As we continue to look at sovereignty, we must understand that God has given us a choice to willingly humble ourselves before him or not to. I like some of the synonyms for the word willingly such as enthusiastically, cheerfully, eagerly and voluntarily. This is not about dragging ourselves before our God but kneeling before him willingly and with great joy. Too many Christians associate serving our king with burdensomeness. (defined as unwelcome burdensome difficulty) 2 Corinthians 9:6 “Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. 7 Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 8 And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.” Yes this refers to tithing but it also refers to attitudes of the heart. We need to ask ourselves if we are approaching the throne of our sovereign Lord as a cheerful giver with our money, our time, our devotion, our commitment just to name a few.
Isaiah says in Isaiah 1:19 “If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the good things of the land; 20 but if you resist and rebel, you will be devoured by the sword. For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.” This changes obedience from begrudgingly to willingly which then means our obedience is carried out as a cheerful giver. David gave this charge to Solomon his son in 1 Chronicles 28:9 “And you, my son Solomon, acknowledge the God of your father, and serve him with wholehearted devotion and with a willing mind, for the Lord searches every heart and understands every desire and every thought. If you seek him, he will be found by you; but if you forsake him, he will reject you forever.” We cannot hide what is really in our hearts from God.
I love this passage in Exodus that describes the willingness of God’s people “to carry out to carry out all the work of constructing the sanctuary just as the Lord has commanded.” Exodus 35:20 “Then the whole Israelite community withdrew from Moses’ presence, 21 and everyone who was willing and whose heart moved them came and brought an offering to the Lord for the work on the tent of meeting, for all its service, and for the sacred garments. 22 All who were willing, men and women alike. 29 All the Israelite men and women who were willing brought to the Lord freewill offerings for all the work the Lord through Moses had commanded them to do.” 36:3 “the people continued to bring freewill offerings morning after morning. 4 So all the skilled workers who were doing all the work on the sanctuary left what they were doing 5 and said to Moses, “The people are bringing more than enough for doing the work the Lord commanded to be done. 6 Then Moses gave an order and they sent this word throughout the camp: “No man or woman is to make anything else as an offering for the sanctuary.” And so the people were restrained from bringing more, 7 because what they already had was more than enough to do all the work.” When we willingly (cheerfully) obey the commands of our sovereign king, he will provide us with more than enough. How often do you hear today’s church sending this message out to the people; we have more than enough to carry out God’s command of constructing the sanctuary.
We also saw the same with the gifts for building the temple. 1 Chronicles 29:1 “Then King David said to the whole assembly: “My son Solomon, the one whom God has chosen, is young and inexperienced. The task is great, because this palatial structure is not for man but for the Lord God. 2 With all my resources I have provided for the temple of my God 3 Besides, in my devotion to the temple of my God I now give my personal treasures of gold and silver for the temple of my God.” Then David says, “Now, who is willing to consecrate themselves to the Lord today?” 6 Then the leaders of families, the officers of the tribes of Israel, the commanders of thousands and commanders of hundreds, and the officials in charge of the king’s work gave willingly. 9 The people rejoiced at the willing response of their leaders, for they had given freely and wholeheartedly to the Lord. David the king also rejoiced greatly.” We also must serve willingly because Psalm 47:2 “the Lord Most High is awesome, the great King over all the earth.”
So today pray that God would Psalm 51:12 “Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.” In the church today there is more apathy than willingness so the people perish just as Isaiah described in chapter one. Jesus is still calling out to the church just as he called out to Jerusalem and he longs to comfort us. Matthew 23:37 “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing.” We do not want to reject the calling of our King as they did. I would ask that you finish this reading today by reading Isaiah 40.