"Snippets" from David
Appreciation and Dependence
We are big in our understanding of appreciation. We, as people
in most ages and cultures, associate the expression of appreciation with gifts.
We are not big in our understanding of dependence. In the American society,
dependence is virtually a social taboo. We hate to have our driverís license
denied or our car keys taken from us. Most of us despise the thought of living
in a nursing home Ė never mind how nice the place is. When we get to an age or
health condition that we must have assistance to continue living at home, we
appreciate dependable people who check on us or serve us, but we despise our
need to depend on someone else. We commonly delay living with someone else [even
a loved family member] as long as possible.
Israel was to appreciate God and what He did for them. They began their new year by remembering Godís deliverance when He removed them from slavery (Deuteronomy 16:1, 2). That memorial feast [the Passover meal] was followed by a week in which they suspended the ordinary use of leaven bread and ate unleavened bread. By eating such bread for a week, they remembered the suddenness of their departure from Egypt (Deuteronomy 16:3-8).
They further commemorated Godís deliverance by giving God the firstborn male born to their livestock (Deuteronomy 15:19, 20). When it was time to give God this sacrifice, they would not give Him the undesirable (the lame, the blind, or the defective). All sacrifices to God came from the best. They were not to give God an animal that they would consider an expression of contempt if it were given to them. God was to be honored in their sacrificial acts!
Why? In an agricultural society and culture that often counted wealth in livestock, why sacrifice one of your best lambs on Passover or give an often needed firstborn male animal in sacrifice? Many who were struggling might justify not giving such valuable gifts by the reality of the fact that they struggled.
People who genuinely belong to God always have differed (1) to people who are rule keepers, (2) to people who serve God only when they find it convenient, or (3) to people who do not know God or chose to ignore God. The difference always has been found in two attitudes, not one.
First, in a true awareness of what God did for them, they were grateful. And they wished to show their gratitude! They gave the valuable to God because they appreciated God!
Second, with genuine insight, such people knew they depended on God. They gave in the trust of dependence! They were comfortable being dependent! They trusted God to care for them! In the tradition of Abraham, they were blessed to be a blessing.
Christians have their own memorial given by Jesus Christ himself. It is called communion. As they remember with joy that God freed them from the slavery of sin by allowing Jesus to die for them, they feel both appreciation and dependence. They appreciate God sending His son to die for us. They appreciate God acting to redeem us while we were still His enemies (Romans 5:8-11; 8:1). They depend on God to resurrect them just as He resurrected Jesus (1 Thessalonians 4:14; 2 Corinthians 4:14).
If you belong to God through Christ, show your gratitude and express your dependence. If belonging to God through Christ has not yet occurred in your life, find your reasons for being grateful and indebted.
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