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Burnt Offerings
by A. Pennington
Not For Sale
Author requests article critique


So…I made a covenant with the Lord one year ago today…no dating…pursuing a relationship for 1 year…I would just be dating Jesus. This meant that I would say no to anyone who pursued me, no matter how persistent and no matter the fashion-the answer would be-no. I can say that I made it through that, I said no to anyone who tried to pursue me-maybe I was a little mean when I said no, but that is a whole other story. I didn’t go on a date with anyone…I haven’t spent time alone with a guy…nothing of that sort.

However, there is one thing missing. Just because I didn’t go on a date with someone or have coffee with them does not mean that my heart and my longings weren’t some where else. I have been talking a lot to the Lord about this past year; what have I learned, what has the Lord so graciously shown me, what do I need to do to continue pressing forward, where have I come from and the most important to me-have I grown?

Matthew 6:21 says, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” How often do we tell ourselves that we are doing something for the Lord…but really…we aren’t. We are so easily deceived. Or perhaps we are doing something for the Lord but it’s half heartedly. How can the Lord bless something that we half heartedly do?

In 2 Samuel 24:18-25 you will find a conversation between Araunah and David. Gad asked David to go to the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite so that he may build an altar to the Lord. When he arrived Araunah asked, “Why has my lord the king come to his servant?” David replied, “To buy the threshing floor from you, to build an altar to the Lord, that the plague may be withdrawn from the people.” Araunah said to David, “Let my lord the king take and offer up whatever seems good to him. Look, here are oxen for burnt sacrifice, and threshing implements and the yokes of the oxen for wood. All these, O king, Araunah has given to the king” Then Araunah said, “May the Lord you God accept you.”

So basically Araunah was telling David that he could take all these things and give them up as an offering to the Lord, he didn’t have to purchase them, they would be given freely.

However….David said to Araunah… “No, but I will surely buy it from you for a price; nor will I offer burnt offerings to the Lord my God with that which costs me nothing.” So David bought the threshing floor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver. And David built there an altar to the Lord, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings. So the Lord heeded the prayers for the land, and the plague was withdrawn from Israel.

I think we can learn something from this. Just as David said, “I will not offer burnt offerings to the Lord my God with that which costs me nothing..” we too can apply that to our lives. It will cost us something to be a follower of Jesus Christ. It will cost us our life. We can’t ride the fence, we must choose, hot or cold.

The church in Laodicea did not understand that. “So then, because you are lukewarm and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth.” {Revelation 3:16} We can’t offer burnt offerings to the Lord. I can’t say “Oh Lord, my Sweet Jesus, I want to spend the next year dating You, growing closer to You!” and then never give my heart or my longings to Him. It is only an outside affection, nothing true. Nothing deeper than the skin. It’s a burnt offering to a Holy God who deserves so much more!

Have you presented a burnt offering to our Loving God? I know I have-basically this whole past year. I can’t say I haven’t learned anything, because I have learned a lot. I’m not where the Lord wants me to be and I know I would have grown more if I had just placed it all on the altar a year ago. I wonder, I question, what would be different? But I can’t dwell on that. Matthew 6:34, “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” Dwelling means worry and I am called by the words of Jesus Christ Himself to not worry. Today has enough troubles of its own; there is no need to ponder about the past or the future. The past can’t be changed but the future…well there is always lots of prayer!

So…I start over…I keep pressing on. I can’t give up, if I give up now, I lose everything I have gained in my walk with God. Starting over, this is going on starting over number 4 and I really don’t want a number 5. There might be-I pray not.
“The genius of Christianity is that true fulfillment is found, not through comfortable ego-fulfillment, but through painful tedious service.” (Phillip Yancy) It is always going to be hard, we shouldn’t think any thing else. I mean, of course with Jesus it makes it easier. But lets be real here-we are dieing the flesh, giving up something we want and willingly submitting unto Christ. We are humans and that is why God has most graciously reminded us in 2 Corinthians 12:9, “And He said to me, My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness….” He fits perfectly with us in our weakness, not with our pride and selfish ambition. God doesn’t want to hear us say, “I can handle this one” or “I think I’m okay this time”. He wants to watch us surrender our hearts and longings, willingly place it all in His hands. It is then that he begins to work and not until. He can’t work on something that we don’t give Him. It’s not that He wont, it’s that He can’t. He can’t work on the “nothingness” that we haven’t given to Him. That “nothingness” should be our lives, our wants, our longings, our hurts, our joy, our happiness, our pride, anything and everything because he wants ALL of us. We are His creation. “I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.” {John 14:18}

Can’t we get it? How long does it take? GOD LOVES US! God IS love! He died on the cross for our sins! And yet, we are ready to present burnt offerings before Him. Oi vey little sheep! We must wake up! We are being deceived by the enemy!

It really is Amazing Love that Jesus Christ has for us. Despite our discontentment in life and our endless complaining….He waits. He always waits. Patiently. And when we come back, He embraces us as if we had never left.
So my fellow flock, we must willingly surrender everything to Him and take into serious consideration the offering we are putting on the altar.

What will you say to God Almighty, Creator of everything, on judgment day when He asks you of your burnt offering? Perhaps there should be a time of repentance for some of us; I know there is for me. I pray for you my dear friends. We serve a Merciful, Compassionate, Loving, Caring, JUST, Righteous, Gracious, Sovereign, Holy, Bountiful, Faithful, Good, Jealous, Infinite, Omnipotent, Omnipresent, Omniscient, Longsuffering Father who desires to have an intimate relationship with YOU.

Don’t wait any longer, repent and start over. Don’t wait another moment. He wants the best for you. Don’t you want to give Him what He deserves?

The choice is yours… “choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve…”
Joshua 24:15

starting over,

A. Pennington

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