Monday, April 22, 2013

no excuses

Read I Samuel 15 and Hebrews 10

Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice. I Samuel 15:22

In explaining one of his adventures, our son told us, “It is easier asking forgiveness than asking permission.” He told us that humorously, of course. There were certain things he was going to do, and he was not terribly concerned whether we as his parents approved or not. The adrenaline rush had much more authority in his life at that time than his parents. Nonetheless, he did still care for us. And he did understand that he had all the privileges of a son in that we gave him food and a bed and the society of a family. He was sincere in wanting to get along with us and he did feel bad that he was doing things that he knew we would not approve. But, as you can imagine, this was not a situation that could last while he was living under our roof unless, of course, we abdicated as parents.

Saul’s rationalizing to Samuel that the reason he did not follow God’s orders to destroy everything of the Amelikites was because he wanted to save the best of the cattle to sacrifice to God, was so foolish as to be humorous. God was not impressed.

I’ve never heard anyone accept as literal what the Lord said, “And if your eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into the hell of fire.” Matthew 18:9 I agree that the Lord is not promoting the practice of tearing out your eyes, but I do believe the Lord is speaking literally. What our Lord is saying  is that we should not make any excuse to disobey what the Lord tells us to do.

Of course we all sin. Anyone who says he does not sin is a liar. But we may never rationalize our sin. We may never say we had no choice but to disobey God’s authority.

When God tells us to not hate, to turn the other cheek, to not allow any root of bitterness to spring up, to not bite and devour each other, to pray without ceasing, to give thanks in everything, to avoid all sexual impropriety, to long for the Lord’s appearance, to not isolate ourselves from an assembly of Believers …those are all things we are obligated to do. We may not excuse our bad behavior. We may not suggest that since God is loving and long suffering, regardless of what we do, “He’ll get over it. Anyways, isn’t that why Jesus died on the cross, to take care of all our sins?” see Romans 6:1

God is a forgiving God. He is an overwhelmingly forgiving God. And the sacrifice of His Precious Son is totally efficacious. But, how dare we think that because of this, we can get away with disregarding His authority?

In Psalm 51:16, 17 & 19, after David’s horrible sin, David wrote, “For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it; you will not be pleased with a burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and a contrite heart.  Then you will delight in right sacrifices, in burnt offerings and whole offerings.”

So what is the difference between the unacceptable and the acceptable sacrifice? The acceptable sacrifice, the sacrifice that comes with forgiveness is the one in which a person accepts the authority of God and does not make allowances for his disobedience to it.

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