Offering Gifts to the Lord

Who knows whether he will not turn and relent,
and leave a blessing behind him,
a grain offering and a drink offering
for the LORD your God? – Joel 2:14

It is good to read this stated so clearly. I tend to think that the things I offer to God are gifts to him from me. I give him 10% of my money (aren’t I generous?) and I give him my future career plans (provided he handles them the way I want) and I give him… You get the idea.

In Joel, the terrible “day of the Lord” is threatened and yet God makes this promise. Though his army will march across the earth and leave destruction in its dreadful wake (2:1-11), yet he calls for repentance and faith even in light of the brimming destruction and wrath (2:12-17).

So why is it that I don’t get that? Why is it that when I consider my life I feel like I’ve made a terrible decision in coming to seminary? Why is it that I demand that God tell me why I’m doing this? I’m like Job, “I will say to God, Do not condemn me; let me know why you contend against me.” (Job 10:2). My underlying assumption is that God owes me an explanation. He has to tell my why he has called me to this and what he wants me to do with it or I cannot obey in the doing.

When will I remember (and act like it) that anything I have to give to God is only what he has already given me? Am I offering to God my life which he didn’t already own? Do I control my future so that I can direct it to God or away from him? Just who do I think I am? God may yet leave me days which I can give back to him as a grain offering and life that I may pour it out as a drink offering. Either way, if he does or doesn’t I’m not giving to him anything which he didn’t already own.

This whole “living sacrifice” thing is difficult. It sure is hard to stay on the altar. Sometimes I wish what critics of Calvinism say were true, I wish I was a robot.

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