I’m in 2 Chronicles in my journey thru the Bible this year (or as long as it takes- I love to stop and camp out so it’ll probably take me 10 years). Yesterday I was really struck by 2 Chronicles 7:1, which says:
As soon as Solomon finished his prayer, fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices, and the glory of the LORD filled the temple.
In 1 Chronicles 29:14-16, David prayed, looking at all he and the people were offering the Lord, and cried, “But who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able thus to offer willingly? For all things come from you, and of your own have we given you. For we are strangers before you and sojourners, as all our fathers were. Our days on the earth are like a shadow, and there is no abiding. O LORD our God, all this abundance that we have provided for building you a house for your holy name comes from your hand and is all your own.”
In all that I give, whether by money or time; whether in making things by hand or laboring at something; whether in training my children or loving my husband…whatever I give saying, “Lord I want to build a place for Your name here. This is for You and unto You,” I must realize first that I could never offer the Lord a thing really, because all things I have- money, time, ability, children, a husband, etc.- belong to Him.
I should not approach the Lord with reserve saying, “Here Lord, I give you this,” as though I were really making such a sacrifice. But rather I should say to the Lord who gives me breath each day, “Who am I Lord that I should offer You this freely. You gave it to me, it’s Yours!”
That’s the attitude from which God will enable me to build a place for His name- in my home or wherever I go. The place of humility realizes I can’t give God anything, He gives everything to me, and I say, “Thank You Lord for accepting my offering.”
I should be thankful and glad that He would even accept what I offer, for apart from His sacrifice- not mine- apart from His grace I would not be accepted by Him at all.
So when I get that foundation laid in my soul and am humbled and filled with joy and awe that God will actually accept what I offer Him and allow me to build a place for His holy name, then I face what Solomon faced…the realization that God consumes what I offer Him so that His glory might be seen.
As soon as Solomon finished praying… boom, fire consumed the offering and sacrifices he made to the Lord. And when that happened, God’s glory filled what He had built for the Lord’s name (the temple) and the people around saw and worshipped the Lord.
This is the way it is with us. We offer God our lives realizing they are not our own anyway. We’re thankful for His mercy and grace; for His sacrifice which allows us to build, sacrifice and offer and be accepted by Him. And then He burns it up.
Something in me (my own mind) thinks, “I’ll offer God my marriage, my parenting, my life as a woman, and He’ll build me up so I can have a nice marriage, kids and life,”…but that’s not true!
Oh yes, it’s true that offering God my life is the only way I could have the nicest marriage possible- God enables me to build by His grace in my marriage, parenting…in my life. But He doesn’t do it so that I can stand there and look at my offering and what He’s allowed me to build and smile at what I’ve offered Him (as though I could have offered it anyway apart from His mercy). No, He enables me to build for His name’s sake, and to make my offerings and sacrifices to Him, so that He can send fiery trials and tests my way to consume what I’ve given Him with His presence and power- so that others might believe.
It’s the genuineness of our faith God is concerned with, not simply the holy offerings (our testimony of a life lived in holiness), or sacrifices (our testimony of a life laid down to do His will). He desires ultimately that His glory, not our offerings only, be seen in us. And the way His glory is seen is when He consumes what we’ve offered with His presence amidst the trials of life.
When others no longer see our holiness or our submitted lives…they see Jesus as our faith endures fiery trials.
“In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Though you have not seen him, you love him.” 1 Peter 1:6-8
So first we realized as wives and as women, no matter our circumstances, we’re called to build.
Then we realize He’s given us the calling of home-building…wherever that home may be and whatever souls might be included (husband, children, parents, siblings, neighbors, fellow students, co-workers, etc.)
And then we must stop and realize that we aren’t able to build or offer anything to the Lord that isn’t given us by Him and already belongs to Him.
And after that we must be ready for the fire trials that come to consume our offering with God’s presence in our lives, realizing that He desires His glory to be displayed in us so others might believe.
(see Part 1, part 2, and part 3 of this series)
Next we’ll continue this pause to realize that unless the Lord builds the house…it don’t make no difference how much we do (my country hick version of Psalm 127) 🙂 And because He does build we can rest!
Would you join me in stopping where you are today and lifting up your hands to the Lord as though you could hold your house… your life, up in your hands? Would you declare with me, “Who am I Lord? And who are these my people that we can offer to You so freely? Everything we offer You is given us by You and belongs to You! Thank You for sacrificing Your life so that I could offer You mine and be accepted by You! Take my life Lord, my marriage, my kids, my time, my money…my life, and send Your holy fire on this offering! I want Your glory to be seen in me that others might believe!”