Monday, December 2, 2019

When A Sacrifice Is Not A Sacrifice

“But the king [David] replied to Araunah, ‘No, I insist on paying you for it. I will not sacrifice to the Lord my God burnt offerings that cost me nothing.’” – 2 Samuel 24:24

The back story to this conversation was that David had allowed his pride to get the best of him and wanted to consider what a great and powerful king he was. So he told Joab, his commander, to number the soldiers.  Joab advised David not to do it, but David would not be convinced otherwise.  God’s anger rose up against David because David was robbing God of His glory.  God brought a plague on the land as a consequence.  God stayed His hand at the door of Araunah’s threshing floor.  David wanted to buy the threshing floor and build an altar to God to make a sacrifice for his sin. Araunah wanted to give the building, the oven, and the wooden implements to David, but David refused. 

A sacrifice is not a sacrifice if it does not cost you something.  If you give out of your excess – what is that to God – like giving Him scraps after a meal.  After you have satisfied yourself.  God asks for a tithe – not out of what is left  – but out of the whole.  But God asks for much more than that.  He asks for your whole heart – not just part of it.

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” – Romans 12:1-2

Paul said that we are not to give God 10% of ourselves, but 100%. The world argues that 10% is too much.  Indulge yourself in the world and then if you have some spare change – put in God’s cup like He is a beggar standing on the street corner.  You know the one – the one you try not to make eye contact with when you are stopped at a traffic light.

It is December – Black Friday just happened – our culture promotes the idea that we should buy what is not needed using credit we can’t afford with a promise to pay it off with a tax return that we are not guaranteed.  What if the Spirit spoke to you and said – “Don’t buy anything this Christmas – give the money to those who have nothing to eat.” What reasons would rise up on why that is a bad idea. Do you think that the Spirit of God has bad ideas? What you feel is the tension between the flesh and the spirit. Would you dismiss the idea as too extreme?

We are very willing to sacrifice for others, but not so willing to sacrifice to God if it means it will cost us something.  Some years ago, Martie asked me if I regretted leaving the Army in the midst of a successful career.  The Lord had told me to lay my career in the Army down on the altar.  I told her, “no – I do not regret it – but I do miss it”.  God asked me to sacrifice my career for something greater – my family. A sacrifice is not a sacrifice unless it costs you something.  Even today, I will watch helicopters fly overhead and remember a time when it was me flying it. Making sacrifices of the heart is “true and proper worship”. But if you are not right spiritually, you are not likely to do what is right before God, but will do what is pleasing to the world.

I [Paul] say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish.” – Galatians 5:16-17

I am not suggesting you return the gifts you have purchased.  What I am saying is that this might be a good time to examine your heart and then lay your heart, and its devotions, down on the altar as a sacrifice to God for His glory and the good of others.

By Faith Alone By His Grace Alone And For His Glory Alone

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