August 12, 2012
God Not Only Gives, God Graciously Receives
“I know also, my God, that You test the heart and have pleasure in uprightness. As for me, in the uprightness of my heart I have willingly offered all these things; and now with joy I have seen Your people, who are present here to offer willingly to You. O Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, our fathers, keep this forever in the intent of the thoughts of the heart of Your people, and fix their heart toward You” (1 Chronicles 29:17,18).
What can we possibly give that would bring pleasure to God? Not one of us has ever given to God anything that was not flawed or incomplete. Is there any offering within our power to give that would not offend the majesty of God? It seems almost presumptuous to think of our “giving” to God. And yet, we’re not only encouraged to give, we’re encouraged to believe that our gifts are truly significant to our Creator.
The very desire that we have to give to God is, of course, a response to God’s love for us. John wrote, “In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us . . . We love Him because He first loved us” (1 John 4:10,19). In any giving between us and the Creator, it is always God who takes the initiative. Whatever we give is only a giving back to God. “For all things come from You, and of Your own we have given to You” (1 Chronicles 29:14).
It remains true, however, that we can give to God. And although our gifts fall short of the perfection God deserves, the wondrous truth is that God is still ready to receive them. Jesus went so far as to say, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me” (Revelation 3:20). The Lord is eager to enjoy our sincere hospitality. God is pleased to dine at our table!
Even so, it takes a certain courage to offer ourselves back to God. We are tempted to think that none of our feeble efforts to love God will make any difference with God. But they will indeed. When we continue to offer God whatever we can, getting back up after each defeat and resisting the devil’s suggestion that we ought to give up and quit, what we’re offering to God is a loyal heart. And not only does God find real joy in this gift, God surrounds us with the strength to move forward. “For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him” (2 Chronicles 16:9).
“God hears no sweeter music than the cracked chimes of the courageous human spirit ringing in imperfect acknowledgment of his perfect love” (Joshua Loth Liebman).