“But Samuel replied: ‘Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the Lord? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams.’” (1 Sam 15:22)
What could be better that coming before God and offering praise and worship with gifts and offerings? Surely this is the pinnacle of our relationship with God and the ultimate expression of worship and faith.
Apparently not; God has a different view, and His opinion is that it is much more important to obey and to heed. We know what it means to obey, but the definition of heed gives us more insight: “to pay attention, to give consideration to, and to mind what someone says.” It gives the sense of one listening with intent to act in obedience.
Quick Prayer: Help me to hear, and compel me to obey. Amen.
“And said, ‘Cornelius, God has heard your prayer and remembered your gifts to the poor.” (Act 10:31)
This almost sounds like an Old Testament Scripture. Surely our relationship with God is solely based on the forgiveness appropriated by Jesus? Yes, it is; you are quite correct. Yet just as we are forgiven in the measure we forgive others, so God sees our gifts to the poor and other acts and is moved and motivated by the evidence of a transformed heart.
When we are faithful, we are given more. We still reap what we sow even in this time of God’s grace. There are consequences for actions, and He does still test our motivations and obedience. These are not popular concepts, but I have found them to still be true.
Quick Prayer: Thank You that You listen to me as I listen and act well toward others. Amen.
“On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.” (Mat 2:11)
When Jesus was a young child, the wise men came and worshipped Him. Then they gave Him gifts. This was a part of the act of paying homage to the newborn king. They honored Him with their giving.
We too are called to worship in our giving. Sometimes we can be moved to bring something of value to Him. It is not giving to a church or to a worthy cause but just giving something of value to Him, to worship and to adore.
I am not sure how that transaction occurs in our hearts, but it is certainly saying you are worth more to me than gold.
Quick Prayer: I just want to worship and adore You. Amen.