Isaiah 53:7 Quiet In Affliction

He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth. Isaiah 53:7

The passage that this verse is found in has the most direct prophecy about Jesus of any of the verses in the Old Testament. It gives the reason that Jesus came to the earth. He came to give His life as a sacrifice for the sins of every person.

Here it talks about how Jesus was silent as he was being led to the slaughter. The word slaughter brings about the picture of something being mutilated very badly. He was not just killed in a simple clean way. Before Jesus was even put on the cross, He was beaten and whipped severely, and then had a crown of thorns forced on His head. After all of the extreme brutality done to Him, He was nailed to the cross to hang upon and die. Even while on the cross the people ridiculed Him.

In all of this torture He was silent, because Jesus knew that going through all of that was God’s will for His life. There was a purpose and He hung onto that purpose. That purpose was to bring a full, abundant life to every person on the earth. It had nothing to do with Himself, but everything to do with everyone else.

Being silent is not something easy to do when others are doing wrong to you. People today are very quick to draw up a lawsuit in slander or abuse. Quick to call on authorities to get an arrest made. Quick to throw people in prison or give the a fine.

As you are going through a situation in which someone is slandering you or being rude to you, seek out God’s direction for your actions. Is what is happening occurring because of your belief in God? Or did you actually do something wrong?

If it is because of your belief, ask God to strengthen you to allow Him to be in control. Allow Him to get the vengeance. As Jesus did, show love and mercy. Keep silent while under affliction for Him. Don’t strike back with words that will hurt. Speak in love or keep quiet.

I pray today that you will know the love Jesus has for you; that God will strengthen you to love your enemies; that God will guide you when in affliction; and that you will be a witness of the love of Jesus to everyone.

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2 Samuel 24:24 A Sacrifice Should Be A Sacrifice

But the king replied to Araunah, “No, I insist on paying you for it. I will not sacrifice to the LORD my God burnt offerings that cost me nothing.” 2 Samuel 24:24

After David had sinned against God by taking a census of the people, God had sent a plague on the people killing many. When it was stopped, David chose to offer a sacrifice to God. The place God had the angel stop the plague was over the threshing floor of a man named Araunah. David wanted to buy that place to offer his sacrifice. Araunah was not going to charge David anything, but David insisted on paying for it. He did not want to offer God anything that did not cost him anything.

God no longer requires or expects sacrifices of animals to be done, but He does desire a sacrifice of a person’s heart and time. He wants people to want to give completely of themselves, their time, and their abilities to His work. When a person gives of these things, it can be a sacrifice.

However, often, in a church, a person does not really sacrifice to God his time, heart or abilities. It is common for people to give of their excess to God. Or when they do not have anything to do, they decide to do something for God.

Sacrificing to God means that it will cost you something. It may hurt a little to a lot to give what is being given. In life, you are most likely very busy taking care of yourself, family, work, others, and the list goes on. To sacrifice to God, is to put all of those things aside for a moment and do something for God.

This sacrifice can be taking extra time to worship Him, rather than watch a game on tv. Or it may be praying longer for someone else instead of playing a game. It can be giving some extra offering for a need, rather than eat out at the restaurant.

Giving of a sacrifice must be a sacrifice to you. It must cost you something, otherwise it is not really a sacrifice.

How much are you giving to God?

Is it just your excess?

Or is it a sacrifice to God?

I pray today that you will trust God in your giving to Him; that God will show you what you need to give and how much to give; that you will not fear giving God too much; and that you will sacrifice your heart to God.

 

1 Samuel 15:23 Rejection Is Rebellion

“For rebellion is like the sin of divination, and arrogance like the evil of idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the LORD, he has rejected you as king.” 1 Samuel 15:23

King Saul had chosen to not completely destroy the enemy after being told to do so. He had rejected God’s word to him. Samuel told him that it is better to obey God than to offer sacrifices. What King Saul did was seen as rebellion and arrogance, both of which are sinful like idolatry. Since Saul had rejected God’s word to him, God had rejected him.

