What does it cost you?
I thought it would be appropriate to do the December blog on gift giving. Afterall, it’s the month when we celebrate Chanukah and Christmas. They are both in the month of December this year; December 18th is the first night of Chanukah for eight nights and Christmas is always December 25th. God has given us the ultimate gift of salvation through Yeshua, His Son. What could we possibly give Him that would mean anything to Him and what does it cost us?
I was recently reading 1 Chronicles 21 (the whole chapter). This section of the Bible talks about King David wanting to take a census. It has an interesting start to the Chapter. It starts out by saying this: “Then satan stood up against Israel and incited David to count Israel.” Wow, satan incited a man of God! Is that possible? Yes, it is. So, David then told his leaders and Joab to go count Israel from Beersheba to Dan. They were to bring him a report once this was done. At this point, his leader, Joab questioned David as to his motives. Perhaps, he knew in the spirit that this was not necessary, mandated or beneficial!
JEWEL OF WISDOM: We all need people like Joab around us especially if they know we are about to make a decision which is against God and what we should be doing!
In spite of knowing it was NOT the Godly thing to do, Joab, the great servant he was obeyed David’s order. When Joab returned and gave the numbers to David, there were 1,100,000 sword wielding men in Israel. The next sentence is: “But God was displeased with this thing, and He struck Israel. Sometimes we make bad choices in life.
JEWEL OF WISDOM: What matters is that we recognize this right away and repent or fess up!
David did exactly that. He confessed to God that he had sinned and that he had acted foolishly. But there are still consequences for our actions. As we see in this passage, God gave David three choices of retribution. David says he is in great anguish and to let him fall in the hand of the Lord, for His compassion is great instead of falling into the hand of man. The next thing we see is that the Lord sent a plague upon Israel and 70,000 men of Israel fell. The Bible says that God was in great anguish, so He told the destroying angel to stop. Then David saw the destroying angel and tried to reason with God and said to let His hand be against him and his father’s house. It was then that the angel told David to go up to the threshing floor of Oman the Jebusite and build an altar to the Lord.
David went up and when Oman was threshing wheat, he saw the angel. Oman’s four sons hid because they were afraid. When Oman saw David, he bowed his face to the ground and David said: “Give me the site of this threshing floor that I may build an altar to the Lord. Sell it to me for full price, so the plague on the people may be stopped.” Then Oman said to David; “Take it, let my lord the king do whatever seems good in your eyes.” He also said he would give the oxen for burnt offerings, the threshing sledges for wood and wheat for the grain offering. But David insisted on buying it for the full price. He said, “For I will not take for the Lord what is yours or sacrifice a burnt offering that cost me nothing.”
JEWEL OF WISDOM: Perhaps David has learned from this mistake as well as past mistakes that he cannot take what does not belong to him and that there must be a sacrifice for sin. Yeshua sacrificed Himself for the sins of the world. He was the perfect atonement for our sins which we ourselves could not atone for before His redemptive work on the cross.
David paid 600 shekels (which today would be the equivalent to $169.00). It does not seem like a lot of money but it’s the principal of the story! Don’t give to God anything that cost you nothing!
David built an altar and sacrificed, and he called on the name of the Lord and Scripture says: the Lord answered him with fire from heaven upon the altar of the offering. Then He commanded the angel to put his sword back into its sheath. He was pleased at the atonement gift David offered up to Him.
JEWEL OF WISDOM: This entire situation made David have a fear of the Lord which he previously did not have. It is good to fear the Lord, His power, strength, His Word and His Ways. They are higher than our ways.
Throughout the Bible, there are instances where someone offered a burnt offering to the Lord for the atonement of sin. In these instances, God withdrew His wrath upon the situation. Today we don’t do burnt offerings, but we can always give God a gift.
We can offer ourselves up to Him.
We can pray according to His will.
We can LIVE according to His will.
We can offer a cup of cold water in His Name.
We can worship and offer the sacrifice of praise to Him.
We can be obedient when we hear His voice.
We can listen to Godly counsel.
We can lead someone to the Lord.
We can be a light and a testimony in a sometimes-dark world.
We can give offerings even when it’s not convenient.
We can visit the sick, dying and imprisoned people.
We can offer thankfulness for His atoning work on the cross.
I'm sure you can think of many more gifts we can all give to our Father. This Holiday season, why not reflect on what you can give to Him and make sure it costs you something.
May you be blessed during this Chanukah and Christmas season, and may you remember why He sacrificed His life for us. I pray for a new realization of the everlasting gift God gave to each and every one of us. Amen.
Blessings to Everyone!
Unless otherwise notated, Scripture quotations are from the Tree of Life (TLV) Translation of the Bible. Copyright © 2015 by The Messianic Jewish Family Bible Society. All rights reserved