The Gifts of God
One often hears the expression: “You can’t out-give God.” This is certainly a true statement. He is generous beyond degree and lavishes gifts on all people, especially those who belong to Christ. Such generosity finds its root in His love. Many of God’s gifts are easily seen: rain, snow, sunshine, plants, animals, food, rainbows, sunsets and sunrises, cool breezes, family, marriage, children, friends, a job, etc. Beyond things such as these we have the incomparable gift of the Holy Scriptures in which truth and wisdom are found and which tell us of the grand epic which God is working out on the earth. The gift of the Holy Spirit is well beyond our comprehension. And, of course, Jesus the Christ of God stands remarkably at the center of it all. We praise God for His priceless gifts.
On the other hand, there are the “gifts” of God which are not so easily discerned. In fact, sometimes we do not see them as gifts at all but as nothing but trouble. Let’s consider our scripture. Israel had become a wayward nation: moral depravity, oppression of the poor, injustices all around, false and hollow worship. She was far removed from what the Lord wanted her to be. So He sent some “gifts” designed to bring her to repentance and back to Him.
There was the gift of famine (v 6). If Israel had an empty stomach would she return to God to be filled? He sent the gift of drought (vv 7-8). If Israel became truly thirsty, would she look to the Lord to give her drink? There were the gifts of blight, mildew and caterpillars (v 9) upon their gardens and orchards. Would Israel realize that it was their God who kept such things away? There was plague, war and destruction (vv 10-11), but even these gifts from the Lord were not seen by Israel as good things to cause them to return to the Lord their God.
So remember the diverseness of the gifts of God. If we begin to wander from His ways, straying away from Him, and set up idols in our hearts, God will send “gifts” designed to bring us back to Him. Let us see such gifts truly as the gifts which they are.