You may recognise this image, or even the feeling ‘But I Love this one’. I can assure you, that is me. When you spend many days and weeks and years in the desert, in the waiting (but active), in the longing, you could be tempted to grab the very first breakthrough fruit.
In the old days, God commanded men to offer Him the first-fruits. Whether it was from the field (figs, pomegranates, …) or from cattle (the first baby lamb) God was desiring from men that they give it to Him. Why would He do that? A farmer had to wait for quite some time to receive the first fruits, and since the harvest most often proceeded after a long period of plowing, sowing, watering, caring, you could assume that it was very tempting to eat of the first fruit and give the second line of produce to the temple to be used for things.
But perhaps God has a reason for this way of asking it from us. Could God be up to something? There is a famous story in the Bible about Abraham, the 90yrs plus old man that was promised by God that his offspring will be as the sand of the earth. Now that is a large number. If you want a very rough estimation (1), it looks like this just for Australia:
Roughly 7.5 billion cubic meters of sand.
A grain of sand is about 0.1 mm across, so 1 000 billion per cubic meter.
So we are talking (oh so very very roughly) about 7500 billion billion grains of sand along our Australian coastline:
7 500 000 000 000 000 000 000 = a lot
God does not lie
Now returning to what I was getting at: that is (roughly) a lot of grains of sand. We believe that God does not lie (2) so he knew what He was talking about to Abraham. God finally gave Abraham a son, because Abraham had kept believing God. Abraham kept his faith in that God is not a liar, and that He will do what He has promised. Then God goes on and asks Abraham to give his only son Isaac to Him as an offering.
In my perception it sounds incomprehensible. Finally Abraham received 1 of the 7 500 000 … (i’m not going to do this) sons and offsprings God promised him, and here God goes and asks Abraham to give Isaac back to Him (see the image?). Can you relate to Abraham, after years of waiting, years of being laughed at when Abraham told his kin about God’s promise, after finally receiving the first sign of the 7 500 ………. God asks him to give it back.
I can definitely relate to this because of the things I have prayed for in my life (my marriage, my job, my still-in-progress house hunt) and I am starting to receive the first fruits of it (a very small portion of it). Today during Church celebration, I had a picture in my mind during prayer to standing before Jesus with a red rose in my hands behind me. Jesus was before me with his hands also behind Him. I was about to give Him this red rose. And I knew He had a bouquet of red roses behind Him. It was time to choose to either hold on to the mini-teddy-bear, or to give it to Jesus and receive whatever HE has for me. No matter how small it is.
You cannot out-give God
It is often said by Mother Clare from the still small voice channel, that we cannot outgive God. Nomatter what BIG or small thing we give to God, He always give us bigger back. That’s just His nature. Look at Abraham. Abraham only consented to give his only son back to God, and God in His mercy said (in my wording)
NO! WAIT! Because you have done this, because you BELIEVED that I AM good, and that I AM faithful, I will not allow you to offer your son to me. (3)
Instead God showed Abraham a ram to offer to God. BUT God did more. After years and years, after many many decendents of Abraham, God returned a favor. God send His OWN SON, whom God was intimately connected with, to the earth. His Son, Jesus the Christ, Savior of all man and created things, to die for our sins, so that we would be saved by God’s goodness. When we give back to God what is most dear to us (our lives), God will give what is most dear to Him (His Son, and the life of the world (4).
Now I am also human, so prone to making mistakes and doubting. But I want to choose the best thing in my life. That is to say: Jesus, You take over. Here is my little teddy-bear, here is my job, here is my life. I trust You.
Would you say to God, I trust You? Would you want His love and His life to flow in yours? Ask Him and He will show Himself to you.
Psalms 86 Amplified version – A Prayer of David (5)
- Incline Your ear, O Lord, and answer me, For I am distressed and needy [I long for Your help].
- Protect my life (soul), for I am godly and faithful; O You my God, save Your servant, who trusts in You [believing in You and relying on You, confidently committing everything to You].
- Be gracious and merciful to me, O Lord, For to You I cry out all the day long.
- Make Your servant rejoice,For to You, O Lord, I lift up my soul [all that I am—in prayer].
- For You, O Lord, are good, and ready to forgive [our sins, sending them away, completely letting them go forever and ever]; And abundant in lovingkindness and overflowing in mercy to all those who call upon You.
- Hear, O Lord, my prayer;And listen attentively to the voice of my supplications (specific requests)!
- In the day of my trouble I will call upon You, For You will answer me.
- There is no one like You among the gods, O Lord, Nor are there any works [of wonder and majesty] like Yours.
- All nations whom You have made shall come and kneel down in worship before You, O Lord,And they shall glorify Your name.
- For You are great and do wondrous works! You alone are God.
- Teach me Your way, O Lord, I will walk and live in Your truth; Direct my heart to fear Your name [with awe-inspired reverence and submissive wonder].
- I will give thanks and praise You, O Lord my God, with all my heart; And will glorify Your name forevermore.
- For great is Your lovingkindness and graciousness toward me; And You have rescued my life from the depths of Sheol [from death].
- O God, arrogant and insolent men have risen up against me;A band of violent men have sought my life, And they have not set You before them.
- But You, O Lord, are a God [who protects and is] merciful and gracious, Slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness and truth.
- Turn to me, and be gracious to me;Grant Your strength [Your might and the power to resist temptation] to Your servant, And save the son of Your handmaid.
- Show me a sign of [Your] goodwill, That those who hate me may see it and be ashamed, Because You, O Lord, helped and comforted me.