Read: 1 Kings 8:1-21; 54-66
“But your hearts must be fully committed to the Lord our God, to live by his decrees and obey his commands…” (v. 61)
What would it look like if, even knowing we could never out-give God, we still tried? Or how would it play out if every day was dedicated to Him and we made it a priority to glorify His name with all we do? Whether it’s tithing, serving, praying, studying, or working, the true sacrifice is not in the action, but instead doing these things with a willing and joyous heart that seeks to glorify God and God alone. In fact, God is glorified most when we acknowledge how Great He is and know that we could never come close to out-giving or equally matching His generosity.
In 1 Kings 8, Solomon had the temple finished and was in the process of bringing the Ark of the Lord into the dwelling place that had been prepared. As the ark was being walked into the temple, Solomon and the entire assembly that had gathered began sacrificing sheep and cattle. They willingly sacrificed so many animals that scripture tells us “they could not be recorded or counted.”
Let me put this into perspective just so that no one thinks it was a small number and a person that couldn’t count was put in charge of the record books… Later in the chapter, once the ark had been put in the dwelling place and the presence of the Lord had filled the temple, Solomon led Israel in a fourteen-day festival to dedicate the temple where 22,000 cattle were sacrificed along with 120,000 sheep and goats. Now if the record keepers could count that high it makes you wonder how much was joyfully laid down before the presence of the ark (if they couldn’t be counted). As if that wasn’t enough, burnt offerings, grain offerings, and fat of the fellowship offerings were also made in the courtyard in front of the temple, because the altar, designed and prepared for the Lord, was not large enough to hold all of them. That’s right… they needed a courtyard to hold the overflow of sacrifices.
People brought their best to give to the Lord and did it with grateful and committed hearts. No one kept tally on how much they did or gave to boast in pride, but instead left it all to the Lord in offering. As the festival went on, Solomon focused his prayers of dedication and thanksgiving to God. With hands spread out toward heaven in submission to the Lord, Solomon repeatedly made it a point to mention that God’s Word and Promises are faithful and true. After the festival, people went home “joyful and glad in heart for all the good things the Lord had done…” (v. 66b)
This Christmas season, let’s remember all that God has done for us, knowing that He gave up His thrown to humble Himself as a child and the greatest gift we could ever receive; a gift that we would not be able to pay back. Come to Him with hands lifted in submission and hearts committed to giving all we have to offer.
Lord, as Solomon prayed, may you turn our hearts to you, to walk in all your ways and to keep your commands, decrees, and regulations that you gave our fathers before us. Be near to us and keep our obedient hearts near to you. Not one word has failed of all the good promises you made. Teach our hearts to be sacrificial as you are and to always be fully committed to you. May your blessings and love continue to be poured over us; we pray this in your immeasurably generous name, Amen.