“And Lebanon is not sufficient to burn, nor the beasts thereof sufficient for a burnt offering.”
Do you forget how worthy God is of your worship? Not just the worship of your mouth and heart, but the worship of your life? Our gaze naturally shifts onto ourselves, which causes God to slip out of focus. We make him small, creating an image of him that fits into our box of who he is, who we want him to be. It’s easy to remember that he is our “provider, protector and healer” if we’re calling on him to help us; but sometimes we need to be reminded of just how “holy, perfect and worthy-of-everything-he-desires-of-us” He is.
At the time that this passage was written, people understood that Lebanon was full of cedar trees. Scripture declares that even with its abundance of firewood, it still wasn’t capable of preparing an offering that worshipped God as he deserves. It didn’t provide enough animals for a sacrifice that honored him sufficiently, even though it was known for being well stocked with cattle. If Lebanon’s resources fell short of what God deserves in worship, how much does our worship miss the mark? It’s easy to sing songs to him and nod our heads to what the preacher says. We may even find ourselves serving within the church until we’re burnt out, or perhaps we’re very consistent about reading our Bibles and praying. But if the decisions we make in life do not reflect that we view God as holy and worthy of laying down our self-will, then how can we expect God to be pleased when we perform our religious acts?
Lip service means nothing and there is no such thing as partial devotion; but that’s not always how we act. Are we guilty of giving God the easy stuff, but holding onto what we really want? Are we inwardly proud of ourselves for how much of our hearts we have given over?
We have moments when we stand in awe of how perfect he is, but we have to guard against becoming distracted by this life and its goals. Otherwise, we’ll forget how much we owe to him and set out to accomplish our own agendas, only to become bitter when he asks us to give our plans up for his. Don’t fight him or become bitter with him for requiring so much, and don’t try to justify not yielding to him. Total devotion is not extreme and it isn’t going the second mile. It’s simply reasonable.
“I beseech ye therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.” Romans 12:1
“We receive from the Lord every day the fruits of his mercy. Let us render ourselves; all we are, all we have, all we can do: and after all, what return is it for such very rich receivings? It is acceptable to God: a reasonable service, which we are able and ready to give a reason for, and which we understand. Conversion and sanctification are the renewing of the mind . . . The great enemy to this renewal is, conformity to this world. Take heed of forming plans for happiness, as though it lay in the things of this world, which soon pass away. Do not fall in with the customs of those who walk in the lusts of the flesh, and mind earthly things. The work of the Holy Ghost first begins in the understanding, and is carried on to the will, affections, and conversation, till there is a change of the whole man into the likeness of God, in knowledge, righteousness, and true holiness. Thus, to be godly, is to give up ourselves to God.”