As we approach the season of giving, I’m reminded of the ultimate Giver who continues to out-give us all. His very name means “The One who pours out.”
During our first years of marriage my husband and I often tried to out-give each other. Our giving started out with loving intentions, but it didn’t take long for our practice to become foolishly insane. Eventually, we realized that it was the simple day to day giving of ourselves that reaped the greatest relational dividends. Over the years, we developed an ever-deepening appreciation for each other as we increasingly valued the moments we shared.
These lessons came with much struggle. Yet, the joy of daily serving each other in a thousand little ways out measured the futile task of finding the perfect gift to demonstrate inexpressible gratitude.
Around $10 billion flows into charitable donations annually in Canada alone. Thirty percent of those donations occur during the Christmas season. Why? It’s recognition of the Giver, the One who poured out His very best to us all through the Gift of Jesus Christ.
“For God so loved the world
that he gave his one and only Son,
that whoever believes in him shall not perish
but have eternal life.”
That most precious of gifts, generously given by a loving Father to us, His needy children, continues to inspire giving globally. Of course, no monetary giving compares to God’s ultimate gift of salvation through Jesus. Yet, out of gratitude, humanity imitates God’s example becoming givers and thereby meeting the needs of others. Even in this small way, we reflect His compassionate heart.
Adonai, one of the names for God, means “Giver or “One who pours Himself out.” Giving is who He is, not just what He does. It is an attribute of His nature.
“Every good and perfect gift is from above,
coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights,
who does not change like shifting shadows.”
Out-Giving the Giver
David also captured a bit of God’s heart wanting to give something back to Him. David wondered how he could live content in “a house of cedars” (1 Chronicles 17:1) while God inhabited a tent. He wanted to build a house for God to dwell in, giving God the best he could.
Just like in our marriage, the desire to give backfired for David. As soon as he disclosed his aspiration, God turned the tables out-giving David’s greatest intentions. First though, God reminded David of his humble beginnings.
“…I took you from the pasture, from tending the flock,
and appointed you ruler over my people Israel.
I have been with you wherever you have gone,
and I have cut off all your enemies from before you.”
2 Samuel 7:8-9
David’s desire to give reflected God’s own gracious favor. His capacity and opportunity to give originated from the heart of The Giver. In response to David’s intention, God opened His treasure trove of promises offering even more gifts of grace, to not just David but to all his descendants.
“...I will make your name great,
like the names of the greatest men on earth.
And I will provide a place for my people Israel
and will plant them so that they can have
a home of their own and no longer be disturbed…
I will also give you rest from all your enemies…
the LORD himself will establish a house for you…
I will raise up your offspring to succeed you…
And I will establish his kingdom…
I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever…
But my love will never be taken away from him…”
2 Samuel 7:9-16
Can you imagine how David felt in that moment? His intended gift to God held no comparison to what God now presented back to him. Immediately, David sensed an even greater awe and reverence for the God he thought he knew.
“Then King David went in and sat before the LORD…”
2 Samuel 7:18
Something became more intimate about their relationship. Deeper revelation of the Giver above all givers permeated that moment. Seven times in the next ten verses David refers to God as “Sovereign LORD” — Adonai Jehovah, the One who continually pours Himself out to the unworthy and undeserving.
I’ve experienced brief encounters with God, coming into His presence for no purpose other than to offer my little in worship to Him. Consistently, He turns the tables and lavishes upon me such a sense of His favor and grace it has left me in a weeping heap — speechless and helpless.
Though undefinable, something supernatural triggers a divine flow through even our limited imitation of the heart of The Giver. He sweeps in with “love that will never be taken away.” He plants us secure in Him “no longer disturbed” as He welcomes us to come and sit close. Over and over again, God gives us the gift of His Presence!
Adonai Jehovah speaks first of relationship, either as Master and servant, or as Husband and wife. Both a slave and a wife in biblical times were “not their own,” but rather bought with a price. Whether voluntarily or involuntarily they became the property of their lord, fully dependent upon His faithfulness. But the Master made the first move through covenant willingly pledging Himself to sustain, keep and provide.
Paul and the other apostles considered it the highest honor to be known as a servant of the Lord, their beloved. In the Old Testament, Adonai Jehovah, signified a person’s hope in every weakness and encouragement in times of great struggle. God’s covenant presence guaranteed security and favor.
When everything around Isaiah seemed to have reached its darkest most desperate level, he says,
“In the year that King Uzziah died,
I saw the LORD (Adonai),
high and exalted, seated on a throne;
and the train of his robe filled the temple.”
In times of despair, Adonai comes giving Himself in the most intimate of communion with His people.
“For your Maker is your husband —
the LORD Almighty is his name —
the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer;
he is called the God of all the earth.”
The images of God’s loving care to his bride abound throughout the Bible, lavishly providing for her, extending all He is and has for her benefit.
Just as the Lord loved us and gave Himself to us, He desires that we now give ourselves to Him. This personal relationship between the Giver and His people flows with intimate and mutual confidence.
“They that know His name will put their trust in HIm.
And they that trust in Him shall never be confounded.”
– Andrew Jukes
Adonai came to humanity over two thousand years ago, pouring Himself out in complete servanthood — through life and death — that we might give ourselves back to Him. The best and greatest Gift has already been given. In receiving Him, we, like David, enter a new sense of reverence and ever deepening fellowship with Him.
Adonai, the Giver, pours Himself out to a world in need of The Gift that all earth’s riches could never purchase. In both the giving and receiving resides great joy.