Reading for Today:
2 Corinthians 8:1-24
Isaiah 23:1 Tyre. A Phoenician seaport on the Mediterranean Sea, located about 35 miles north of Mt. Carmel and 28 miles west of Mt. Hermon, Tyre supplied lumber for King Solomon’s temple (1 Kin. 5:1, 7–12) and sailors for his navy (1 Kin. 9:26, 27). laid waste. Tyre was under siege 5 times between this prophecy and 332 B.C. Only the last of these attacks (in 332 B.C., by Alexander the Great) completely leveled and subdued the city. Ezekiel prophesied this destruction in Ezekiel 26:3–27:36.
Isaiah 24:18 windows from on high. In Noah’s day, God judged with a flood (Gen. 7:11). He will judge again from heaven, but not with a flood. Revelation 6:13, 14; 8:3–13; 16:1–21. foundations of the earth. Unparalleled earthquakes will mark the future visitation during and after the fulfillment of Daniel’s 70-week prophecy (13:13; Matt. 24:7; Rev. 6:12, 14; 8:5; 11:19; 16:18).
Isaiah 24:23 moon…disgraced…sun ashamed. In the eternal state after Christ’s millennial reign, the glory of God and of the Lamb will replace the sun and moon as sources of light (Rev. 21:23). reign…in Jerusalem. In Revelation 11:15–17; 19:6, 16 (Luke 1:31–33), John confirmed this clear prophecy of Messiah’s future earthly reign in Jerusalem.
2 Corinthians 8:9 though He was rich. A reference to the eternality and preexistence of Christ. As the Second Person of the Trinity, Christ is as rich as God is rich. He owns everything, and possesses all power, authority, sovereignty, glory, honor, and majesty (Is. 9:6; Mic. 5:2; John 1:1; 8:58; 10:30; 17:5; Col. 1:15–18; 2:9; Heb. 1:3). He became poor. A reference to Christ’s Incarnation (John 1:14; Rom. 1:3; 8:3; Gal. 4:4; Col. 1:20; 1 Tim. 3:16; Heb. 2:7). He laid aside the independent exercise of all His divine prerogatives, left His place with God, took on human form, and died on a cross like a common criminal (Phil. 2:5–8). that you…might become rich. Believers become spiritually rich through the sacrifice and impoverishment of Christ (Phil. 2:5–8).They become rich in salvation, forgiveness, joy, peace, glory, honor, and majesty (1 Cor. 1:4, 5; 3:22; Eph. 1:3; 1 Pet. 1:3, 4). They become joint heirs with Christ (Rom. 8:17).
2 Corinthians 8:12 willing mind. Paul spoke of a readiness and eagerness to give. God is most concerned with the heart attitude of the giver, not the amount he gives (9:7; Mark 12:41–44). according to what one has. Whatever one has is the resource out of which he should give. That is why there are no set amounts or percentages for giving anywhere stated in the New Testament. The implication is that if one has much, he can give much; if he has little, he can give only little (9:6). not according to what he does not have. Believers do not need to go into debt to give nor lower themselves to a poverty level. God never asks believers to impoverish themselves. The Macedonians received a special blessing of grace from God to give the way they did.
DAY 16: How did the Macedonians exemplify freewill giving?
The generosity of the churches of Macedonia that Paul addresses in 2 Corinthians 8:1 was motivated by God’s grace. Paul did not merely commend those churches for a noble human work, but instead gave the credit to God for what He did through them. Paul’s reference was to the churches at Philippi, Thessalonica, and Berea (Acts 17:11). This was basically an impoverished province that had been ravaged by many wars and even then was being plundered by Roman authority and commerce.
In spite of their difficult circumstances, the churches’ joy rose above their pain because of their devotion to the Lord and the causes of His kingdom. It was through the “abundance of their joy” (v. 2) that it was given despite their “deep poverty.” “Poverty” refers to the most severe type of economic deprivation, the kind that caused a person to become a beggar. “Riches of their liberality.” The Greek word for “liberality” can be translated “generosity” or “sincerity.” It is the opposite of duplicity or being double-minded. The Macedonian believers were rich in their single-minded, selfless generosity to God and to others.
In v. 3, Paul highlighted 3 elements of the Macedonians’ giving which summed up the concept of freewill giving: 1) “according to their ability.” Giving is proportionate—God sets no fixed amount or percentage and expects His people to give based on what they have (Luke 6:38; 1 Cor. 16:2); 2) “beyond their ability.” Giving is sacrificial. God’s people are to give according to what they have, yet it must be in proportions that are sacrificial (Matt. 6:25–34; Mark 12:41–44; Phil. 4:19); and 3) “freely willing”—literally “one who chooses his own course of action.” Giving is voluntary—God’s people are not to give out of compulsion, manipulation, or intimidation. Freewill giving has always been God’s plan (9:6; Gen. 4:2–4; 8:20; Ex. 25:1, 2; 35:4, 5, 21, 22; 36:5–7; Num. 18:12; Deut. 16:10, 17; 1 Chr. 29:9; Prov. 3:9, 10; 11:24; Luke 19:1–8). Freewill giving is not to be confused with tithing, which related to the national taxation system of Israel (Lev. 27:30) and is paralleled in the New Testament and the present by paying taxes (Matt. 22:21; Rom. 13:6, 7).
From The MacArthur Daily Bible Copyright © 2003. Used by permission of Thomas Nelson Bibles, a division of Thomas Nelson, Inc, Nashville, TN 37214, www.thomasnelson.com.