The Lord’s Controversy

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Wherewith shall I come before the LORD, and bow myself before the high God?  Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves of a year old?  Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, or with ten thousands of rivers of oil?  Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?  He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?”   – Micah 6:6-8

There is yet another reality concerning the Church: it consists of people, and people often fail.  And this explains why, even though Jesus is the Head of this body, there is not always great revival in every nation, every province, or every city or village.  In some ways this appears paradoxical.  Here is the Almighty in His Church, building that same Church, without any limitations at all within Him, yet somehow constrained by the frailties of our flesh.  In other words, He can do anything, but He is working through us, and therefore the revival and the building of His Church is subject to our willingness to be part of what God is willing and desirous to do. 

 After His resurrection, Jesus told His disciples in John 20:21, “Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you.”  Jesus had certainly responded to the call, but what if they would not go?  Would there have been a Day of Pentecost outpouring if there wasn’t a crowd praying in the upper room that day?  In Acts 1:8 we read, “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”  But in verse 11 of the same chapter, two angels have to tell the same disciples, “Why stand ye gazing up into heaven?”  To paraphrase this question in a very modern way might read as, “You won’t receive this power just described by standing around here!  Go on into Jerusalem and find what you need for this great commission.” 

The above verses from the Book of Micah describe a controversy that the Lord had with Israel.  Earlier in the chapter, God had reminded them of how He had led them out of bondage in Egypt, and how he had sent them great men like Moses to lead them.  He had done everything that was needed to bring them to the place where they could both reflect His glory and enjoy His benefits, yet He found Himself in a controversy with these people.  In verse 6 the prophet declares the futility of bringing the offerings of the past before this God.  He asks the rhetorical question concerning whether or not an offering of thousands of rams would please the Lord.  He goes so far as to say that even the offering of his own firstborn child could not hide his transgressions from God.  Then, in verse 8, the simple answer to pleasing God is revealed.  Doing what is right according to His Spirit, appreciating the mercies extended by Him, and walking in cooperation and harmony with Him is really all that is required of a man.  To put it plainly, the Lord is not interested in what we have to give; He is interested in us!  Rather than a multitude of substitute offerings that we might give on an altar, He really wants us on that altar.  More than the money in the offering basket, more than the fine clothes on a bright Sunday morning, and more than an outward appearance of holiness, He simply seeks a people that will be completely surrendered to Him and His will.  Hebrews 10:5-6 tells of Jesus’ own sacrifice: “Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me: in burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure.”  This passage is taken from Psalm 40, where even while hundreds of sacrifices were being made at the altar, the Psalmist had the keen spiritual insight to know that there is really only one true offering that will be acceptable in God’s sight.  Were the Old Testament sacrifices necessary?  Absolutely, but only in the sense of offering oneself as the sacrifice is given.  It is still true in today’s Church.  Are offerings required today?  Is the outward standard of Christian holiness necessary?  For sure these and many others are still necessary, but they should be given as a result of our consecration, not in order to find it.  In other words, we do what we do because we are changed, not to prove that we are acceptable.  True dedication and commitment to the cause begin in one’s heart.  God’s revival today demands that kind of consecration, and it is one for which there is no substitute.

     

About Jim Poitras

Enlisiting, educating, equipping, empowering, and encouraging members, ministers, and missionaries in apostolic global missions. Director of Education/AIM