"Open Your Hand Wide" (Deuteronomy 15:7-8)

A group of friends was ribbing one of their buddies who was characteristically very miserly
with his money. One friend said, “His wallet is so tight it hardly ever sees the light. When he
opens his wallet, it takes George Washington a few minutes to get his eyes adjusted.” While that
is humorous, it may also present a flaw. Yes, it is possible for us to be too loose and careless with
our finances to the point we are reckless and irresponsible. Yet, it is also possible for us to be too
tight-fisted and stingy to the point we develop a reputation as selfish hoarders. Both may indicate
a covetous heart. Sometimes covetousness displays itself in materialism, sometimes in selfabsorption.

In the Old Testament, God was carving the character of His chosen nation, Israel. In so
doing, God often spoke of what he expected of their attitude towards those who were poor among
them. Deuteronomy 15:7-8 says, “If there is among you a poor man of your brethren, within any of
the gates in your land which the Lord your God is giving you, you shall not harden your heart nor
shut your hand from your poor brother, but you shall open your hand wide to him and willingly lend
him sufficient for his need, whatever he needs.”

Generosity was to be a trademark of the people of God. King David once wrote, “Blessed is
he who considers the poor; the Lord will deliver him in time of trouble. The Lord will preserve him
and keep him alive, and he will be blessed on the earth; You will not deliver him to the will of his
enemies. The Lord will strengthen him on his bed of illness; You will sustain him on his sickbed”

(Psalm 41:1-3). The inspired David proposed the belief that generosity could bring not just eternal
blessing, but earthly blessing.

This principle is seen in the life of David. Jonathan, King Saul’s son, was once a true friend
to David when Saul had become David’s enemy (1 Samuel 20). He warned David of the danger
which awaited David if he were to return to the capital. For this reason, David fled from Saul and
lived as a poor fugitive until the will of God could be carried out and David was exalted to the
throne. Because of Jonathan’s kindness and generous advice towards David, as well as their
covenant, David himself cared for Jonathan’s lame son, Mephibosheth, even after Jonathan had
died (2 Samuel 9). The kindness of Jonathan was repaid to his child by David. Kindness came full

As Christians have opportunity to give to others, we ought to remember the words of
Moses in Deuteronomy 15:8: “open your hand wide.” May we not have a reputation for being
stingy and close-fisted, but for being generous, and open-handed towards those in need. God has
certainly been generous with us by helping cover a debt we could not repay—our sins. May we
use the template of His grace and generosity towards us as a guiding pattern for our own liberality
whenever we have opportunity to give to those who are less fortunate and in legitimate need. Let
George Washington see the light.