Monday, August 27, 2012

Praising When It Counts The Most

Dear Friends,

Sometimes God wants you to sacrifice bad things, and sometimes He wants you to sacrifice good things.  It may be that He wants you to give the most precious thing you may possess.  Or He may call on you to offer a sacrifice of praise.  What is a sacrifice of praise?  I’ve thought a lot about that.  I think it means to make a real spiritual effort to praise God in the hard times.  Why is that?  Because we are all basically very selfish people and the last thing we want to do is thank God for affliction.  The best Biblical example I know of this is Job.

Job had a lot to thank God for.  He was the richest man on earth.  He was healthy, wealthy, and wise.  He loved God and God loved him.  He acted as a priest and offered up prayers for his family.  He was concerned for the welfare of the weak and the poor.  This great man had made suitable sacrifices all his life, and God was well pleased with him.

But one day (it had to be a Monday), Job’s world caved in.  He lost all he had, except his wife and his health.  He lost his servants, his wealth, and his children—all 10 of them!  When the Lord allowed all this trouble to come, Job’s wife suggested that he curse God.  Why shouldn’t he, especially when he had served God so faithfully?  Instead, Job got up, tore his robe, and “fell to the ground in worship” (Job 1:20).  Then he offered a sacrifice of praise.  “Naked I came from my mother’s womb,” he said, “and naked I will depart.  The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised” (Job 1:21).  I can assure you, it took a real spiritual sacrifice for Job to place his rising resentment, bitterness, and anger on the altar and praise God.

A sacrifice of praise does not mean that you praise God for the death of a child or for bankruptcy.  It means that, when you can’t praise God for what He has allowed, you praise Him for who He is despite what He has allowed.  Job did not say, “Praise the Lord for allowing my kids to be victims of a tornado, and thank you Lord, my servants were slaughtered.”  He was able to thank God for the Lord’s sovereign power over life and death.

God was bigger than Job’s problem, and “Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing” (v. 22).  I assure you that must have cost Job something!  We have to give up our desire to charge God with wrongdoing and place our protests on the altar instead.  God is well pleased with such sacrifices.
What is God asking you to surrender to Him?  Perhaps He wants you to sacrifice your complaints about how you think God has treated you and offer Him praise instead.  When life is not going well, our praise is a costly sacrifice.  

Jill Briscoe
Executive Editor
Just Between Us Magazine 

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