The biblical story is a generosity story.
No words capture the essence of this narrative better than these: “For God so loved the world, that he gave. . .” (John 3:16, emphasis added). But God’s generosity isn’t discovered solely in the New Testament.
I love five particular Old Testament illustrations of God’s generosity, although there are many more! When we read the Bible cover to cover focusing on this theme, we will be blown away by how lavishly generous our Lord is. Accordingly, by grace, we should experience a transformed heart that replaces joy in getting with joy in giving.
1. The Generosity of Creation.
God not only created a magnificently beautiful world for our dwelling place, but he created us with just the right collection of senses to take it in and enjoy it. On top of that, one of the most precious things about the gift of creation is that it was purposefully designed to reveal the most important thing ever—the Creator’s existence and character.
2. The Generosity of the Covenant.
“I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed” (Genesis 12:2–3). Lest we forget, Abraham did nothing to deserve this. God’s covenant blessings and promises are his generosity on display. He makes and keeps covenants not because of what he sees in the recipient, but because of the generosity that is inside of him.
3. The Generosity of Freedom from Slavery
Generosity is what caused God to raise up Moses and harness the forces of creation, staying faithful to the promises that he made to Abraham and his descendants. The Lord unleashed his almighty power in a display like the world had never seen before and rescued his children from captivity, defeating the feared army of Pharaoh on the way. Because God makes generous promises, he is generous in the use of his power to fulfill those promises.
4. The Generosity of the Law
God led the Israelites out of slavery, but they were destitute, traumatized, powerless, ungoverned, and living in a fractured culture. By God’s generosity, they received life but did not know how to live. So God blessed them with the most practical of gifts—the gift of his law. Yes, the Lord had the right to command their obedience, but the law is a testament to the extent of the generosity of his love. The generosity of your Father is always sympathetic and understanding.
5. The Generosity of the Promised Land
The spies came back from the Promised Land and said, “It is a good land that the Lord our God is giving us” (Deuteronomy 1:25). Did Israel celebrate God delivering on his promise? No! In fear and anger, God’s people turned against their generous Lord. Despite this, there would be a palace and a temple in that land, and generations would be born into lives of prosperity. This lets us know that God is not just generous in fulfilling his promises, no matter what, but he is also lavishly generous in his patience.
The Father requires generosity from his children because he is the definition of generosity. He is patient, kind, and faithful. He doesn’t just react to the moment; his generosity has an eye to the future. His generosity is not just a present gift but also an investment in a legacy.
God invites us to participate in that legacy today. We are called to be abundantly generous with our time, money, creativity, and patience, bringing practical help to those in need.
Don’t you want to be part of this narrative?
Paul David Tripp
1. How did you experience the generosity of creation today or yesterday?
2. How have you experienced freedom from spiritual bondage since knowing Christ? Do you celebrate this liberation enough?
3. Have you struggled to be generous with your time, money, creativity, or patience in the last week? What was the source of spiritual conflict in your heart?
4. What opportunities to be generous do you see on the horizon this week? How can you create additional opportunities to be a part of God’s generosity narrative?
5. How will you remind yourself of these (and other) Old Testament stories the next time you have an opportunity to be generous? Be specific.