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Monday, December 02, 2013

Sacrificial Summit Prayers of Ascent - Day #1


Psalm 50: 7-15 – “7 Hear, O my people, and I will speak, O Israel, and I will testify against you: I am God, your God. 8 I do not rebuke you for your sacrifices or your burnt offerings, which are ever before me. 9 I have no need of a bull from your stall or of goats from your pens, 10 for every animal of the forest is mine, and the cattle on a thousand hills. 11 I know every bird in the mountains, and the creatures of the field are mine. 12 If I were hungry I would not tell you, for the world is mine, and all that is in it. 13 Do I eat the flesh of bulls or drink the blood of goats? 14 Sacrifice thank offerings to God, fulfill your vows to the Most High, 15 and call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you will honor me."
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I felt it important to allow our hearts to be filled with Scripture as we make our ascent to offering our sacrifices to God in this Banner Years Initiative.  The Israelites would sing “songs of ascent” as they would journey toward Jerusalem to offer their sacrifices to God.  So in some ways we are counting down (descent) the days while our hearts are counting up (ascent).

This passage is where we get the phrase “God owns the cattle on a thousand hills”.  I always heard that growing up and it never made much sense to me, since I didn’t live in the hills and didn’t own any cattle.  It was always mentioned when talking about how God would provide and we didn’t have to worry about it cause he was loaded. 

But this phrase is actually surrounded by some rich stuff.  A couple things I wanted to touch on.  Let’s call them touchpoints…

#1 God doesn’t need our guilt offerings. He isn’t some desperate deity looking for a hand out.  He has it all.  When we think of him as being a needy nag, we give out of obligation and frustration.

#2 God wants our thank offerings.  When God’s people come to him offering their sacrifices with great thanks that blesses the heart of God.  That is the sacrifice he is moved by. 

This passage closes by showing the blessing of obedience.  You honor me…I deliver you.  #IfThen. You call on me in the day of trouble, and I will rescue you.  This is the promise of God to his people.  When we bless God with our sacrifices, He responds.

I look forward to offering our “thank offerings” to God in the coming weeks for our Sacrificial Summit.  I hope we’ll give it because we get to, not because we’ve got to.   Here we go, let’s band together!

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