Image by screenpunk via Flickr
Tonight's post is taken from Genesis 22:15-18. (NIV)
The Angel of the LORD called to Abraham from heaven a second time and said, "I swear by myself, declares the LORD, that because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies, and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed because you have obeyed me."
What excites me about tonight's post is the fact that I get to use my brand-new Thompson Chain-Reference Bible to research it. This Bible has given me several directions in which I can take from this verse. It tells me references for Divine Supplies such as when Abraham told Issac that God would provide a sacrifice for their altar. (Little did Issac know that God had told Abraham to sacrifice him. I sincerely believe that Abraham had the faith that when it came down to the wire, that God would not require him to kill his son, which God had allowed them to have. That I feel is probably the main reason Abraham carried through until God's angel stopped him. Not only that, but Abraham had known God long enough to know what blessings would come from obedience to Him.
That's the point I would like to elaborate on. Our personal sacrifices, obedience
and blessings. These are All intertwined. Anytime we obey God, our lives will be better for it. Not just in having material things, but in every aspect. When we sacrifice for God, He is not specifically talking just money. Yes, tithing is a VERY important part. Tithing is a command, not a request. One quick thought on that line and I will move on. First off, the key is obedience. He tells us to do something and expects us to do it. He also tells us that when we pay our tithes of 10%, that we will get back 100 fold. Luke 6:38 says Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again. This is also considered a sacrifice.
God will definitely "return the favor". Just to share a little story, (I don't know if I have told this before or not). Years ago, before I got serious about my relationship with God, I was going to church just every once in a while. My neighbor's husband came over one day and asked me if I would mind taking his wife with me. I told him I would gladly do it, but I didn't know if I would be going because I was low on gasoline. He handed me $5.00 for gas. I took her and we went straight to church. (I still had a little gas, I just didn't know if it would make it there and back. Anyway, we got there and they happened to have a guest speaker. Naturally they took up a collection for him, so I gave 2 dollars. I figured that would leave me 3 for gas and back then it would go further than now days. A little while later, to my disappointment, they took up the regular offering. At the time, I was thinking (if I had known there were going to be two offerings, I would have put 1.00 in each, and still had enough for gas. (I don't think like that now). I wrestled with myself from the time the collection plate started at the front til it got to me in the back. At the last minute, I held my breath and put ALL three dollars in the plate. To make a long story less long, I didn't get gas, we made it home ok with gas to spare, and that afternoon, United Supermarket called me and told me I had won a $100.00 shopping spree! I ran straight for the meat aisle and we ended up with enough meat to feed our 3 person family for over six months! This was many years and a different marriage ago, but I will never forget that. There were times when I failed and didn't pay my tithes, but I can always tell a difference when I do and don't. OK, enough on that subject.
Other ways to sacrifice is giving your time, effort, and worship. Anything you do for the Lord as long as it is happily and freely given. I think my favorite way to sacrifice to God is through my worship. I love to sing and dance before the LORD. If a King (David) could do it and not be embarrassed, then why shouldn't I ? God inhabits our praises. I have heard a saying for as long as I can remember, and I think I even remember a song about it. As the praises go up, the glory comes down. God loves our praise. Just imagine how much we love to be praised and our children love to be praised. God deserves it so much more than we do.
I would like to say one thing more though. As much as God DOES love our praise and sacrifice, OBEDIENCE is more important to Him. This means we must LIVE for Him, and OBEY Him . He tells us "if we LOVE Him we will KEEP His commandments. This includes much more than the precious Ten. Throughout the Bible, He NEVER requests anything. He TELLS us what He wants us to do. These are commands. We are not our own. We were bought with a price (His Blood). So He has the right to expect loyalty, love and obedience from us to be saved.
Good night to all and May God Bless.