I love 2 Samuel 7 because it debunks one of the greatest misconceptions Christians have about money, and that is that we give money because God is in need.
Our God is not a weak, poor God who needs stuff. He made everything with a word. He has a limitless supply of resources. He has no needs; he’s never had one. And even if he did have one, he wouldn’t come to us with it! Look at Psalm 50:12-15:
“If I were hungry, I would not tell you, for the world and all its fullness are mine. Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving, and perform your vows (your obligations) to the Most High. And call upon Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you will glorify Me.”
See what God says there? “I wouldn’t come to you if I had a need; I could create a whole universe full of ‘yous’ if I wanted.” What God wants from us is an offering of thanksgiving for what he’s done for us. He wants us to sit in stunned awe at how great his salvation is and to respond appropriately.
I cannot stress this enough: God does not need our money. But there are also 3 aspects of David’s response that are worthy of our emulation.
1. Eternal investment
David wanted to leverage his money for God’s eternal kingdom, and God said that was a good thing, because David realized that what God was building on earth was more important than what David was building. David did not give to God because God was in need, but because he wanted to leverage his earthly resources for God’s eternal kingdom.
Randy Alcorn, in one of the most formative books I’ve ever read on money, The Treasure Principle, puts it this way: “Financial planners tell us, ‘When it comes to your money, don’t think just three months or three years ahead. Think thirty years ahead.’ Christ, the ultimate investment counselor, takes it further. He says, ‘Don’t ask how your investment will be paying off in just thirty years. Ask how it will be paying off in thirty million years.’”
2. Offerings of gratefulness
David saw all that God had done for him and he wanted to give in response. When he went to set up the plot of land the temple would be built on, he insisted on buying it, even though the owner wanted to give it to David for free. David said, “I will not give unto the Lord my God that which cost me nothing” (2 Sam 24:24). David insisted on paying because he knew the issue was not providing a need (the field would be provided either way), but was the statement the gift made about David’s heart.
There are some gifts that are valuable for the good they can do in the world, and some gifts that are priceless for the statement they make about the heart of the giver and the value of the God they serve.
If David was grateful to God because of what he’d seen God do, how much more should we be grateful to God? David was blessed with a temple, but we have been blessed with Jesus, the true temple whose flesh was torn so that we could enter the presence of God.
Does that not that do something to your heart? Do you not want to pour yourself out for him in gratitude? Or if we looked at your gifts over the last year, what would they say about how you feel about God, about his worth to you?
3. Obedience to God’s Spirit
David did with his money exactly what God instructed of him. This is an overlooked element in giving—the involvement of the Holy Spirit. When you look at a lot of the biblical stories about giving, you find statements like, “God stirred up so-and-so’s heart to give” (Exod 36, 2 Cor 9). Giving is supposed to be a Spirit-thing, a Spirit-driven thing, in which the Spirit moves in your heart and you listen to him and obey as he directs.
I sometimes think the reason a lot of us don’t know what to give God is because we’ve simply never asked him what he wants us to give. Have you?