something of HIMSELF that God would or could give us by the end to fulfil His promises of provision? How or what does He give us ‘of HIMSELF’”
I believe there is an answer to this. That answer is given to us by Peter. The substance of which God would give of HIMSELF to us is a substance we are familiar with, but which we do not tend to think has any application to our concrete needs in this life. That substance is nothing other than the Blood of Christ.
Stay with me here. This is important. It will open our eyes to something we have not really seen before.
Normally, when we think about the blood of Christ and its application, we think of it only in terms of the forgiveness and cleansing of our sins. Or we might extend it to think of its place in physical healing as well. We have all heard, “By His stripes we are healed.” So, for our sins and for our healing, we definitely say that Jesus’ blood has “paid it all.”
But if we look at 1 Peter 1:18-20, we find two things of vital interest to us here. The first is that the blood is specifically contrasted to gold and silver in meeting our need for redemption. This accords with Matthew 6 that we have to choose between God and money; Gen. 15 that God (not money) is our great reward; and John 15 that without Christ (not without money) we can do nothing. (Note also that when Jesus said we could do nothing without Him, it was contexted in abiding in Him as the vine, which is a picture of His blood.)
But more than this, it is the blood that actually has paid in advance for not only sins, but for all the effects of a fallen world because of sin! Note what Peter says. He says that we are redeemed with the blood of Christ from before the foundation of the world. This means that before the world fell, its fall was already paid for! It was as they say “paid forward.”
Again think this through. The question is, “Why is there any need for money at all in the world?” And for that matter, “Why is there any need at all in the world?” The answer is, because of sin. If there had been no sin, there would have been no need. All the wants we suffer in this life are due to sin. Specifically in purview of this article, all the earthly needs for which money is needed exist only because sin entered the world to produce death. If there had been no sin, there would have been no need, and hence no need for money to supply those needs economically resulting from the sweat of everyone’s brow from the miner who mines the gold and silver to the evil banker who lends at usury money and credit created out of thin air.
Does this make sense to you?
The Blood Commodity That “Paid It All” Forward
What it means therefore is that the blood of Jesus paid forward before the fall of the world both all the sin in the world and therefore all the effects of sin in the world including all need, and by extension, the need for gold or silver or mammon of any sort.
When seen in this light, the blood of Christ becomes hands down the most precious commodity in the universe. It’s value predates and surpasses that of gold and silver or any other medium of exchange extant to supply earthly need due to sin.
So what is this precious blood then? This blood proves to be the very substance of HIMSELF that God gives to Abraham and in turn to us in response to our question, “What will you give me of YOURSELF, seeing that…..(you fill in the blank of the need)?”
All this gives new meaning to the hymn, Jesus Paid It All. The blood of Jesus paid for our needs and our debts long before we ever had any needs or debts, as well as for our sins and our sicknesses. He was slain before there was need or indebtedness.
Now we further see what Peter was talking about when He said, “You were …redeemed … from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers…” What is this “aimless conduct?” It is the same conduct Jesus said we are delivered from in Matthew 6, namely, the aimless search for earthly wealth in answer to our life’s earthly needs. What is it that the world is aimlessly searching for as taught and handed down from the generations? It is how to make money!
The quest and ambition to make money to fulfil our earthly needs is an aimless search in itself. Does that mean we no longer have any need or that money is unnecessary to that need? Not at all. We have already proved that Jesus allows for the need for money. But what it does mean is that we have been redeemed to participate in a higher search by which the needs of this life—and the attendant money to procure their fulfillment—are to be added unto us. That higher search is for that something of God Himself for which we are to directly ask. And that something is the blood of Christ that prepaid all our need and human economy under the fallen order.
Does that seem strange to us? It certainly is to the natural mind. “You want me to ask God for more of His blood to pay for all my bills?”
Yes. That is what we are to ask for. This is the practical meaning of all this. We are to ask God for more of Himself, which means more of His Son’s blood already shed for the sins and hence the needs of mankind from before all time.
Praying for the Heavenly Foreign Currency Exchange
We have said that the blood of Christ is more precious than any earthly commodity or currency. As the most precious commodity of the universe, the blood of Christ is a currency all of its own. It is a foreign currency to any of the currencies of the earth.
In praying for the blood of Christ to meet our earthly needs, what we are really praying for is a heavenly foreign currency exchange! When you go to another country, you have to trade in your own national currency to obtain the currency of that country if you want to buy and sell in that country.
The same thing is true if you want the Lord to pay your bills on earth. The Lord doesn’t deal directly in dollars or euros or pounds or francs or yen. He doesn’t even deal directly in gold or silver or any earthly commodity. He only deals in the blood of Christ. What this means is that if we want to gain His heavenly ear regarding our earthly needs, we have to translate our requests from measure in earthly currency (ie,. money) to measure in the blood of Christ (HIMSELF). We need to move from asking him for the “money” to asking Him for the blood of Christ needed to pay the earthly equivalent for that need.
I believe this asking for the applying of the blood to pay our earthly needs and debts fulfills all the criteria necessary to practically resolve the paradoxical tension between knowing we are supposed to love God alone free from “money consciousness,” yet knowing we have to come to Him about our financial needs and take up His promise to add all these things to us. Loving God instead of money doesn’t mean we are expected to lose all consciousness of our earthly need under mortality. Loving God means that we can somehow come to Him about our financial needs, yet without directly begging Him for money!
The solution to the conundrum of coming to the Lord about His promise to meet financial need without begging Him for money is to lay our request out to him in terms of the blood of Christ. That is the only currency He recognizes. Having said that, I think we are getting closer to understanding the nature of what we have earlier called “glorex,” the heavenly medium of exchange that will replace money when the heavenly economy finally comes to earth. Intrinsic to that precious substance will be the blood of Christ. And we are also coming into a greater understanding of what the stewardship salvation we have already written about will entail. When stewardship salvation has fully come, it will be marked by our ability to serve as perfect foreign currency exchange agents between heaven and earth. I think there may be no simpler way to describe it.
Bringing Financial Need Before the Throne in Difficult Times
What should we be doing then with our ongoing consciousness of financial needs? We should be crying out the Father for more of the blood of Christ to pay for our upkeep in this world, and to relieve us from financial indebtedness. In so doing, we simply need to let him convert that request into the “dollars and cents” necessary here below to fulfil His promise to meet our needs. As we do this, we will be saved from our enslavement of consciousness to money.
Why do we need to know this? It’s because God wants us to have a solid way to approach Him as the economic situations continue to deteriorate and the currencies of the world suffer decimation as never before. If we haven’t been financially touched already by what is happening, we will be. We are about to lose our accustomed access to money as we know it worldwide. And we will need to know how to reach out to the Father and what to ask Him for when that happens.
Asking for more of the blood of Christ will become the literal lifeline for us to sustaining life on the earth in the days that are ahead. Start practicing how you ask Him now. And now that we know what we need to ask for in coming to the Lord over our earthly financial needs toward the fulfillment of His promises, we will no longer need to ask,
“What will you give me?”
First Love Ministry
- a ministry of Anglemar Fellowship
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Page created August 16, 2014