Monday, January 4, 2010

"Burnt Offerings"

"I will offer to Thee the sacrifice of thanksgiving... By Him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually" (Psalm 116:17; Hebrews 13:15).

Thanksgiving and praise will often seem like sacrifices because our offerings will counter every human inclination, emotion, and thought.

The response of our flesh to challenge, difficulty, pain, loss, heartache and heartbreak will not be praise and thanksgiving. Doubt, fear, complaint, despair, and anger are far more the norm of our humanity. We must therefore must expect that our initial reactions to sufferings, in whatever form or measure, will often flow against the faith that praises and thanks God. Life in the Spirit of the Lord Jesus Christ does not presently involve the eradication of such responses in us, but rather the overcoming of them by remembrance of God's truth, and the determination to believe His promises rather than the fleshly perceptions that offer worry rather than worship.

"I will go into Thy house with burnt offerings: I will pay Thee my vows, which my lips have uttered, and my mouth hath spoken, when I was in trouble" (Psalm 66:13-14).

To praise and thank God when trouble confronts us is the "burnt offering" of determining to replace fleshly thoughts and emotions with the truth of His Word. Our Heavenly Father counts this as genuine sacrifice, and such offering of the heart is in fact far more spiritually substantive than Israel's offerings of dove, pigeon, goat, and lamb. The altar is ever before us, and countless opportunities call us to this worship that chooses to trust and obey God in the power of the Holy Spirit.

Praising and thanking our Lord when considering His blessings is a wonderful thing. Praising and thanking Him when considering our troubles is also a wonderful thing, and will often be a far more accurate barometer of our spiritual strength and relationship with God. We must know Him well and be confident of His faithfulness if we are to see His light shining in the darkness to such degree that we praise and thank Him when everything in us seems to prompt us otherwise. Let us pray for each other and for ourselves that such knowledge, both personal and doctrinal, will lead us to offer the sacrifices that must bless our Father's heart because they reveal we are so trusting His heart.

"I will freely sacrifice unto Thee: I will praise Thy name, O LORD; for it is good."
(Psalm 54:6)

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