Reading the Bible through with me? Then grab your pen and journal and read 1 Chronicles 19-21. In chapter 21, after Yahweh had given David victories over many of his enemies, David decided to do a census of military eligible men in the kingdom. It seemed innocuous, yet even Joab the warrior and commander of the military protested. (vv. 3-4). The census, when completed, left David realizing his guilt. He had sought security and comfort in the size of his army rather than the size of his God. When David repented, God forgave him, but would not speak to him directly. He chose to speak through Gad the prophet. God said he had three choices: three years of famine, three months of running from his enemies, or three days of pestilence. David chose the last of the three. But after 70,000 deaths, God was merciful and relented. This event reminds us of three things.
1) Sins might be forgiven but consequences are inevitable and often hurt the innocent.
2) Every follower of Jesus and especially those who are spiritual leaders should be people of prayer, faith, and obedience. Our strength, hope, and security are not based on the expanse of our resources, but it IS in the size and character of our God.
3) Giving, particularly sacrificial giving, is an act of worship, submission, and faith. Look at 21:24 - I will not offer anything that cost me nothing.
In 50 years as a Christian and 46 years in vocational ministry, I have sacrificed little for God. Money, time, energy/effort. Most of my life has been comfortable. I look back over my life and see how He has blessed, protected, and provided for me. But when I am honest in my evaluation of myself, I must confess that times of sacrifice have cost me little. It is a shame and dishonors God! What to do? Repent of selfishness and self-protective attitudes and live out a faith that trusts God even when the cost of doing so is great. Love passionately. Give generously. Serve humbly. Trust and obey God. For all that God has done for us, He deserves our best. Hold nothing back. Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and trust Him to provide all that you need.
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