Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Are You Giving God Your BEST?

2 Samuel 24
19 And David, according to the saying of Gad, went up as the LORD commanded.
20 And Araunah looked, and saw the king and his servants coming on toward him: and Araunah went out, and bowed himself before the king on his face upon the ground.
21 And Araunah said, Wherefore is my lord the king come to his servant? And David said, To buy the threshingfloor of thee, to build an altar unto the LORD, that the plague may be stayed from the people.
22 And Araunah said unto David, Let my lord the king take and offer up what seemeth good unto him: behold, here be oxen for burnt sacrifice, and threshing instruments and other instruments of the oxen for wood.
23 All these things did Araunah, as a king, give unto the king. And Araunah said unto the king, The LORD thy God accept thee.
24 And the king said unto Araunah, Nay; but I will surely buy it of thee at a price: neither will I offer burnt offerings unto the LORD my God of that which doth cost me nothing. So David bought the threshingfloor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver.
25 And David built there an altar unto the LORD, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings. So the LORD was intreated for the land, and the plague was stayed from Israel.

What value has your praise? What sacrifice is behind your worship? So often, the people of God forget that God desires and requires our BEST. While our worship and our praise are given freely, there is a sacrifice that is required. That sacrifice is the key to sanctification. Oftentimes, it’s the difference between talent and calling, ritual and worship or entertainment and praise.

Too often, we try to give God what is left over. David understood that God deserved his best and was willing to give Him just that. It’s far too easy, especially in this day and time, to miss this very simple concept. True worship is sacrificial, and we must offer God our best.

How often do we work all day, tend to the family, cook, clean, then sit down and struggle to give God ten minutes of prayer before wandering off to sleep? How many times have we watched television, gone shopping or traveled and crammed for twenty minutes before delivering a message to God’s people?

Throughout the word of God, we see a pattern of God requiring the best and the first. Salvation is free, but a solid relationship with God requires a cost! Are you truly giving Him your first? Can He count on your best? What choices are we making?

As I think about the “church” in this hour, it seems that many things are a lot more relaxed than they were just ten years ago. People can come “as they are”, as dressing up is no longer required. Musicians are now paid, rather than saved. Preachers present themselves before God’s people wearing layers of make-up, fake hair and press-on nails. Singing talent and “runs” are now respected more than a true anointing. Sin is glossed over and no longer exposed. Young people lack respect for elders, speaking to them as if they are peers. Preachers have sermons that draw attention by using words that were once forbidden in the church. Men look like women. Women act like men. Fornication and homosexuality are nothing more than “strongholds” when they used to be sin. Whatever songs one hears in the world are brought into the house of God and given a different name, though we all recognize the beat and baseline. Dancing and shouting have replaced repentance. I could go on and on and on…

The point is this – Since when did it become so easy to be a “saint?” Who are we to dismiss God’s requirements? Conviction is part of the sacrifice of worship. Living a holy lifestyle requires work. It requires rebuke and may even require pain.

I think back to a church fast I once participated in. As the pastor described the terms of the fast and the purpose for the consecration, he then began to excuse many from the action he’d just described. “If you get a headache, just have some orange juice and bread. Keep a bag of peanuts in case your stomach begins to growl…” I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. Where is the sacrifice? Isn’t fasting SUPPOSED to hurt? Aren’t you SUPPOSED to be hungry? That’s the point, right???

People of God, this walk with the Father was never intended to be easy. Jesus told us very clearly that persecution and temptation would come. The word of God instructs us to flee and resist. That requires SACRIFICE. We have created this foreign concept called “comfortable Christianity,” and it is not of God.

If we are not willing to sacrifice, we are not worthy of Him. What are we really giving to God? Selah.

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