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Devotional - Let’s Bless God For A Change

Discussion in 'Thoughts for Today' started by anthony wade, Mar 12, 2013.

  1. Therefore David blessed the Lord before all the assembly; and David said: “Blessed are You, Lord God of Israel, our Father, forever and ever. – 1Chronicles 29: 10 (NKJV)

    It seems sometimes that modern Christianity has devolved into a “bless me” club. Preachers offer the unlimited blessings of God in exchange for higher offerings and compromise the Gospel in the process. There was a “pastor” on Facebook recently who promised unlimited blessings for the first 100,000 people who “liked” his ministry page! Just turn on what passes for Christian television these days and see that the vast majority preach this bless me theology – either in the obvious prosperity form or other more insidious and subtle ways. Beloved, God has already blessed us. I believe He will continue to do so, but to look towards Him with an open hand seems awfully dismissive of everything He has already done. If He stopped at salvation – would that be enough for us? Wouldn’t the fact that we now have eternal life, overcome the world and have our name written in the Lamb’s Book of Life be enough? Do we have to think that we deserve the bigger house and car too? One of the major problems arising from the bless me theologies is that it turns us into consumers instead of recipients. As consumers we are constantly expecting something instead of being thankful as recipients. When I woke up today I thought; why don’t we bless God for a change?

    God brought me to the key verse for today and the prayer of blessing King David pours out to God that follows. This is occurring right before Solomon is anointed King to succeed David and the building of the temple would begin. David would be prevented from building the temple because God said he had shed too much blood and was a man of war. So, David gets the ball rolling, collects offerings from the people to begin the process of building the temple and then offers up a prayer that the Bible describes as a blessing to God. Within it are keys for us today to take heed of if we intend to bless God as well in our lives. Before getting into the exposition of verses I think it is important to note the backdrop of this story. David wanted to build the temple. It was his vision. God however said no. David did not pick up his ball and go home. He did not petulantly pout about the decision God made. He did not draw a circle in the sand and demand to be allowed to build the temple. He understood the sovereignty of God. In the midst of this denial from God he still sought to bless God.

    Job stood up and tore his robe in grief. Then he shaved his head and fell to the ground to worship. He said, “I came naked from my mother’s womb, and I will be naked when I leave. The Lord gave me what I had, and the Lord has taken it away. Praise the name of the Lord!”In all of this, Job did not sin by blaming God. – Job 1: 20-22 (NLT)

    Likewise, Job chooses to bless the Lord right after hearing about the death of his children and the loss of all of his material wealth! Mixed up within the bless me theologies is a sense that God is somehow here to serve us and not the other way around. So let us not lose sight that David chooses to bless God at a point when his flesh was probably less than pleased at a decision God had made. We too must choose to bless God even when we may not feel like it. Now here is the first portion of David’s blessing:

    Yours, O Lord, is the greatness, The power and the glory, The victory and the majesty;
    For all that is in heaven and in earth is Yours; Yours is the kingdom, O Lord, And You are exalted as head over all. Both riches and honor come from You, And You reign over all. In Your hand is power and might; In Your hand it is to make great And to give strength to all. – 1Chronicles 29: 11-12 (NKJV)


    If we want to bless God we must start with who He is and what belongs to Him. We are entitled to nothing beloved yet He has chosen to give us everything because of His never-ending love, grace and mercy. Everything in heaven and on this earth is His. Everything we own we have because of Him. We did not “earn it.” We do not “deserve it.” Pulling these two verses apart though we see that God is supposed to be exalted as head over all. If we want to truly bless God then we must make Him God over all of our life, not just parts of it. I fear that sometimes we can tend to exalt Him as head over most of our lives, just not quite all of it. We hold back the portions we stubbornly like from our old life. We cling to our secret sins. We walk up to the altar and beg God to take them from us and then walk back to our pew still holding onto them. If we place anything in this life before our God then by definition we are not exalting Him as the head over all. The rich young ruler refused to exalt God over his money and went away sad. Judas refused to exalt God over his politics and greed. How many today still refuse to exalt God over their politics, greed, money, career, anger, lust, fears, anxieties, or sins? If we want to truly bless God then we will make Him Lord over all.

