What can I give? Deut 16:16

Posted on 11/04/2012

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Catching up on Biblesync again today, and was struck by this in Deutaronomy: “Three times a year shall all your males appear before the Lord your God in the place which He choses: at the feast of Unleavened Bread, at the Feast of Weeks, and at the Feast of Tabernacles ‘or’ Booths. They shall not appear before the Lord empty-handed” I think the bold speaks for itself, but if not, it was this particular line that got my attention.

“…They shall not appear before the Lord empty-handed” – I think we can often fall into the trap of harbouring a ‘getters’ attitude when it comes to Church life. “What will I ‘get’ out of it today? Lord, what can I ‘get’ from You?” And yes, it is important that we get appropriate spiritual food, that we may mature in our walk with Christ, and God has a mountain of gifts to bestow upon His children, but what about accompanying this with an attitude of service, and of giving? ‘Lord, what can I ‘give’ today? How can I serve?’…

…Whilst I am aware that we are no longer observing the same feasts and traditions today as those that are highlighted in the passage, I think the exhortation still applies – just the gift has changed. What does it mean now to ‘not appear before the Lord empty handed’?…
…We are constantly told that we have nothing to give – we cannot earn God’s love by bringing him vain objects in the hope that that he will accept us. So how can this verse apply to us today?  Because I’m not envisioning us capturing and slaughtering bulls or goats every week, and nor is God: “Sacrifice and offering thou didst not desire” (Psalm 40:6). God is not interested in vain offerings, that are delivered in the hope that they might please Him. No, instead the gift He wants is much more personal, and often much more difficult to harness…it requires the capturing and slaughtering of pride and self-will, and the utmost vulnerability: surrender to Christ. The sacrifice required is that of a “broken and contrite heart” – that, He will never despise (Psalm 51). If the heart isn’t in it, it won’t count for anything. Even in charitable acts! “Take care not to do your good deeds publicly, or before men, so to be seen by them…” (Matt 6) – Motivation, drive and intention are the things that God looks at: the thoughts and intents of the heart, not the act of good will itself. So what do we give? And what is it that we should have so that we make sure we never come to Jesus empty handed?…
…The answer is simple – ourselves. If we have accepted salvation by receiving Christ and putting our trust in Him, then we walk with Jesus and make ourselves available. It is all we can give Him, and it’s all He asks for. Paul writes in Romans 12:1 – “I appeal to you therefore, brethren, and beg of you in view of [all] the mercies of God, to make decisive dedication of your bodies [presenting all your members and faculties] as a living sacrifice, holy (devoted, consecrated) and well pleasing to God, which is your reasonable (rational, intelligent) service and spiritual worship.” Worship is infact a lifestyle. If we apply this principle, we will never come before the Lord empty-handed, because we are bringing Him absolutely everything that we possibly can – US.
So, let’s give it a go and not be caught short of a gift when we come to the Lord, and not just in Church on a Sunday (for a service is not the only time we come into God’s presence, but rather the presence of God’s people) – Jesus is with us day in and day out, so let’s try each morning saying to Jesus, “Lord, I’m bringing you myself again today, do with me as You will, use me as a channel of blessing and a Kingdom bringer! What can I do?”
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Posted in: Devotionals