Lesson 5 -- third quarter 2007
July 1, 2007
© Copyright 2007
Will the Lord be pleased?
Today's text numbers among the Bible passages which point out clearly that we can do good and still fail to please the Lord. We can tithe and give offerings...even generously. We can sing, pray and worship. We can give alms and help the needy...even sacrificially. We can do many wonderful deeds and keep multiplied commandments. And still fail to please God.
As I review all that I have "done for God," I have to ask myself a hard question: How much of it was done for God? And how much of what I'm planning to "do for God" am I truly doing for Him? What I do, write and say may bless and edify many people and actually make a difference in a few lives. It may serve to help advance God's kingdom and strengthen His church. A bunch of it may even be exactly what God wants done. But in it all, I may have failed to please God.
Is it that difficult to please God? Will we reach the end of our lives and discover that pleasing God was a vain, impossible endeavor? The previous two paragraphs certainly could lead us to such questions. They could provoke us to exasperation, to exclaiming, "There is no use trying to do good!" Well, to all this I say, It is possible to please the Lord. Listen . . . .
"A broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise" (Psalm 51:17). Before you go out to "do for God," ensure that your heart is broken before Him. Make sure that your heart is His.
"For I desired mercy . . . and the knowledge of God" (Hosea 6:6). As much as God wants your good works, He wants you to reflect His character even more. He wants you to know Him, and to love Him.
Will the Lord be pleased? Yes, if He has you before He has your service.
What does the Lord require of me?
In my relationships with those in authority over me, I am most secure when I know exactly what they expect and require of me. I get so frustrated when I know they want something of me, but I don't know what that something is. (I'm sure those under my authority experience similar frustration.) In a sense, this is also true of our relationship with God. What does the Lord require of us? Notice how the answer to this question reinforces the truth of the first section.
Character. God wants us to do that which is just, right and fitting. He wants rectitude and propriety to be distinguishing marks in our lives. God requires that we love goodness, kindness and faithfulness. He insists that generosity and compassion motivate us. In other words, He wants to see in us a replication of His own character. So do justly and love mercy!
Relationship. Before we can reflect the character of God we need to have a relationship with God. He wants me to love Him and depend on Him. He wants me to recognize Him and submit to Him as the only sovereign in my life. He wants me to live my life in His presence: aware of Him, in contact with Him, and in tune with Him. He wants me as a friend and confidant. He wants me to be a man of prayer and a man of the Word. He wants me as His son, His heir and His servant In other words, He wants me! And He wants you! So let's walk humbly with Him.
"He hath shewed thee . . . what is good." Do you believe it? Then act on it.
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