At the heart of reality is limitless generosity

God’s creation is evidence of the caring hand of the Creator reaching out to secure the well-being of His creatures, of a Father extendinga universe full of blessings to His children.

Spkyman

Israel’s worldview begins with a gift: at the heart of reality is a God of limitless generosity.

'Limitless Generosity' - Photo credits to Kim G

Yahweh’s generosity in creation and salvation is the garden in which the Old Testament story is played out. The scope of God’s providence can be viewed with increasing imminence: the cosmos, the world, the land, the farm, the soil, the produce – it is all a gift! As Wendel Berry says:

The Bible is a story dealing exactingly with a gift.

Deuteronomy 26:1-11, the festival of first fruits, affirms the ‘giftedness’ of the world through ritual and declaration. The description of the festival of the first fruits begins:

When you come into the land that the LORD your God is giving you for an inheritance and have taken possession of it and dwell in it…

Now don’t get bored here! An unusual feature, three verbs in quick succession – ‘giving’, ‘taken possession’ and ‘dwell’ – is a concentrated expression of the giveness of the land. Interestingly the verb ‘give’ occurs seven times in Deut 26:1-11. Seven is a symbolic number for completeness. In fact there is a pattern of sevens: the words for soil and land add together to seven. The words for ‘come into the land’ and ‘come out of Egypt’ add to seven. And ‘Yahweh’ occurs 14 times! The point is that produce, soil, farm and land testify to the abundant, steady flow that sustains the world. Truly:

God’s creation is evidence of the caring hand of the Creator reaching out to secure the well-being of His creatures, of a Father extending a universe full of blessings to His children.

As Christians we appropriate the Old Testament worldview through Christ, his life, death, resurrection, ascension and return (thanks Geoff!). We begin here: at the heart of reality is a generous God. God has given us the world; in the resurrection of Christ new creation has begun! The ‘myth of scarcity’ (Douglas Meek’s term) that inhabits our satiated culture is replaced by an assurance that we have enough to live and enough to be generous.

 

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About Mark Glanville

Mark Glanville is a pastor-scholar who ministers in a missional urban community, Grandview Church, Vancouver. Mark is Professor of Old Testament and congregational studies at the Missional Training Center, Phoenix (missionaltraining.org), and he teaches at Regent College, Vancouver. Mark's research focusses upon the Pentateuch, biblical ethics, and mission. Mark has authored a book on Exodus (Lexham, forthcoming), numerous refereed articles (including in the Journal of Biblical Literature, forthcoming) and chapters on the Pentateuch, mission, and refugee related issues, as well as numerous popular articles. Mark is presently co-authoring a book, "Providing Refuge: A Missional and Political Theology." Mark is regularly called upon to speak on in Canada, the U.S., and Australia. His previous career was as a jazz pianist in Sydney, Australia (Chick Corea and Wynton Kelly are his musical heroes).
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