“From the Heart” teaching by Drs. Rodney & Adonica Howard-Browne.
“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland. The wild animals honor me, the jackals and the owls, because I provide water in the desert and streams in the wasteland, to give drink to my people, my chosen, the people I formed for myself that they may proclaim my praise.
“Yet you have not called upon me, O Jacob, you have not wearied yourselves for me, O Israel. You have not brought me sheep for burnt offerings, nor honored me with your sacrifices. I have not burdened you with grain offerings nor wearied you with demands for incense. You have not bought any fragrant calamus for me, or lavished on me the fat of your sacrifices. But you have burdened me with your sins and wearied me with your offenses. “I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more. Review the past for me, let us argue the matter together; state the case for your innocence. Your first father sinned; your spokesmen rebelled against me. So I will disgrace the dignitaries of your temple, and I will consign Jacob to destruction and Israel to scorn. Isaiah 43:18-28 NIV
God created us to proclaim His praise. He loves us with an everlasting love – a love that gives all, without holding anything back. It is hard for us, as people who have experienced a world contaminated by the presence of evil and sin and death, to comprehend or even fully appreciate just how much God does love us. And yet He continues to reach out to us and demonstrate His mercy and grace at every opportunity. He makes a way in our wilderness and He causes rivers to flow through our dry places. He says that even the animals have the good sense to recognize, acknowledge and appreciate Him as the source of provision and blessing.
He is the God of the second chance. He is always ready to forget yesterday and to forgive our past sins, mistakes and rebellion. He encourages us, also, to forget about yesterday. He offers us a new day and a new beginning over and over. And yet instead of appreciating all He does for us and all that He is to us, we offer Him nothing but trouble in return. We burden Him with our sins and weary Him with our iniquities. We take, but we don’t give. We take His graciousness for granted as we continue in our sin and rebellion and selfishness – expecting Him to step in and pick up the pieces every time we mess up and then to step back out of our lives again until we need something more from Him.
God goes out of His way to take care of us, but we are too lazy or too self-absorbed to take the time or to make the effort to press into His presence and to seek His face. We won’t do anything that requires more than the minimum of effort. We want everything done for us, but we are not prepared to put ourselves out in the slightest for the Lord. We let our flesh rule us – we don’t rule our flesh.
He has been infinitely patient with us, while making very few demands. We ought to love Him, appreciate Him, and generously lavish Him with gifts and offerings. We should offer Him the best we have – not just the dregs. We should honor Him with our lips and honor Him with our gifts. Every day we should be looking for ways to please Him and to bless Him and make Him happy. Many people say that they love God, but they don’t act like it. If we truly love God, we will affectionately reverence Him, promptly obey Him and gratefully recognize His blessing! We will bring to Him the best we have – we will lavish Him with our offerings. We will give it with open heart and open hand – holding nothing back! For He is our light and the length of our days – our Rock, our Fortress and our Provider – our Savior, Healer, Deliverer and Lord! He is worthy of the very best that we have to give!