    Secondly from these two verses we see terms we like to use in our Christianese but maybe we do not stop to properly think about what they mean. God possesses all the power, glory, victory and majesty. When we try to lean to our own understanding we act as if we have the power. When we try and take credit for something or even act prideful at all – we rob God of His glory. We cannot celebrate the victories in our lives without God and still think we can bless Him. While these are all important for a life that blesses God I want to stop for a moment on majesty, which is defined as possessing royal authority and sovereignty. I stop here because it seems that it is the majesty of God that we readily dismiss in the middle of bless me theologies. We hear sermons that do not pay proper homage to who God is supposed to be combined with worship music that denigrates who He is and then wonder why so many don’t seem to get this point. Was Abraham a friend of God? Absolutely but it was because God was his Lord first. If we have arrived at the point where we are willing to take a knife to the throat of our only child or pick up everything we have and move to an unknown land for the Lord – then maybe we can consider His friendship. The problem today is we have a generation who considers His friendship without considering His Lordship. If we want our lives to truly bless God then we must see Him as our Lord, ruler over our lives.

    Lastly from these two verses, we need to remember that in the hands of God are all power and might. It seems chic these days to soften the Gospel message. We can preach about how “love wins” or “grace is all you need” but heaven forbid you mention Sodom and Gomorrah. Famed preacher Leonard Ravenhill once said, “If Jesus had preached the same message that ministers preach today, He would never have been crucified.” How sadly and profoundly true. You cannot sum up salvation nor impart it in a mere three sentence prayer and pretending we can is unbridled arrogance before God. The truth is that we have lost the fear of God in this country because it is no longer preached about from the pulpit. The Bible says it is the beginning of wisdom! The Bible says that the man who fears the Lord is blessed! The Bible says we are to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling! Does this mean God wants us cowering in fear of Him? No, of course not. That does not bless Him any more than a life lived as if God was powerless. In my secular job I have a great boss. I also think that I do a pretty good job. When it comes time for review I might feel as if I deserve a salary increase but I would never assume it and take that power of decision away from my boss. The truth is that we assume too much in our Christianity. God is love but God is wrath. Ask Ananias and Sapphira, who were struck dead for lying about how much they received for a piece of property they sold. Ask Uzzah, who was struck dead for touching the Ark of the Covenant. Ask Lot’s wife who disobeyed God and looked back unto Sodom and was turned into a pillar of salt. If we want to bless God we must acknowledge with our lips and lives that He alone has all of the power and stay away from doctrines of devils which seek to strip Him of that power. Here is the next set of verses from the blessing by David:

    “Now therefore, our God, We thank You And praise Your glorious name.But who am I, and who are my people, That we should be able to offer so willingly as this? For all things come from You, And of Your own we have given You.For we are aliens and pilgrims before You, As were all our fathers; Our days on earth are as a shadow, And without hope. – 1Chronicles 29: 13-15 (NKJV)

    There are three things for us to consider here regarding a life that blesses God. First is thanksgiving. I know that we fancy ourselves as thankful creatures but I mean a life lived in thanksgiving. Like we saw from Job – thanking Him at the lowest point in our lives. Sure we thank Him when the promotion comes but what about the pink slip? We thank Him when all the kids are safely tucked into bed but what about when we don’t know where one is? How is our level of thanksgiving in the desert and wilderness? Anyone can thank Him on the mountaintop. I remember the first time I truly understood the term “sacrifice of praise.” It was the Sunday right after the death of someone close to me. Raising my hands that day was a sacrifice. Not because of any anger with God but just because praise was the furthest thing on my mind. But here is the thing beloved – our thanks towards God must be based on who He is – not what we might be going through in our lives at that time. It is the act of thanksgiving that draws Him closer to us and in His presence is fullness of joy. Will our times still be hard? Yes but I would rather face the hard times with God at my right hand than pushed away at a distance:

    David said about him: “‘I saw the Lord always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. – Acts 2: 25 (NIV)

