In the Bible, we read that God commanded the sacrifice of animals and the shedding of their blood to atone for the people’s sins. This was at a time before Jesus came and paid for our sins collectively. Why did God ask for the sacrifices in the Old Testament? In many ways, it was to show the people that they couldn’t be good enough to be redeemed. At least on their own, they couldn’t.

In the book of Kings, God told Saul that He desired obedience more than a sacrifice. Why is obedience more important to God than sacrifice? Because He asks us to do something for Him and since He is God it is expected of His children to obey. If you are a Christian, you have been adopted into God’s family. He asked Jesus to take on the sins of the world and pay the penalty for those sins so we would not have to pay it. Since we are children of God, shouldn’t we obey Him in all things…every day?

The blessing that we have been given through Jesus is not something that we have earned, it is given to us through faith in Jesus’ sacrifice for us. We must believe in His sacrifice and in order to believe in it and place our faith in Him we were given the grace and the faith to believe. We didn’t conjure it up on our own, it was given to us through God’s mercy and His grace toward us because of Jesus.

God saw each of us down through time and He knew that we would need Jesus at a certain point in our lives. Then, He provided us with the faith to recognize that we were sinners in need of a Savior so we would seek Him out. I know that some people don’t like the idea that they didn’t have anything to do with their salvation other than to believe in Him and accept it but that is how God works. When you feel His touch in your life regardless of where you may be at the time, respond to Him and accept His gift of grace. The opportunity may not come again.

Do you seek God’s counsel?

Many of us pray and ask for God’s help in our lives, but are you listening for His counsel? Or are you just giving Him a list of things that you want, and then ending the prayer with “in Jesus’ name, Amen”?

Prayer is needed in our world today and it is necessary for us to communicate with God about our lives and our needs (although He knows what you need). But our prayers shouldn’t be like a child’s list to Santa in Jesus’ name!

Seeking the counsel and the wisdom of God can and should be done through prayer but in order to hear God’s counsel you have to be willing to do something…listen! You don’t just spout off a prayer and “thank you, Lord, in Jesus’ name, Amen” and then go about your business as if you haven’t engaged God in your day!!

When God called Gideon he gave him a command but He also gave him the ability to perform that which He was calling him to do. Read it here:

The Call of Gideon

11 Then the Angel of the LORD came and sat down under the oak in Ophrah that belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, where his son Gideon was threshing wheat in a winepress to hide it from the Midianites. 12 And the Angel of the LORD appeared to Gideon and said, “The LORD is with you, mighty warrior.”

13 “Pardon me, Sir,” Gideon replied, “but if the LORD is with us, why has all this happened to us? And where are all His wonders about which our fathers told us, saying, ‘Has, not the LORD brought us up out of Egypt?’ But now the LORD has forsaken us and delivered us into the hand of Midian.”

14 The LORDa turned to him and said, “Go in the strength you have and deliver Israel from the hand of Midian. Am I not sending you?”  Judges 6: 11-14

Gideon tested the Lord after this to be sure he was hearing Him right, but the point of this passage is that Gideon listened and obeyed God. It is likely that many in Israel had been praying for deliverance from the Midianites, but God chose someone who would do what He told him and how He told him to do it. God knew that Gideon would listen and obey and that is what is needed in the church today!

Our churches do some great things by shepherding the people who have been called by God to be the church. Teaching them from God’s Word and teaching the next generation about God and what His Word says. But…how many of the churches in the world today are stepping out in faith and walking with God in these things? Are the churches today more interested in how many people show up for services on Sundays or do they go out at all into the community and take the love of Jesus with them to those who need to hear it?

Those in the church may say, “Well, that’s the preacher’s job.”, today most preachers are busy trying to take care of their own families. Paying bills, working a second job just to make the ends come close during the month, that is what most pastors are doing. Some have the time but aren’t able to get out and make house calls on those in the community.

What would Jesus do?

If I asked that question today, most would say that He is God so He can do anything for anyone. Well, didn’t He tell us through His disciples to go and tell others about the gospel and take it to all generations and to all the world? Are we doing that or do we eat lunch and go home (or go home and eat lunch) and think that’s for someone else to do? Do you leave church feeling inspired to do something for Jesus and then the fire goes out on the way home?

Seek Him in His Word today, pray about what you read and listen for His voice in what you read and when you pray. Actively reading God’s Word with prayer is the best way to hear from Him that I know. Then, if He tells your heart to do something…go out and do it! God told Gideon to save Israel and he did, if He tells you to go and tell someone in your family about Him then do it!