But Saul and the people spared Agag and the best of the sheep and of the oxen and of the fattened calves and the lambs, and all that was good . . . 1 Samuel 15:9
Do we hold back the very best for God? Do we make exceptions for ourselves, with valid reasons in our heads why it is OKAY to live a little differently than the way we’re called, or do we strive to set our minds in complete agreement with what God says in his word?
Tuesday's reading strikes fear in my soul! I do not want to be guilty of saving “the best” of what God has told me to get rid of, even if I could justify it in the most plausible way. The reading goes on to say:
Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to listen than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of divination, and presumption is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, he has also rejected you . . . (from verses 22-23)
There is a time when it is too late to say, “Oops, I’m sorry, I messed up!” The results of holding back from God can be permanent and unyielding, just as Samuel stated:
. . . the Glory of Israel will not lie or have regret, for he is not a man, that he should have regret. (from verse 29), see also Numbers 23:19.
In the New Testament, Jesus said, “Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple,” (Luke 14:17). Without a doubt, each of us has our own, personal cross to bear! What is your cross today? Regarding what has the Lord spoken to you in your own private heart-of-hearts, without demanding a public display of sacrifice, but simply requesting a quick and quiet act of faith?
I pray the Lord will help you and me both today, to hold nothing back, but to do all that God has requested of us with NO EXCEPTIONS OR EXCUSES!