Job 38 & 2 Corinthians 8

Job 38

    Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind and said:

    “Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge?
    Dress for action like a man;
        I will question you, and you make it known to me.
    “Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?
        Tell me, if you have understanding.
    Who determined its measurements—surely you know!
        Or who stretched the line upon it?
    On what were its bases sunk,
        or who laid its cornerstone,
    when the morning stars sang together
        and all the sons of God shouted for joy?
    “Or who shut in the sea with doors
        when it burst out from the womb,
    when I made clouds its garment
        and thick darkness its swaddling band,
    and prescribed limits for it
        and set bars and doors,
    and said, ‘Thus far shall you come, and no farther,
        and here shall your proud waves be stayed’?
    “Have you commanded the morning since your days began,
        and caused the dawn to know its place,
    that it might take hold of the skirts of the earth,
        and the wicked be shaken out of it?
    It is changed like clay under the seal,
        and its features stand out like a garment.
    From the wicked their light is withheld,
        and their uplifted arm is broken.
    “Have you entered into the springs of the sea,
        or walked in the recesses of the deep?
    Have the gates of death been revealed to you,
        or have you seen the gates of deep darkness?
    Have you comprehended the expanse of the earth?
        Declare, if you know all this.
    “Where is the way to the dwelling of light,
        and where is the place of darkness,
    that you may take it to its territory
        and that you may discern the paths to its home?
    You know, for you were born then,
        and the number of your days is great!
    “Have you entered the storehouses of the snow,
        or have you seen the storehouses of the hail,
    which I have reserved for the time of trouble,
        for the day of battle and war?
    What is the way to the place where the light is distributed,
        or where the east wind is scattered upon the earth?
    “Who has cleft a channel for the torrents of rain
        and a way for the thunderbolt,
    to bring rain on a land where no man is,
        on the desert in which there is no man,
    to satisfy the waste and desolate land,
        and to make the ground sprout with grass?
    “Has the rain a father,
        or who has begotten the drops of dew?
    From whose womb did the ice come forth,
        and who has given birth to the frost of heaven?
    The waters become hard like stone,
        and the face of the deep is frozen.
    “Can you bind the chains of the Pleiades
        or loose the cords of Orion?
    Can you lead forth the Mazzaroth in their season,
        or can you guide the Bear with its children?
    Do you know the ordinances of the heavens?
        Can you establish their rule on the earth?
    “Can you lift up your voice to the clouds,
        that a flood of waters may cover you?
    Can you send forth lightnings, that they may go
        and say to you, ‘Here we are’?
    Who has put wisdom in the inward parts
        or given understanding to the mind?
    Who can number the clouds by wisdom?
        Or who can tilt the waterskins of the heavens,
    when the dust runs into a mass
        and the clods stick fast together?
    “Can you hunt the prey for the lion,
        or satisfy the appetite of the young lions,
    when they crouch in their dens
        or lie in wait in their thicket?
    Who provides for the raven its prey,
        when its young ones cry to God for help,
        and wander about for lack of food?

(Job 38 ESV)

2 Corinthians 8

    We want you to know, brothers, about the grace of God that has been given among the churches of Macedonia, for in a severe test of affliction, their abundance of joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part. For they gave according to their means, as I can testify, and beyond their means, of their own accord, begging us earnestly for the favor of taking part in the relief of the saints—and this, not as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then by the will of God to us. Accordingly, we urged Titus that as he had started, so he should complete among you this act of grace. But as you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in all earnestness, and in our love for you—see that you excel in this act of grace also.

    I say this not as a command, but to prove by the earnestness of others that your love also is genuine. For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich. And in this matter I give my judgment: this benefits you, who a year ago started not only to do this work but also to desire to do it. So now finish doing it as well, so that your readiness in desiring it may be matched by your completing it out of what you have. For if the readiness is there, it is acceptable according to what a person has, not according to what he does not have. For I do not mean that others should be eased and you burdened, but that as a matter of fairness your abundance at the present time should supply their need, so that their abundance may supply your need, that there may be fairness. As it is written, “Whoever gathered much had nothing left over, and whoever gathered little had no lack.”

    But thanks be to God, who put into the heart of Titus the same earnest care I have for you. For he not only accepted our appeal, but being himself very earnest he is going to you of his own accord. With him we are sending the brother who is famous among all the churches for his preaching of the gospel. And not only that, but he has been appointed by the churches to travel with us as we carry out this act of grace that is being ministered by us, for the glory of the Lord himself and to show our good will. We take this course so that no one should blame us about this generous gift that is being administered by us, for we aim at what is honorable not only in the Lord's sight but also in the sight of man. And with them we are sending our brother whom we have often tested and found earnest in many matters, but who is now more earnest than ever because of his great confidence in you. As for Titus, he is my partner and fellow worker for your benefit. And as for our brothers, they are messengers of the churches, the glory of Christ. So give proof before the churches of your love and of our boasting about you to these men.

(2 Corinthians 8 ESV)

2 Corinthians 8: Many of us today look at the Old Testament principle of tithing (giving 10% of your income to support ministry work), and we attempt to figure out what this means for us as the people of God today. For many of us, giving away one-tenth of our gross annual income could be a significant amount of money. Therefore, we must ask ourselves, “Should we as Christians still look to carry out this principle today?”

The apostle Paul gives us a plain and yet eloquent reminder of the gospel that ought to directly influence our thoughts on giving. He writes,

“For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich.”

In the Incarnation and crucifixion of Christ, we see the standard of sacrificial giving shattered beyond measure. In stripping Himself of His Trinitarian status and giving His life as a ransom for us, our Lord set a new standard of giving that ought to be the lifeblood of His body the church. In light of the cross, it’s hard to image that God now expects His New Testament people to give any less than the one-tenth measure of His Old Testament people. The cross shouldn’t lead God’s people to feel free to give less. The cross should lead God’s people to freely and faithfully give more.