Abundance, Abundant

Jesus[1]

* Definition of abundance, abundant

The meaning of abundance and abundant: great quantity, affluence; more than ample.

* Don’t forget God in your abundance

In times of plenty, abundance, we often take credit for our prosperity and become proud that our own hard work and cleverness have made us rich.  It is easy to get so busy collecting and managing wealth that we push God right out of our lives.  But it is God who gives us everything we have, abundance, and it is God who asks us to manage it for him. (NLT)

Deuteronomy 8:11-20 – “But that is the time to be careful!  Beware that in your plenty you do not forget the Lord your God and disobey his commands, regulations, and laws.  For when you have become full and prosperous and have built fine homes to live in, and when your flocks and herds have become very large and your silver and gold have multiplied along with everything else, that is the time to be careful.  Do not become proud at that time and forget the Lord your God, who rescued you from slavery in the land of Egypt.  Do not forget that he held you through the great and terrifying wilderness with poisonous snakes and scorpions, where it was so hot and dry.  He gave you water from the rock!  He fed you with manna in the wilderness, a food unknown to your ancestors.  He did this to humble you and test you for your own good.  He did it so you would never think that it was your own strength and energy that made you wealthy.  Always remember that it is the Lord your God who gives you power to become rich, and he does it to fulfill the covenant he made with your ancestors.

“But I assure you of this: If you ever forget the Lord your God and follow other gods, worshiping and bowing down to them, you will certainly be destroyed.  Just as the Lord has destroyed other nations in your path, you also will be destroyed for not obeying the Lord your God.

* Abundance can be a barrier to faith

Jesus said it was very difficult for the rich to enter the Kingdom of God because the rich, having their basic physical needs met, often become self-reliant.  When they feel empty, they buy something new to try to fill the void that only God can fill.  Their abundance and self-sufficiency become their deficiency.  The person who has everything on earth can still lack what is most important–eternal life. (NLT)

Mark 10:23 – Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for rich people to get into the Kingdom of God!”

* Abundance of God’s love

Rejoicing in God’s protection and peace.  We can place our confidence in God because he will listen when we call on him.

The godly are those who are faithful and devoted to God.  David knew that God would hear him when he called and would answer him.  We, too, can be confident that God listens to our prayers and answers when we call on him.  Sometimes we think that God will not hear us because we have fallen short of his high standards for holy living.  But if we have trusted Christ for salvation, God has forgiven us, and he will listen to us.   When you feel as though your prayers are bouncing off the ceiling, remember that as a believer you have been set apart by God and that he loves you.  He hears and answers, although his answers may not be what you expect.  Look at your problems in the light of God’s power instead of looking at God in the shadow of your problems.

Worship in David’s day included animal sacrifices by the priests in the Tabernacle.  The animal’s blood covered the sins of the one who offered the animal.  There were specific rules for offering sacrifices, but more important to God than ceremony was the offerer’s attitude of submission and obedience (1 Samuel 15:22, 23).  Today, a “proper sacrifice,” one that is pleasing to God, is still the same.  He wants our obedience and our praise before our gifts (see Hebrews 13:15-16).  Offer God your sacrifice of total obedience and heartfelt praise.

Two kinds of joy are contrasted here—inward joy that comes from knowing and trusting God and happiness that comes as a result of pleasant circumstances.  Inward joy is steady as long as we trust God; happiness is unpredictable.  Inward joy defeats discouragement; happiness covers it up.  Inward joy is lasting; happiness is temporary. (NLT)

Psalm 4:1-8 – Answer me when I call, O God who declares me innocent.  Take away my distress.  Have mercy on me and hear my prayer.

How long will you people ruin my reputation?  How long will you make these groundless accusations?  How long will you pursue lies?

You can be sure of this: The Lord has set apart the godly for himself.  The Lord will answer when I call to him.

Don’t sin by letting anger gain control over you.  Think about it overnight and remain silent.  Offer proper sacrifices, and trust in the Lord.

Many people say, “Who will show us better times?”  Let the smile of your face shine on us, Lord.  You have given me greater joy than those who have abundant harvests of grain and wine.

I will lie down in peace and sleep, for you alone, O Lord, will keep me safe.

* In contrast to evil people and their wicked plots that end in failure, God is faithful, righteous, and just.  His love is as vast, abundant, as the heavens; his faithfulness reaches beyond the clouds; his righteousness is as solid as mighty mountains; and his judgments are as full of wisdom as the oceans are with water.  We need not fear evil people because we know God loves us, judges evil, and will care for us throughout eternity. (NLT)

Psalm 36:5-8 – Your unfailing love, O Lord, is as vast as the heavens; your faithfulness reaches beyond the clouds.  Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains, your justice like the ocean depths.  You care for people and animals alike, O Lord.  How precious is your unfailing love, O God!  All humanity finds shelter in the shadow of your wings.  You feed them from the abundance of your own house, letting them drink from your rivers of delight.

* Abundance of praise

Since these Jewish Christians, because of their witness to the Messiah, no longer worshiped with other Jews, they should consider praise and acts of service their sacrifices—ones they could offer anywhere, anytime.  This must have reminded them of the prophet Hosea’s words, “Forgive all our sins and graciously receive us, so that we may offer you the sacrifice of praise” (Hosea 14:2).  A “sacrifice of praise” today would include thanking Christ for his sacrifice on the cross and telling others about it.  Acts of kindness and sharing are particularly pleasing to God, even when they go unnoticed by others. (NLT)

Hebrews 13:15-16 – With Jesus’ help, let us continually offer our sacrifice of praise to God by proclaiming the glory of his name.  Don’t forget to do good and to share what you have with those in need, for such sacrifices are very pleasing to God.

