Sunday, September 2, 2007

For the joy set before you

"Why do you scorn my sacrifice and offering that I prescribed for my dwelling? Why do you honor your sons more than me by fattening yourselves on the choice parts of every offering made by my people Israel?" 1 Samuel 2:29

Hophni and Phinehas, sons of the priest Eli, were wicked men with no regard for the LORD (vs. 12). Whenever a man of Israel came to offer a sacrifice unto the LORD, the two sons demanded the choicest part of the offering for themselves, and threatened to take it by force if it was not given to them. Rather than let the fat of the sacrifice be offered first, as commanded (Leviticus), they required it for themselves. "This sin of the young men was very great in the LORD's sight, for they were treating the LORD's offering with contempt." (vs. 17). Additionally, the two brothers were sleeping with the women who served at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting (vs. 22).

The father Eli provided only a verbal rebuke to his two sons (vs. 23-35) and disregarded the laws in Leviticus that prescribed the consequences for such rebellious sons. The LORD asked Eli why he scorned the sacrifice and offering that He had prescribed for His dwelling.
"Why do you honor your sons more than me by fattening yourselves on the choice parts of every offering...?"

If I were a parent, I'd probably start pointing my finger at the parental faults of Eli here. However, I am not. And I've told you ladies that I could not and would not speak upon something of which the LORD had not already brought me through, or taught me. So, I'll let you contend with that one for me :)

My heart has been attached to this part of the verse: "
choice parts of every offering." The two sons demanded the first part of the offering, the best portion, for themselves. And I ached. I ached for the occasions in which I have demanded, and sometimes even kept by force, the choice part of my offering from the LORD. (Is it really even an offering unto Him at that point? Surely not). I ached for the moments when I deceived myself into thinking that the 'choice' part of the offering God had called forth from my life actually belonged to me. What ownership do I have over anything? None.

The KJV rendering actually poses the question in this form: "Why do you kick
at My sacrifice and at My offering..." To 'kick' here means 'to trample down.'

Have I not at some point participated in the same kicking session that Hophni and Phinehas have? Have I not trampled upon the altar of God with my demands to keep what I believed belonged to me?

Have we not clung tightly to the 'best' portion of our offering, pridefully convincing ourselves that what we did offer to Him was enough? Have we not allowed the sin of unbelief to inhibit us from offering our all to Him, believing that if we did, it wouldn't be for our own good?

Even more, as the sons slept with the women outside of the Tent of Meeting, have I not spiritually prostituted myself to another god en route to my sacrifice? The god of self undoubtedly was an idol that kept me from offering my choicest parts.
I have done as the father Eli: honoring myself above Him, "fattening myself with the choice parts of the offering".

I am not here to bring a spirit of condemnation against you ladies. I am only claiming that I have worn a Hophni, Phinehas, and Eli name tag during moments of my life, and it has cost me far more than what the 'cost' of the offering would have. And I don't want that for you.

Because you see, when you get the privilege of gaining more of Christ Jesus, the 'cost' of offering the choice part of the sacrifice is really no cost at all. When the Lord asks you to sacrifice something unto Him, He wholly consumes it. (Leviticus 9:24). He knows what your heart has had to lay upon that altar. But do you know the One who consumes it? Do you grasp that anything He has asked you to lay down has been for a greater gain for His glory and your life? Can you comprehend that one of the greatest blessings in the offering is the possibility of 'simply' getting to know and love Him more?

"
Why do you scorn my sacrifice and offering that I prescribed for my dwelling," the LORD asked Eli. And yet ultimately, the sacrifice and offering of the very indwelling form of God, made man, had to be scorned, kicked, and crucified. Our LORD did not keep for Himself the choice part of the offering - He gave it all: His Firstborn, the One and Only, His Son. "For the joy set before him, He endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God (Hebrews 12:2)." He knew that a greater joy awaited His obedience to His Father's will. It is the same for you siestas. He Himself is the exceedingly great Reward (Genesis 15:1). Where there is a sacrifice of death to something in your life, there is always resurrection power on the other side.

May we cease kicking at the altar of our hearts with our self-exalting 'sacrifices.' May we identify the lie that if we gave Him the 'choice' part of the offering, we would be left with less. He Himself is the joy set before you. Sweet sister, He is a for you God that is willing to give you all of Himself in place of that which was offered. Grab hold of the nail-scarred hand of your Father. What more could we ask for?

20 comments:

Lindsee said...

"Have we not allowed the sin of unbelief to inhibit us from offering our all to Him, believing that if we did, it wouldn't be for our own good?"

Speak it, sister. Good word tonight. Sometimes it is so hard for me to remember that HE is my great reward, nothing else. What are we fixing our eyes on istead?! We run after the land so often, when HE'S RIGHT in front of our face.

Thank you friend for this truth!

Love ya,
Linds

(P.S. Siesta Fiesta, if you don't meet before than, we BETTER meet in real life than. You, me and abby..I can see it now!!!)

Kelly S. said...

wow, I'll have to think on this a while. I know that I have worn all these name tags too. I want to pray and ask God where I am holding back. Thanks for calling me on this one....once again I am thankful for His GRACE.