Very few people would consider themselves as a rebellious person. To most people, the rebellious person is the one who goes against all rules and norms and fights everyone.

It is most common to look at teenagers as the rebellious person. Later it is the people who fights the system, or dresses extremely wild ways, or dies their hair strange colors, or covers their bodies in tattoos.

Many believers in Jesus, however, can be seen as rebellious. Yes they claim to believe in Jesus and go to church and read the Bible all the time, but they reject doing what God has told them to do.

Going to church and reading the Bible are only surface or outward things in your life. It really comes down to the heart and your actions. Once you hear a sermon at church or read a passage in the Bible, you must then put into action what you have heard or read.

God speaks through the minister or His Word–the Bible to you. He gives instructions in how to live life and what to do or not to do.

Are you being rebellious and not doing what God has told you to do? It is the same as going to false gods for guidance and help.

Are you being arrogant in thinking that you do not have to do what God has told you to do? It is the same as worshipping an idol. That idol is you.

Do not be rebellious against God’s word today. Take His word to heart and obey all of His commands. When you accept and obey God’s Word, He accepts you. God will never let  you down or harm you. He is only looking out for your best. Do you trust Him?

I pray today that you will know God’s commands to you; that you will not reject His commands; that you will not be rebellious against God; and that you will obey God in every area of your life.

Hebrews 13:15 Continue To Offer Praise

“Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise–the fruit of lips that openly profess his name.” Hebrews 13:15

As the author of Hebrews closes out this letter, he gives some final advice. One of these is to continue to offer praise to God. The entire book looks at who Jesus is and what He has done for everyone. Through Jesus believers are able to praise God for what He has done.

Part of this offering of praise is that it is to be a sacrifice. This means that it is done even when one does not feel like doing it.

Giving God praise can only be done when one feels that He is deserving it. This is very easy when everything is going right and smooth. No one has a problem giving God praise when everything is going just like it is supposed to be.

When things start going bad and everything breaks down and goes the wrong way, that is when it becomes a sacrifice to still praise God. It is laying down your desires at the feet of Jesus and allowing Him to be in control of your life.

Everyone believes they know what is best for their own lives, but only God really knows what is best. Giving God praise when everything is going against your desires is telling Him that you know He is in control. It tells God that you believe He knows what is best for your life.

Allow the words that you speak throughout your days profess the name of Jesus and how great He is. Speak words that point out how close He is to you while going through a hard time. Tell others how you know that God is in control of your bad situation. Talk about how you know that somehow God will bring about good in everything bad happening. These are ways to give God praise.

What do your words say about God today?

I pray today that you will give God praise in all situations; that you will trust God with your entire life; that you will know that God is in control of everything; and that your whole life will be one of praise to God.

Hebrews 10:17-18 No Sacrifice Needed

“Then he adds: ‘Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more.’ And where these have been forgiven, sacrifice for sin is no longer necessary.” Hebrews 10:17-18

In this passage, the author of Hebrews quotes Jeremiah about God stating He will no longer remember the sins of the people. This quote came from a time when the temple still existed and the priests had to offer sacrifices. It was looking forward to the time of Jesus, when Jesus would remove the sins of all the people.

In most of the world the idea of offering animal sacrifices to cover or remove sins is virtually non-existent. Yet the practice of sacrificing because of sins happens a lot.

Many believers in the church know that they have sinned against God and have repented of those sins. However, they live their lives as though Jesus has not forgiven them.

It is often seen of a person who believes in Jesus, who has committed a sin, continue to ask God forgiveness for the same sin. When he prays he asks for forgiveness for a sin that has been repented of and forgiven two years ago.

Others will also punish themselves for the sin they did a long time ago. They might state that they cannot teach Sunday School because three years ago they did some “great” sin and therefore are not worthy to teach. Others will put themselves into some kind of hard ministry to make up for their sin, trying to please God.