* “The sacrifice of praise” refers to thank offerings to God.  God desired real, heartfelt repentance, not merely annual sacrifices. (NLT)

Hosea 14:2 – Bring your petitions, and return to the Lord.  Say to him, “Forgive all our sins and graciously receive us, so that we may offer you the sacrifice of praise.”

* God’s abundant generosity

This harvest psalm glorifies God the Creator as reflected in the beauty of nature.  Nature helps us understand something of God’s character.  The Jews believed that God’s care of nature was a sign of his love and provision for them.  Nature shows God’s generosity—giving us more than we need or deserve.  God’s abundant generosity should make us grateful to him and generous to others. (NLT)

Psalm 65:6-13 – You formed the mountains by your power and armed yourself with mighty strength.  You quieted the raging oceans with their pounding waves and silenced the shouting of the nations.  Those who live at the ends of the earth stand in awe of your wonders.  From where the sun rises to where it sets, you inspire shouts of joy.

You take care of the earth and water it, making it rich and fertile.  The rivers of God will not run dry; they provide a bountiful harvest of grain, for you have ordered it so.  You drench the plowed ground with rain, melting the clods and leveling the ridges.  You soften the earth with showers and bless its abundant crops.  You crown the year with a bountiful harvest; even the hard pathways overflow with abundance.  The wilderness becomes a lush pasture, and the hillsides blossom with joy.  The meadows are clothed with flocks of sheep, and the valleys are carpeted with grain.  They all shout and sing for joy!

* Place of great abundance

Just as fire purifies silver in the smelting process, trials refine our character.  They bring us a new and deeper wisdom, helping us discern truth from falsehood and giving us the discipline to do what we know is right.  Above all, these trials help us realize that life is a gift from God to be cherished, not a right to be taken for granted. (NLT)

Psalm 66:10-12 – You have tested us, O God; you have purified us like silver melted in a crucible.  You captured us in your net and laid the burden of slavery on our backs.  You sent troops to ride across our broken bodies.  We went through fire and flood.  But you brought us to a place of great abundance.

* Abundance of prosperity

What qualities do we want most in our leaders?  God desires all who rule under him to be just and righteous.  Think how the world would change if world leaders would commit themselves to these two qualities.  Let us pray that they will.

God cares for the poor, oppressed, weak, and needy because they are precious to him.  If God feels so strongly about these needy ones and loves them so deeply, how can we ignore their plight?  Examine what you are doing to reach out with God’s love.  Are you ignoring their plight or are you meeting their needs?

The perfect king; in this psalm, a king asks God to help his son rule the nation justly and wisely.  It looks forward to the endless reign of the Messiah, who alone can rule with perfect justice and whose citizens will enjoy perfect peace. (NLT)

Psalm 72:1-14 – Give justice to the king, O God, and righteousness to the king’s son.  Help him nudge your people in the right way; let the poor always be treated fairly.  May the mountains yield prosperity for all, and may the hills be fruitful, because the king does what is right.  Help him to defend the poor, to rescue the children of the needy, and to crush their oppressors.  May he live as long as the sun shines, as long as the moon continues in the skies.  Yes, forever!  May his reign be as refreshing as the springtime rains—like the showers that water the earth.  May all the godly flourish during his reign.  May there be abundant prosperity until the end of time.

May he reign from sea to sea, and from the Euphrates River to the ends of the earth.  Desert nomads will bow before him; his enemies will fall before him in the dust.  The western kings of the Tarshish and the islands will bring him tribute.  The eastern kings of Sheba and Seba will bring him gifts.  All kings will bow before him, and all nations will serve him.

He will rescue the poor when they cry to him; he will help the oppressed, who have no one to defend them.  He feels pity for the weak and the needy, and he will rescue them.  He will save them from oppression and from violence, for their lives are precious to him.

* Abundance of joy

What a contrast between the disciples and the world!  The world rejoiced as the disciples wept, but the disciples would see Jesus again (in three days) and rejoice.  The world’s values are often the opposite of God’s values.  This can cause Christians to feel like misfits.  But even if life is difficult now, one day we will rejoice.  Keep your eye on the future and on God’s promises!

Jesus is talking about a new relationship between the believer and God.  Previously, people approached God through priests.  After Jesus’ resurrection, any believer could approach God directly.  A new day has dawned and now all believers are priests, talking with God personally and directly.  We approach God, not because of our own merit, but because Jesus, our great High Priest, has made us acceptable to God. (NLT)

John 16:19-27 – Jesus realized they wanted to ask him, so he said, “Are you asking yourselves what I meant?  I said in just a little while I will be gone, and you won’t see me anymore.  Then, just a little while after that, you will see me again.  Truly, you will weep and mourn over what is going to happen to me, but the world will rejoice.  You will grieve, but your grief will suddenly turn to wonderful joy when you see me again.  It will be like a woman experiencing the pains of labor.  When her child is born, her anguish gives place to joy because she has brought a new person into the world.  You have sorrow now, but I will see you again; then you will rejoice, and no one can rob you of that joy.  At that time you won’t need to ask me for anything.  The truth is, you can go directly to the Father and ask him, and he will grant your request because you use my name.  You haven’t done this before.  Ask, using my name, and you will receive, and you will have abundant joy.

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