Day: July 9, 2015

Empty Sacrifice

I am finally beginning to understand the greatness if David. As I am sure you have heard him described as one of the most prominent Biblical heroes, but it’s not until you look over his life and his response to situations and his words that explain his epic nature. Yes, he was an ordinary man, but God’s extraordinary work was very evident in his life, in spite of his detrimental faults, which spilled over into his son whose life for the most part was honorable and I can see why he was such a ladies man. Getting back to the point, in the last post I referenced the story of David counting the people of Israel and to right his wrong he built an altar, the process of which is my attention this go around.

Long story short David needed a place and supplies to build an altar and make a sacrifice, but the person whom the angel of the Lord led him to purchase from was reluctant to take his money because of a reverent intimidation of David and his entourage. (Read the story for specifics, 1 Chr 21:18f.) Nevertheless, during this exchange, David made this statement:

“I will not take for the Lord what is yours, or sacrifice a burnt offering that costs me nothing.”

Well I just thought that was the most profound thing ever! So friggin’ deep! But in all seriousness, what it says is much of the heart of being you for a purpose. For starters, you can’t give God your best if what you give Him belongs to someone else, meaning you just took it without aligning it to fit into what God has for you. At times, yes we need help in getting to where God has called us, but not at the expense of others and not in a way that refuses a symbol of gratitude or honor for those who have helped us along the way. I think the heart of David here tells us that as much as we can, what we give should be equally reciprocated in some way or another, if not now then in the future. But, if the motive is strictly refusing what God has already blessed us with and put it aside to take advantage of someone else’s blessing, the fault and wrongdoing is ours and we have utterly missed the mark and in no way are being who God would have us to be.

Likewise, any success book talks about sacrifice and investment and to me David had the same mentality, in that nothing in life worth having is for free, whether in time, energy, money, or anything of the sort. In his particular situation he wanted to make up for the wrong he had done and save the lives of his people as a result, and so I believe that his desire was to give all he could to get the ultimate response. So by not paying, it’s as if to say there was no true investment or he didn’t really give up or sacrifice anything to get back in fellowship with the Lord.

To me that just says so much, and as I’ve done before, I may be completely over-thinking, over-analyzing, or just going way to deep, but I guess the point of these blogs is to share what I took away and what I’ve learned of various things, such as my devotions. I say all that to say, don’t give God anything cheap, lacking any intrinsic or even extrinsic value, or half-hearted, otherwise you psych yourself our because true fellowship and worship will cost something and will require sacrifice, of which the gospels speak about. Don’t try to get over on God or get over on people, because God knows our hearts and motives and because He gave and continuously gives us His best – even if we don’t recognize it at the time – He then deserves our absolute best, not someone else’s because what you give of someone else becomes your worst. But, when the Lord leads you to persons to assist you to further the purpose He has for you, show humility and give them your best, because they sacrificed for you, so don’t make it empty or worth nothing.

Beautiful Mercy for Ugly Sin

This love letter is amazing. As I read it and study more, the more I learn the heart of God and how much He truly loves me in spite of. Anyhow, there are four people that come to mind when I think of those that Satan very specifically targeted, not just a demon: Peter, Job, Judas, and David. Of course there may be others, but they are all I got. The first three I mentioned you are probably familiar with, but still going through Chronicles, I read about Satan’s encounter with David, and the story I knew but Satan’s role was unfamiliar.

Briefly, Satan was attempting to bring down Israel and used David to do so, by swaying him to pride and mistrust. You can read 1 Chronicles 21 for all the details. By counting the people David’s pride caused him to think that his success as the king thus far was by him alone, and what he had attained and accomplished was his doing. On the other hand, in doing so it was another slap in God’s face because it was as if David didn’t really believe the promise God made to multiply. He didn’t trust that God was doing what He said He would do. What I find the most intriguing are the events thereafter.

After David realized what had happened and God dealt with him, he was driven to build an altar and make a sacrifice to compel the Lord to stop the plague. However, in doing so, due to his guilt and shame, he nearly backed out because he was afraid, but the mercy of God is incredible. For the same place where David humbled himself after being so full of himself that God had to correct him, the place that represented one of his most costly mistakes and or sins, God still used it to build His temple.

So often in our own lives we mess up big and God has to deal with us, but when He does it’s in such a way that only He can get glory. God takes our mistakes and creates miracles. He uses our faults and failures as building blocks to an amazing testimony of His faithfulness, mercy and power. And truth be told, like David, it can be scary coming to God knowing just how flat out wrong we were, but His compassions are new every morning and His love endures forever. Coming to Him with a repented and humbled heart, the Lord is always willing to receive us with open arms. God will take the very thing hurt us and use it as a platform to help us and to see His promises come to fruition. David prepared the way for his son, Solomon, to build the temple of the Lord in the same place he built an altar.

In the end of his preparations for the next generation who would build the temple, David encouraged them. (See 1 Chronicles 22:17-19). He reminded them that the Lord was with them and everything was taken care of, so all they needed to do was focus on the task. He told them to devote and seek the Lord and begin to build the sanctuary so that things could be set in place.

The same speaks for us. We must continually seek the kingdom of God (Matt. 6:33) and surrender all of who we are to Him, heart, mind, body and soul (Matt. 22:37). As we do so, we begin to build our temples, our bodies, the place where the Holy Spirit resides (1 Cor. 3:16) and we allow those precious fruit and sacred things of God to fill our hearts and minds that will give witness to the name of Christ, like joy, peace, forgiveness, love, and hope. These things will give room for the work of God to go forth in our lives and through our lives that the Name of the Lord may be known by whoever interacts with us as we use our gifts, talents, passions, and abilities to usher in His presence and leave His sweet aroma wherever we go. We have to prepare the way and give God the ugly things, the broken things, the sin that hinders the process, so that His beautiful mercy and love can cover it and be our foundation to build on. In doing so we have mastered the art of being ourselves for a purpose.