some devotional thoughts...

This year I started what is looking to be a two year "read the Bible in year" program with a friend from church, and recently read these verses which has caused me to think a bit.

1Sam 2:29 Why do you scorn my sacrifice and offering that I prescribed for my dwelling? Why do you honour your sons more than me by fattening yourselves on the choice parts of every offering made by my people Israel? (NIV)

This is written to the priest Eli concerning his derelict sons in the time of Samuel, you can read the rest of the context if you are interested, I won't post it here.

Here is what caused me to think: this verse specifically links honoring God and the relative quality of the offering - and so God was dishonored by Eli and his sons not giving the best, but rather giving the remains in their offerings. Fast forward to 2006 and relate this concept to the new testament church. This may sound trivial, but I have rarely thought of giving in these terms of honoring God, or specifically that not giving the best to God is to dishonor Him, or at least honor self above Him! Yes I understand there is liberty and God loves a cheerful giver and so on, but when was the last time you or I looked at our online banking statements (or check book for you older people) and made sure the best part was going to God and not the remnants? And then thought if it is not the best, then we are dishonoring Him, or honoring our selves above him.

We can rationalize anything my dad used to say (and still does, if you were wondering) and I would add that the first step is in watering down the terminology. Consider the current debate in our nation concerning immigrants - they are now being called "undocummented" immigrants as opposed to "illegal". Like I said, the first step of rationalization is watering down the terminology. Words like sin are dificult to rationalize so they must be marginalized and made more palatable. My point here is that we don't realize how most Christians act with their finances is dishonoring to God, even though we usuall don't call it that way.

Notice the quality of the offering in the Bible is never absolute to all givers, but rather relative. The poor did not have to offer the same absolute as the rich, but relative - the best they had. Whatever state we are in, we ought not to dishonor him in our offerings.