Timing: it’s everything.
I’ve been studying 1 & 2 Samuel in my quiet time for the past few months. Here on the last day of 2009, I arrived at the last chapter of 2 Samuel. And what passage does my year end with? None other than David’s convicting words in 2 Samuel 24:24 —
“I will not sacrifice to the LORD my God
burnt offerings that cost me nothing.”
We believers speak boldly about our sacrifices for God. We “sacrifice” things like sleeping in on Sunday mornings, a few bills for the offering plate, a bag of groceries for the hungry, those lusts of the flesh that are overtly evil, etc. My, aren’t we devout?
Most of us, however — of whom I am the worst — actually, factually, truthfully live a truncated version of verse 24: “I will not sacrifice to the LORD my God.” That’s it. We SAY the whole verse, but we LIVE only the first half. It’s time for a change!
This morning as I begin preparing to open yet another grace gift from God — a brand new year — I prayed and asked God a very serious and difficult question, “LORD, what would you have me sacrifice? I no longer want a FREE AND EASY ride to heaven; I want to PAY THE COST of being sold out to You! Show me what stands in the way that I may lay it upon the altar and slay it.” He wasted no time in starting His list!
Well, it looks like it might be a rough start to 2010 but I’m determined! Yes, I know God loves me unconditionally; I don’t have to do anything to earn His love. But my heart’s desire is to show Him how much I love Him. And how else can I do that except through obedience and sacrifice?
David understood. I’m beginning to get it. How about you?
As I sit here quietly sipping coffee, sitting in the dim light of the Christmas tree, and staring at the manger scene beneath the tree, I’m amazed. Even at 50, the wonder of Jesus’ birth still gets to me.
God, wrapped in the flesh of a baby!
God, wrapped up like a gift!
God, wrapped up and given to an undeserving world!
Amazing love. Unmerited favor. Wonder of wonders.
I opened my Gift from God when I was 8 years old and I still enjoy the Gift some 42 years later. And I’ll continue to enjoy the gift for all eternity. As David said,
Has he not made with me an everlasting covenant,
arranged and secured in every part?
Will he not bring to fruition my salvation
and grant me my every desire?
2 Samuel 23:5
I thank the Lord every day for His indescribable Gift. Have you opened yours? Do it without delay. It’s the greatest Gift ever given — it never grows old, never gets out-of-style, and never fails to “fit.” Amazing!
If you don’t know how to open it, write to me. I’d love to show you how to rip into it and begin living as you’ve never lived before!
God, the Bread of Life, lying in a feeding trough! Amazing!
Merry Christmas, beloved of God!
I attended the funeral of a dear friend’s father yesterday. What a wonderful man he was! With a dry wit, an open wallet, and a gracious heart, he was a pleasure to know. While his family and friends will miss him terribly, we have great comfort in knowing where he is: in heaven with his Savior.
As the pastor shared some humorous stories about the man, a psalm came into my mind:
Precious in the sight of the LORD
is the death of his saints.
Death precious? Yes, precious — precious, that is, for a saint, one who’s been set apart as holy by the saving grace of Jesus Christ. But how can death be “precious”? Let’s think about it:
- Death is the doorway home: the doorway to heaven, the saints’ eternal home. Precious!
- Death marks end of struggling and the beginning of really living. Precious!
- Death is the ultimate spa treatment; it brings about a glorious transformation from a dust-and-water body into a heavenly, perfect, incorruptable body! Precious!
- Death takes saints directly into the presence of the LORD where they shall remain forevermore. Precious!
- Death requires closure and that’s usually found at a funeral service where family and friends are often reunited (like I was with my friend whom I had not seen in 15+ years). Precious!
- Death brings the opportunity for restoration of broken relationships; old hurts and grievances can be forgiven and forgotten, or gulfs of space and time can be bridged. Precious!
- Death also provides the perfect opportunity to share the gospel, to explain the gift of salvation and to issue an invitation for adoption into the LORD’s family and, thus, a “room” in His eternal home. Precious!
Oh, the list could go on and on. Perhaps you would like to add to my list. Please do so in the comment box below.
Yes, death is a precious thing when viewed from God’s perspective. So, the next time you’re making a list of “precious” things, be radical and add “the death of a saint” to your list! No doubt you’ll raise a few eyebrows but who knows? Your explanation may raise a lost soul from death to life!
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