Thursday, December 22, 2011

The double portion of sacrifice

I read it in the first lines of First Samuel.  Elkanah loved his wife, Hannah, so much, that he gave her a double portion to offer as a sacrifice.  He made sure his other wife, Peninnah and all his children had portions to offer, but such love he had for Hannah, that he gave her an especially generous helping to sacrifice at the temple.

I am reminded of God's words "Your joy has been doubled"  and my heart wrestles in confusion.  I know He isn't a God of confusion, so I pray for eyes to see.  And I think He is once again stripping the veil that leads to His holiness and beauty.

Is it this?  To those God His very SON, is it his mercy that allows us a double portion to bring as a sacrifice to his throne?  Is it possible that the more ache He allows us to bring straight back to him in praise, the more joy we will receive?

Such a dichotomy.  Not a single preacher on television will tell you that.  They wouldn't receive a single dime in support!  Who wants to hear that you pick up your cross and endure for the sake of joy?

And yet, wasn't this the way of Christ?  "...but for the joy set before Him, Jesus endured the cross..." Hebrews 12:2
joy--chara "delight/cheerfulness"
endured--hupomeno "to stay under and bear"
cross--stauros "a post or stake/exposure to death"

Is staying under the exposure of death the means to bringing about soul delight?

Have you ever heard of such a paradox?

Jesus put up with anything and everything along the way because he never lost sight of where he was going.  Joy of being back in God's tangible presence was always before him.  Joy of conquering death was always before him.  Joy of restoration of fellowship with his creation was always before him.

There is no fruit without sacrifice.  I am wondering if there is no joy without sacrifice.  Joy is a fruit.

Is this the mark of spiritual maturity, to accept that even the bitter things in life become sweet when the sacrifice brings joy?  Proverbs 27:7 "One who is full loathes honey, but to the one who is hungry, everything bitter is sweet."

Does the one who is starving for God hold his hands out openly, willing to receive anything God gives, simply because the receiving means getting a piece of living Bread?

Do joy and sacrifice make the best dance partners? 

When you live a life poured out, blood poured out, when your whole frame becomes a living sacrifice, I have to believe that joy is on its way.  Mother Teresa says that "for a sacrifice to be real, it must cost, must hurt, must empty ourselves."  I know of this emptying.

"When you get to the point where you totally abandon yourself to the will of God to be pleasing in His sight, nothing is dark, nothing is forbidding, light is shed on everything and ultimate sacrifice leads to ultimate joy."  John MacArthur

Will I consider it all joy to bring yet another sacrifice of praise into His temple? 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

WOW! What a deep blessed thought. DEB E