Generous Giving

Whoever gives to the poor will not want, but he who hides his eyes will get many a curse.”

- Proverbs 28:27

Dr. R.C. Sproul has frequently commented on the distinction between believing in God and believing God. His point is that in many respects, it is easy to believe that the Lord exists and to believe in what both nature and Scripture tell us about His attributes. There is so much evidence for our Creator from both of these sources of divine revelation that we must exert tremendous effort to deny what we know to be true about God. When it comes to our daily trials, however, actually believing that the Lord will do what He has promised is more difficult for us. We are tempted to walk by sight and not by faith, and even the most faithful among us has had doubts that the Lord will do what He has said He will do.

This should not be, for the same Bible that we trust to tell us truths about God also assures us that the Lord will be faithful to what He has pledged. He has said that He will save all who call upon the name of Jesus (Acts 2:21). Furthermore, God has sworn to keep all of His promises to give Abraham many descendants and a good land (Gen. 15; Heb. 6:13–20), and He has pledged to supply our needs as we are generous with what He has given us (2 Cor. 9:10–11).

Today’s passage expresses our generosity and trust in God’s provision in proverbial form. Although the Lord is not mentioned specifically in the verse, the immediate context of Proverbs 28:27 gives us ample reason to infer that His presence is assumed in the proverb. After all, verse 25 speaks of trusting in the Lord, which is the characteristic of the person who stands in antithesis to the “greedy man” who “stirs up strife.” Verse 27 speaks of generosity, which is the opposite of greed, so we understand that the person who is generous with his money is generous because He trusts in the Lord. In other words, he feels free to give to the poor because he knows that God will reward this generosity and meet his needs. The generous person will not lack the necessities of life.

On the other hand, the one who “hides his eyes”—ignores the plight of the poor—will suffer “many a curse” (v. 27). Those who are not generous and who do not help, insofar as they are able, those who are truly in need reveal hearts that do not really trust in God to provide for them. They hold their money back because they believe it is up to them to guarantee that they will have everything they need. Such people are cursed because they are trusting in themselves, not in the Lord.

Coram Deo

Many pastors and teachers have suggested that we take a look at our checkbooks and bank statements for a true measure of where our trust lies. If we cannot find evidence of generous giving to the kingdom of God and those who are truly in need, we may be lacking the trust in the Lord that we profess. Let us strive to be generous with what we have, trusting in God to supply our every need.

Passages for Further Study

Psalm 37:21–26
Proverbs 14:21, 31; 19:17; 28:8
Philippians 4:14–20

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