Darla said...

Amen! All for HIM, and HE is for us...if the sacrifice is not for HIM it really is a waste of time. Praying for more of HIM and none of me. Girl, you speak some truth! Praying for you (and your blonde moments..LOL..I am sure it was just a case of nerves being new and all) Love ya, princess to princess

Little Steps Of Faith said...

Love it:) I can't wait to dig into my disciple class so I can learn who you are teaching us about:)
You rock siesta:)

Ang

mandy said...

glad you're preaching again....
:)
i'm so totally looking forward to what you'll be discovering in the next few years.
love you

Treasures in the darkness said...

Preach it, preacher girl! I love when you blog this stuff! Sound a lot like what God is teaching me, as my last blog says, I will write the rest when He is finished working in me!:)

Fran said...

Oh Shelly...This is so completely true...i felt no condemnation but completely fell in love with Him and His grace all over again....it really is almost too much to understand when our nametags can be all too wrong...."thank you Jesus for your forgiveness, love, and patience."

Blessings

Sharon said...

When words are from God there should always be conviction. Convicted I am.
I sacrificed to a god yesterday. Repenting today.
Thank you for the truth in words.

jen said...

Amen Amen Amen. wow. When the Lord speaks, He speaks. Great job on the devo, Siesta.

Hugs and prayers from Tx.

Little Steps Of Faith said...

Shells,

come look at my page...I want to know if you think I am staying on topic and the right page lol.

We all will have to give an account to what we believe, so I challenged myself to write a message that has not been given at church by my Pastor, because he is ill in the hospital.

Help, dear siesta!

Be Blessed:)

Ang

connorcolesmom said...

Oh He is my JOY!!
How true that I have also worn the same belief that something is mine and I can give God the leftovers.
Thank you for the reminder that all is HIS and we are so blessed by giving Him the best of ourselves.
Love,
Kim

Lisa said...

Wow - you have spoken right to my heart AGAIN!! I, too, have worn those tags. As a matter of fact, I am in the midst of such a struggle. Remember me as you pray!
Keep up with the Good Word - I love to read your posts.
Blessings,
Lisa

Patty said...

My Soul Sister. :o)

Great word to all of us!! I learn something every time I read your teachings. God's anointing is on you!!! You know I have been guilty of keeping the best and offering God leftovers. It breaks my heart and I know it broke his. He is all I need, I learned that the hard way but would not trade his teaching me for anything in the world.
May God show off for you on your new journey with HIM. Your love for Jesus shines through. His radiance is evident in your life!! I am sad that you won't be at D.S. but I understand. I am going to the siesta fiesta next year. Kim and I have bought our tickets and reserved our hotel rooms.
Love you,
Patty

P.S. I laughed my head off at the Cosby connection. We have to have a Cosby Marathon one day. :o)

Ang baylis said...

You are so right! I also give Him my leftovers!

Thank you for sharing this word with us! I too, need to look up who these people are! You are so smart!

Much love,
Angie xoxo

Kathleen Marie said...

This is an excellent study and as a parent I do point my finger at Eli -a little bit- but then I have four pointed back at me... As a parent though, you do your best, pray your children will put Christ first and beg forgiveness for all your mistakes. It is up to the adult child to decide what is right and just.

I can't force my kids but as a parent of three adults I do my best to direct them in the right way and I notice that even my own parents like to still correct their "little girl" (at age 50+) from time to time.

Parenting never stops, ever.

Aside from all that, this is an excellent study to be delved into more deeply.

God Bless!

CrownLaidDown said...

Today, LORD I choose to give my choice firstfruits. I love to give to You...and have been blessed because of it!

A good Word, Shelly! Praying for you and each and every day to bring some delightful new treasures and adventures that you'd never trade for a thousand glasses of sweet tea. :)
Love you much in Jesus,
Holly

PS Even though I hail from Texas, did you know that I'm a yankee (born and lived outside Alton, IL for 10 years)? I even learned to make some good southern food and sweet tea...so perhaps you can teach those good folks to make some tasty down home cookin' and they'll learn to say, "Now that's good eatin'!" :)

The Preacher's Wife said...

Glad you are back! You haven't turned Yankee on us yet have you?? :))

Lisa

Taylor said...

Hi there...my name is Taylor and I am twenty years old...I am visiting your blog via LPM. This it the first comment I have ever left on a blog, so I hope all goes well! I just want to tell you that your current blog posting has spoken volumes to my present season of life. It is one more confirmation from my Living God that I have truly obeyed Him. He has asked me, without any details, to sacrifice to Him a relationship...and believe me, it makes no earthly/common sense to do so. But He asked. And so I have. This the first day in...and all I know to do is trust. And I just want to say for anyone who needs reminding as I so often have: He is so worth any sacrifice He requires. Praise You, Jesus. May we dedicate our lives as altars to You and hear You speak directly from the "mercy seat" (Numbers 7).

Sacchiel said...

This has really helped me!

Brittani's Holding Little Hands said...

What wonderful wisdom and insight you have. Are you sure you are only 24?.. I want to see the birth certificate:)

Thank you for sharing such truth.