Still others will try to give extra-large amounts of money in the offering to please God since they had sinned. Some will suddenly feel they must be a missionary to Africa, to pay God for their sins.

These are just some ways that people sacrifice today to God for their sins. God does not need your sacrifice for your sins. God just wants your repentance and obedience. Jesus paid for your sins. You do not need to pay for them again. What Jesus did was enough.

Be willing to accept the forgiveness that Jesus gives you and forgive yourself. Now work at living for God in what He has done for you and given you.

I pray today that you will know the forgiveness Jesus has given you; that you will no longer condemn yourself; that you will not try to pay for your sins; that you will turn from your sins; and that you will live your whole life for Jesus.

Hebrews 10:5-7 Not Sacrifice, But Service

“Therefor, when Christ came into the world, he said: Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but a body you prepared for me; with burnt offerings and sin offerings you were not pleased. Then I said, Here I am–it is written about me in the scroll–I have come to do your will, my God.” Hebrews 10:5-7

Even though God had set up the Old Testament Law of offerings and sacrifices, it was not what He ultimately wanted. All of those sacrifices could not remove sin nor change the heart of a person. The Law was just a set up to get the people ready for Jesus, who was prophesied about while Adam and Eve were in the Garden of Eden, several thousand years before the Law came into existence.

People have a love-hate relationship with rules and regulations. They like them because then they know what they can get by with and still be legal. At the same time they hate them because it points out what they cannot do legally.

Look anywhere in the world and you can see that rules do not change hearts. People will still break the rules and follow their own ways, trying to not get caught.

When Jesus came, He came saying He was there to do the will of His Father. His heart was in the right place. As a believer you are to be just like Jesus.

Just like a parent wants their children to want to do the right thing, God wants His children to want to do the right thing. You were also prophesied about as being one of the many children of Abraham and one of the many to follow Jesus. In a sense “it was written about” you “in the scroll.”

How are you living your life?

Are you trying to offer sacrifices and offerings to God to please Him?

Or are you trying to please Him by doing His will?

Find out what God wants you to do and do it. That will please God. He wants your heart and service, not the sacrifice and offering.

I pray today that you will know God’s will for your life; that God will have your heart; that your life will be one of service to and for God; and that God will use you to reach this world for Jesus.

Romans 12:1 A Living Sacrifice

“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God–this is your true and proper worship.” Romans 12:1

Paul had just talked about how God’s mercy brings salvation to both the Israelites and the Gentiles. Since this is the case, believers are to keep God’s great mercy in mind and offer their bodies as a living sacrifice. This is called true and proper worship.

In the Old Testament times, worship of God was done by sacrificing an animal on an altar. An animal was chosen that was without any defects and laid upon the altar. It was then killed and burned as a sacrifice of worship to God.

When Jesus died on the cross, He became the saving sacrifice for all time and all people. Unlike the sacrifices in the Old Testament for covering of sins, His sacrifice does not need to be repeated by anyone ever again. Yet, there needs to be sacrifices of worship to God.

Paul is stating that you should offer your body as a living sacrifice. You do not have to physically die on the altar, but your body must be sacrificed.

Sacrificing your body is doing God’s will with your physical abilities despite what you or your body wants to do. It is going the extra mile to help someone out, or to tell someone about Jesus. It is loosing that extra sleep in order to build someone else up in Jesus. It is denying sinful acts to live a testimony of who Jesus is. It is refusing to live in sin. It is going out of your way to be a witness to others.

Doing God’s desire is the greatest form of worship a person can give God. Speaking praises to God is good, but if the heart is not in it, and there is no action to back it up, it becomes meaningless. Jesus said that if you really love Him you would obey Him. This is the meaning of a living sacrifice–to obey God and do what He desires, even at the cost of your physical being.

Are you really worshiping God today? Or are you just speaking words of worship?

Are you worshiping God? Or are you worshiping yourself?

I pray today that you will know the mercy God has for you; that you will offer your body as a living sacrifice to God; that you will obey God’s desires for your life; and that you will be His witness everywhere you go.