    Secondly, we see the insignificance of man in light of who God is. I know this bruises a lot of egos and rubs against a lot of modern false teachings but this is not about us – it is about God. This is not your best life now, unless you are going to hell. David says here – who are we that we should even take any sense of pride in what we offer because we only have that because of the goodness of God as well! We get so prideful about the silliest things! Think about what David is saying here. If we think we are special because of how much money we give to the church we forget that it is God who provided us with the money to begin with! If we think we are special because of how many ministries we serve in we forget that it is God that gave us our talents and opportunities. If we fancy ourselves righteous we forget that without His blood we are but filthy rags before a holy God. Whatever we have to give to the Lord we only have because He gave it to us first! Acknowledging that will keep us humble and humility greatly blesses the Lord.

    Lastly from the second set of verses is a sobering reminder of what our position is in this life. We are supposed to be aliens and pilgrims – just passing through this fallen world and offering the hope of the cross to those who are perishing.

    Dear friends, I warn you as “temporary residents and foreigners” to keep away from worldly desires that wage war against your very souls. – 1Peter 2: 11 (NLT)

    The truth is we lose too many battles in this war against our souls. We lose those battles because we have chosen as Lot once did to pitch our tents toward Sodom. We cannot pitch a tent in this world. We cannot reside here. The problem is that within the seeker-friendly and bless me theologies there is a great deal of compromise. Instead of trying to save people from the world we try to be relevant to it for them. The end result is that the world is infiltrating the church far more than the church is infiltrating the world.

    Along with this is a sense of urgency in the words of David – our days on earth are but a shadow and without hope. I see Christian books and pundits all talking about how the fallen culture needs to turn back to God. This culture was never turned towards God! This culture was always Sodom! Sure hundreds of years ago the sins were not as severe to the eyes and ears but there also was less commercial medium to share those sins. Is the wickedness increasing as Jesus predicted? Absolutely, but the bible verses about healing our land states that it is the church that must repent – not the world. The things of God are foolishness to them beloved. When the church repents and stops setting up shop in the town square to sell salvation, then we can see God use the church for what He intended it for – to spread the GOSPEL. We cannot however spread the Gospel while living in the very world we are preaching against. Why? Because it is the definition of hypocrisy and it is not lost on the world. Remember, they are unsaved, not stupid. Time is running out and God does not want any to perish according to the Bible but all to come to repentance. If we want our lives to bless God then we must be pilgrims in this world, not settle down in it, and start acting like time is running out. For our unsaved family members who think we are in a cult. For our unsaved friends who never understood what happened to us. For our unsaved co-workers who see Jesus on our sleeves but are looking to find Him in our hearts as well. Do these people matter to us at all? Well if they do, then a life that blesses God acts like they matter.

    That brings us to the end of David’s blessing towards God. It provides us with a framework for how our life is supposed to be before our God if we intend to bless Him. I understand that accomplishing all of this at once, permanently is probably not happening in our lifetime. God understands our human frailties – He should because He created us! That does not mean however that we do not strive towards the goals set forth here. Do we want to bless God? Do we want our lives to be a blessing towards He who controls everything? I know I want mine to be a blessing. I know I fail miserably at times but the first step is in acknowledging that before Him, knowing what does bless Him, and moving in that direction. We must remember that it is in the valley that we especially need to be thankful to God. It blesses Him to know that we still turn to Him – even when the answer is no. When I look back on my life – some of the biggest blessings God gave me was when He said no. I couldn’t see it at the time but now I do. Instead of recapping the points made today – here is how David ended that day:

    Then David said to all the assembly, “Now bless the Lord your God.” So all the assembly blessed the Lord God of their fathers, and bowed their heads and prostrated themselves before the Lord and the king. – 1Chronicles 29: 20 (NKJV)

    What have we been talking about today? What blesses our God? Not just the physical appearance but the inward reality beloved. A heart bowed low before Him and a life laid prostrate before Him. Understanding in complete humility who He is and who we are. He is the Lord and we are His obedient servants. He is the King and we are his loyal subjects. Now armed with the truth from God’s Word – let us bless the Lord our God!



    Reverend Anthony Wade – March 12, 2013

     

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