It is a simple statement of scriptural truth to
say that God demands the best in our lives. He expects our very
best efforts in service, our deepest devotion in worship, and
our most diligent activity in his cause. Every child of God should
be urged to give more liberally, pray more fervently, and strive
more faithfully for the advancement of the kingdom of Christ.
God is never satisfied with a "hand-out of left-overs."
He must come first in our ministrations.
ISRAEL WAS TAUGHT
The law of sacrifice given to Israel
did not permit them to insult Jehovah by offering a sick, maimed,
or deformed lamb from their flocks. The animals offered on God's
altar had to be choice animals, the firstlings of the flock (Ex.
12:5). It was to be a lamb or goat "without blemish,"
a male of the first year. If this restriction had not been made,
if God had not demanded this much respect upon the part of the
worshippers, no doubt some of the people would have offered the
culls or worthless animals from their herds and flocks. God has
never been pleased with less than our best. It is an insult to
God, and reflects on man's sincerity, when only the "crumbs
from the table" are offered to God.
Israel was prone to accept the idolatrous
practices of the heathen nations where they dwelt, and at the
same time keep up a pretense of loyalty to Jehovah. However, the
very first of the ten commandments declared, "Thou shalt
have no other gods before me" (Ex. 20:3). He must be exalted
above all others, "The Lord your God is God of gods, and
Lord of lords" (Deut. 10:17). Note the song of Moses and
the children of Israel, "Who is like unto thee, 0 Lord, among
the gods? who is like thee, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises,
doing wonders?" (Ex. 15:11). God's anger was kindled against
them when they turned to idols. "Why have they provoked me
to anger with their graven images, and with strange vanities"
(Jer. 8:19). They were plainly told, and so are we, that they
should worship no other God (Ex. 34:14). This not only excluded
the heathen gods, but it also excludes the gods of sinful pleasure,
wealth, pride, and lust for power that control the lives of countless
WE PLACE THE LORD?
Too few of us have ever really given
God our best but this is exactly what he demands. Many of us have
a "religion of convenience," if indeed it can be called
religion at all, because we come to worship when we please, work
a little bit when it suits us, and serve ourselves more than we
serve our Lord. Man has been given six days to labor and one day
to worship but man often steals the Lord's Day for his own pleasure
and forgets to worship God. Some profess to be too busy to worship
God. They don't have time they say-their time is employed, their
money is invested, and their attention is focused upon the things
of this world. The creature has not time for his Creator. What
a pitiful plight; no wonder Paul speaks of some whom the god of
this world has blinded, "lest the light of the glorious gospel
of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them"
(2 Cor. 4:4).
WHAT GOD REQUIRES
There are certain things in which
the Lord demands our very best:
1. He demands our deepest love and devotion
in worship, (Jno. 4:23,24).
2. He requires our whole-hearted commitment to his cause, (Mt.
3. He calls for the best service that we can render, (1 Cor.
4. He requests our unswerving loyalty, (Lk. 9:62).
When you sing that familiar song,
"GIVE OF YOUR BEST TO THE MASTER," what does it mean
to you? Is it mere lip service that is being offered to God? In
life, love and labor why not give the Lord the best that you have?
Remember, a hearse is a poor vehicle to come to church in!
J. A. McNutt
What other gods could we have besides
the Lord? Plenty. For Israel there were the Canaanite Baals, those
jolly nature gods whose worship was a rampage of gluttony, drunkenness,
and ritual prostitution. For us there are still the great gods Sex,
Shekels, and Stomach (an unholy trinity constituting one god: self),
and the other enslaving trio, Pleasure, Possessions, and Position,
whose worship is described as The lust of the flesh and the
lust of the eyes and the pride of life (1 John 2:16). Football,
the Firm, and Family are also gods for some. Indeed the list of
other gods is endless, for anything that anyone allows to run his
life becomes his god and the claimants for this prerogative are
legion. In the matter of lifes basic loyalty, temptation is
a many-headed monster.
James Packer, Your Father Loves
Hideyoshi, a Japanese warlord who ruled
over Japan in the late 1500s, commissioned a colossal statue of
Buddha for a shrine in Kyoto. It took 50,000 men five years to build,
but the work had scarcely been completed when the earthquake of
1596 brought the roof of the shrine crashing down and wrecked the
statue. In a rage Hideyoshi shot an arrow at the fallen colossus.
I put you here at great expense, he shouted, and
you cant even look after your own temple.
Today in the Word,
MBI, August, 1991, p. 23