Coming Before Him With Empty Hands
Read Exodus Chapter 23
Ex 23:14 “Three times a year you are to celebrate a festival to Me. 15 “Celebrate the Feast of Unleavened Bread; for seven days eat bread made without yeast, as I commanded you. Do this at the appointed time in the month of Abib, for in that month you came out of Egypt. “No one is to appear before Me empty-handed. 16 “Celebrate the Feast of Harvest with the first fruits of the crops you sow in your field. “Celebrate the Feast of Ingathering at the end of the year, when you gather in your crops from the field. 17 “Three times a year all the men are to appear before the Sovereign LORD.”
A couple of things stuck out to me the last time I read this passage. We will explore both.
“No one is to appear before Me empty-handed.” What do we have to give the Lord? Not much. Yet, He asks us to come to Him with something as a sacrifice. As we examine the scriptures, we see that we are to offer Him a tenth of our possessions. We are to honor Him with our obedience. We are to present our bodies as a living sacrifice to Him. We are to serve Him and others in every way possible. These are the things He lists as ways we can come before Him as a way of honoring and praising Him.
I wonder how much easier it would be for us to deal with our same-sex temptations if our minds and hearts were affixed on offering these sacrifices to Him. I am pretty confident that we would be less likely to give in to our fleshly desires if we were intently determined to bringing Him any or all of these offerings into His presence. Our minds must be re-trained to dwell on more important things than our fleeting desires for things which are a detriment to our spiritual welfare. It would be wise if we were thinking, all the time, about what we can present to our Savior as a way of thanking Him for His matchless grace and mercy.
“Three times a year all the men are to appear before the Sovereign Lord.” I find it interesting that God asked the Israelites to only appear before Him three times a year. But the feasts were special times in the Old Testament era. They were special times of worship. They were more than a mere hour or two of worship, as we are accustomed to think today. We spend one or two hours before Him on Sunday morning, and maybe another hour or two here and there during the week. The Israelites worshiped not only hours, but days and weeks.
But there is an even greater thought to ponder here. We have the Holy Spirit residing within our hearts, minds, and souls. We “appear before the Lord” every minute of every day. He resides within and beside us all day long, 24/7. I truly cannot comprehend the vastness of that statement. New Testament Christians, which includes us, are in a continual state of appearing before Him.
Therefore, the question is, what are we offering Him, on a moment by moment basis? That is another clue as to how we can avoid giving in to our same-sex attractions. Every moment of every day can be and should be dedicated to His service. Every waking minute can be used to honor and glorify Him and His kingdom. Let us continually carry around with us a moving van full of obedience and a wagon-load of thankfulness.
Oh my, I fall far, far, short of that goal!! I’m not even sure I can see a glimpse of it in the distance.
Ro 13:14 Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature.
Prayer: Lord, without Your infinite grace and mercy, I would be without hope. I cannot imagine why You continue to put up with my shortcomings. All I seem to present to You is a broken and sinful heart. Forgive me, and show me the way to a better presentation of myself before You. Help all of we SSA men and women to be continually aware of Your presence.