Giving and Sacrifice

7 “Listen, my people, and I will speak;
    I will testify against you, Israel:
    I am God, your God.
8 I bring no charges against you concerning your sacrifices
    or concerning your burnt offerings, which are ever before me.
9 I have no need of a bull from your stall
    or of goats from your pens,
10 for every animal of the forest is mine,
    and the cattle on a thousand hills.
11 I know every bird in the mountains,
    and the insects in the fields are mine.
12 If I were hungry I would not tell you,
    for the world is mine, and all that is in it.
13 Do I eat the flesh of bulls
    or drink the blood of goats? Psalm 50:7-13

In some very frank words, God is telling the nation of Israel that He really doesn’t need their sacrifices and offerings because He owns it all. So then, why do it? Simple. Because WE need to do it.

For most people giving and sacrifice does not come naturally. We like to keep what we have. We’re stingy that way. He’s teaching an important lesson in giving, one that we ought to have learned by now.

  • He funds worldwide missions projects through us.
  • He funds each church through us.
  • The church reaches out to minister to others through us.

If we’re not giving regularly and consistently to the Church, we are missing out in what God is doing around the world. And there is a great big exciting world beyond our borders. The Holy Spirit continues to sweep across Asia, Africa, and South America.

Hallelujah!

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Justices and Injustices

6 And the heavens proclaim his righteousness,
    for he is a God of justice. Psalm 50:6

“The rain falls upon the just and the unjust alike,” a thing which would not happen if I were superintending the rain’s affairs. No, I would rain softly and sweetly on the just, but if I caught a sample of the unjust outdoors I would drown him. -Mark Twain

Injustice is relatively easy to bear; what stings is justice. -HL Mencken

That’s how two noted humorists viewed justice, and we certainly understand their sentiment.

At the cross, God’s justice was meted out in full upon Christ, and God’s mercy was extended in full (to all who believe). So God’s perfect mercy was and is exercised through His perfect justice. (http://www.gotquestions.org/mercy-justice.html)

The end result is that, by the sacrificial death of Jesus, everyone who trusts in Him is saved from God’s wrath and instead experiences His grace and mercy (Romans 8:1). As Paul says, “Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him!” (Romans 5:9). (http://www.gotquestions.org/mercy-justice.html)

The injustices that we face today will one day be dealt with, and justice will prevail. Thankfully the eternal questions of justice have been answered in the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ;

One day, however, the temporal justice of the day-to-day will be dealt with.

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The Consecrated

4 He summons the heavens above,
    and the earth, that he may judge his people:
5 “Gather to me this consecrated people,
    who made a covenant with me by sacrifice.” Psalm 50:4-5

The Lord is gearing up to bring judgment upon Israel (v.7). In later verses we’ll see exactly what Israel was doing to warrant the judgment. Suffice to say they were doing many of the things we do now and perhaps with similar excuses and reasons.

Yesterday I talked a bit about injustices committed against us. Today the topic is what we do to blow it. You see, it’s very easy to point our fingers but often our own sin and disobedience is responsible for the jams we’re in.

As consecrated people, we certainly have the means and right to come to God through Jesus Christ often with our sin, but do we?

If not, why not?

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He Waits and Waits

3 Our God comes
    and will not be silent;
a fire devours before him,
    and around him a tempest rages. Psalm 50:3

There’s a saying in American culture that mirrors this verse: “when He returns, boy is He going to be ticked!”

That’s perhaps quite an understatement. You really do not have to search far on the news channels to hear stories of atrocity throughout the world. Even if you ignore the heinous crimes committed by maniacal dictatorial regimes, there are still plenty of injustices occurring locally.

You’ve read it before in this space but it’s worth repeating. The old Russian adage is appropriate here: God sees all but waits.

We cry out that it isn’t fair and that He could have stopped it and why does He just ignore our pleas. What’s even worse is listening to atheist types denigrate the Bible because of passages talking about how God will protect His own. (Incidentally, don’t underestimate the power of the Word of God in the life of an atheist or an unbeliever even as he/she attempts to criticize it.)

We don’t know why some of this stuff happens or why there’s no divine intervention to prevent it. Saying things like “God has His reasons” doesn’t answer the questions because there really isn’t a concrete answer to victims and those disgusted with the injustices.

Yes, God is waiting for that time when He will judge the nations, but until that time we cry out to Him.

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Zion – Perfect in Beauty

2 From Zion, perfect in beauty,
    God shines forth. Psalm 50:2

The Scriptures are filled with references to Zion (Jerusalem). God’s presence dwelled there in the Temple, therefore it was beautiful.

God singled out the Jews as His people. When the Messiah came, He came as a Jew, living out Jewish customs and culture, and relating to the Jewish people. In every sense of the word, He was a Jew. Throughout history, God had a special place in His heart for Jews.

Modern day Israel is constantly under attack from its enemies in the region and throughout the world. And yet God’s placed a protection over the nation that defies human logic. A billion of its enemies surround the tiny nation, but they’ve only been attacked three times. Israel won all three times. They are being threatened once again.

Would you pray for the nation of Israel?

Would you pray for the bold men and women who live there are are called to minister to the nation?

Pray that its enemies’ eyes would continue to be confused and blinded (Lord, confuse the wicked, confound their words, for I see violence and strife in the city. – Psalm 55:9)

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