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Proverbs (Part 030) - Pro 3:10

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10. Pro 3:10 - "So shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine."

A. The previous verse gave the commandment; this one gives the reward for obeying it.
i. When we honour the LORD with our substance, God will make it to increase, filling our barns with plenty.
ii. If we give the firstfruits of all our increase to God, our presses will be overflowing with new wine.

B. It is not hard for the carnal mind to understand that if seed is taken from the storehouse and sown in the earth it is not wasted, but rather is put to profitable use and will return more than was spent.
i. But the reasoning of fallen men would conclude that what is given to God and His work in the earth is lost.
ii. Faith, on the other hand, understands that, like the earth, God returns what was given to Him with dividends (2Co 9:6).
iii. Those that scatter will increase, but those that withhold more than is meet will tend to poverty (Pro 11:24).
iv. When we give to the poor, we lend to the Lord who repays us generously (Pro 19:17).

C. How does God return gifts that are given to Him?
i. If one is a farmer, it's easy to imagine how God could send good weather and sufficient rain to boost the yield of the crop.
ii. If a Christian works for a corporation, it shouldn't be hard for him to believe that God could move him up the corporate ladder or open up an opportunity for a better job elsewhere (Psa 75:6-7).
iii. If one is self-employed, it would be no stretch to envision the LORD sending more business prospects his way.
iv. If a man is going through hard times, the LORD can always prompt other generous people to give liberally to him in his time of need (Luk 6:38).
v. Whatever the situation, it would take no effort on the LORD's behalf to prosper the man who faithfully gives unto Him, for "with God nothing shall be impossible" (Luk 1:37).

D. What then holds back Christians from experiencing the blessing of God which comes as a result of giving to Him?
i. Given the facts from scripture which have been covered so far, I have to conclude that those who don't give their firstfruits to God do so for one of three reasons:
a. They don't believe God's promises to bless them if they give to Him and curse them if they don't.
b. They hate material wealth, and therefore don't give to the Lord to ensure that He will not bless them financially.
c. They are stupid. They believe that God will keep His promises to bless them, but they decide not give to Him anyway.
ii. Of these three possibilities, only one is could possibly to true for the vast majority of Christians.
a. Very few Christians are stupid enough to not give to God if they believe that He will bless them with abundance for it.
b. Almost nobody hates material wealth, and therefore would intentionally not give to God to ensure that He does not bless them.
c. That only leaves one possibility: they simply do not believe what God says.
(i) If someone with the means to do so and the character to keep his word promised to give you a guaranteed high return on investment on a portion of your income that you loaned to him, any man that believed him (and is not an idiot) would certainly do it.
(ii) The only reason for not investing with such a man would be if you did not trust him to keep his word and deliver on the high return he promised.
(iii) Therefore, to the extent that a Christian does not give to the Lord his firstfruits, he is an unbeliever to that extent.
iii. It's impossible to please God without believing that He is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him (Heb 11:6).
iv. Such faithless Christians just don't believe that God will honour His word and prosper them if they give unto Him.
v. If they believed God's word, they would certainly give unto Him with a full expectation that the promised blessing would follow.

E. In the Old Testament, the LORD offered Israel a challenge.
i. They had not been giving Him their tithes and offerings that were required in those days (Mal 3:8-9).
ii. God told them to prove Him by bringing in their tithes and then wait and see if they were not overwhelmed with blessings from Him (Mal 3:10-12).

F. God's nature and His faithfulness do not change (Mal 3:6).
i. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Heb 13:8).
ii. If Christians would obey Jesus' commandment and "seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things [material needs] shall be added unto [them]" (Mat 6:33).
iii. Israel experienced this very thing in the days of king Hezekiah (2Ch 31:10).
iv. If a child of God by faith takes God's challenge to Israel and proves Him, he should not be surprised when God makes good on His word and "[his] barns be filled with plenty, and [his] presses shall burst out with new wine."

G. A caveat

i. While God will ultimately bless and prosper those who give to Him, He also from time to time tests our faith (Jam 1:2-4; Heb 11:17-19).
ii. God put Israel through deprivation to prove them, to see if they would keep His commandments, and to make them remember that it is He who gives wealth (Deut 8:2-3, 16-18).

iii. Paul said that he had learned how to be abased and how to abound (Php 4:11-12).
a. I likewise have gone through seasons of abasement and abundance in my life.
b. I know how to abound.
(i) From the time I graduated high school until I went into the ministry 13 years later, I continually and consistently abounded financially.
(ii) I gave the Lord the firstfruits of all my income since the day I was baptized in 2005 (and for a while before that).
(iii) The Lord filled my barns with plenty and my presses burst out with new wine during that time.
c. I also know how to be abased.
(i) Since going into the ministry, I have learned how to be abased.
(ii) But even after entering the ministry, I had seasons where I had continual increase for a while.
d. Much of the abasement that I have experienced in my life is due to the choices that I have made based on my principles.
(i) I obeyed the call to enter the ministry, knowing that it would result in an enormous drop in income (Pro 13:7).
(ii) I worked low paying part time jobs while in the ministry instead of a high paying full time professional job so that I would have time to do the work of the ministry.
(iii) I had people excluded from the church on different occasions knowing that it would significantly diminish my income.
(iv) There were other decisions I made in my previous church that cost me significantly financially.
(v) I chose to resign from pastoring my previous church to move down here to pastor this church knowing that it would significantly diminish my income (again).
(vi) I choose to have my wife stay at home and be a homemaker because of my convictions.
(vii) I refuse to take any government aid (housing, food, healthcare, etc.) because of my principles.
(viii) I refuse to get healthcare subsidies (Obamacare/Trumpcare, Medicaid) from the government because of my principles.
(ix) I choose not to use the VA for my healthcare because of my principles.
(x) I choose to use Christian Healthcare Ministries instead of health insurance which results in me paying for most of my healthcare out of pocket.
(xi) These are my principles and convictions.
1. I'm not trying to push them on you.
2. I tell you these things because I am supposed to be an example (1Ti 4:12; 2Ti 3:10-11).
3. I invite you to consider them and inquire as to why I hold them if you are interested.
e. Through all of the hard times, I have always given the Lord the firstfruits of all my increase, no matter how bad things were.
f. Though I have been through difficult financial times on more than one occasion, the Lord has always come through in amazing ways and taken care of me and provided for my needs.
g. It has been an incredible thing to witness.

iv. So don't assume that giving to God is like purchasing a winning lottery ticket every time.
v. There may be times that God will put you through financial hardship, either because of your own foolish choices (Pro 21:20), or because He wants to prove your faith.
vi. But He will ultimately provide for your needs and bless you if you trust Him and give to Him your firstfruits (Php 4:19; Psa 37:25; Pro 3:9-10).