In the previous two articles we spoke about the prize of true riches which Jesus unveiled in the gospel of Saint Luke the sixteenth chapter. We talked about the connection between material treasure (money) and our hearts which God has actually created, to test the hearts of his servants and to forge them into faithful stewards that love God above all things, especially above money. We also discussed the true riches of wisdom, knowledge, and understanding and how the power of these riches elevated the hearts of those who carry through them to nobility in Christ. This nobility is a part of the restoration of the sons of God which Christ purchased for us to walk in with his own precious blood two thousand years ago. In today’s article we will continue talking about true riches as we discuss “sacrifice”.
THE TRUE RICHES OF SACRIFICE
In the story of King Solomon we know that He had a father who was of a noble heart. David was not born into nobility, but because of his relationship with God and his excellent spirit He rose to rule the entire nation and become the greatest king in Israel’s history, other than the Lord Jesus Christ. As Daniel was raised in a kingly noble household, so was Solomon raised in a kingly noble household. As a result, kingly and noble traits were passed down to him from his father. One of those traits is what I call the true riches of sacrifice.
(1 Kings 3:4-5)
4 “Now the king went to Gibeon to sacrifice there, for that was the great high place: Solomon offered a thousand burnt offerings on that altar.
5 At Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream by night; and God said, “Ask! What shall I give you?”
At this point in Solomon’s story David was gone. Solomon had been passed the mantle of the king and the throne, but He knew deep down inside that He couldn’t move forward as the ruler of the nation by just sitting back and resting on the legacy of his father. He had to forge his own destiny, and as His father taught him, the forging of such a destiny had to begin with relationship to God. Sacrifice was a big part of having a relationship with God in the Old Testament, and it still is today. As one minister put it, “the fire of God is attracted to sacrifice”. It is an unchanging spiritual law, and those who understand it and learn to wield it will obtain the true riches that come with sacrifice. Sacrifice is one of the most powerful currencies of exchange in the heavenly realm, so we’d do well to understand its power from the scriptures which God has gifted us with.
When Solomon came before the Lord and began to sacrifice He didn’t stop at one or two bulls, which in any other situation would have more than sufficed. Instead he kept going beyond ten, he kept going beyond one hundred, he kept going beyond two hundred. He got all the way up to a thousand bulls before the Lord finally appeared to him by night and offered to give him anything he asked for. Imagine the priests at that point doing the sacrificing! They must have been sick to their stomachs and exhausted. But this is another law which dictates how much you get out of the treasure of sacrifice. The law of sacrifice states that sacrifice must be offered to God until God moves. Sometimes God moves at ten sacrifices, sometimes He moves at one hundred. In this case it took exactly one thousand sacrifices to comprise a breakthrough in God’s eyes where God was ready to move into the exchange which the sacrifice facilitated.
Another law which determines the power of sacrifice is this: the greater the sacrifice the greater the exchange. Solomon offered a great sacrifice represented by the number of one thousand. This facilitated one of the greatest exchanges between God and man that we have recorded in the bible, or in human history for that matter. Solomon received a blank check from God and the thing He asked for was absolutely according to wisdom. As you will see Solomon only asked for one thing, but because He chose wisely in the thing He asked He got much more from the Lord than what He asked for. This is very important when wielding the treasure of sacrifice. The treasure of sacrifice, before it is offered in exchange to the Lord, must be prepared with the true riches of wisdom and knowledge. When the time comes for the exchange to take place make sure you bargain with the Lord according to wisdom.
Wisdom should come before sacrifice. Notice how even in these articles I started with the true riches of wisdom, knowledge, and understanding before any of the others. Why? Because wisdom is the principal thing (Prov.4:7). By wisdom God created and designed all things (Prov.8:22-29). Before He spoke, before He released the power, he had a direction, He had an internal compass of the heart which was directed by wisdom. When you begin to offer up sacrifice to the Lord and when you begin to enter into this divine “trading floor” (if you will) with the Lord, you’re beginning to release the power. Make sure you know what you want, according to wisdom, before the Lord appears. There have been many people in the prime of their seasons of sacrifice and exchange with the Lord that have asked for foolish things when the Lord appeared. Some ask for riches, some ask for fame and influence, but because they lack a wise discerning heart they are many times doomed to lose their money and spoil their name because they weren’t prepared to steward the value of both in the public eye of scrutiny. How many super charged spiritual zealots have we seen come out of their twenties, get a name for themselves, only to ruin that name and spoil that influence because they dealt unwisely in their growth of influence? Solomon did not make this mistake, at least not at the beginning. After Solomon sacrificed a thousand bulls to the Lord, and after the Lord appeared to him and offered to give him anything He asked for, Solomon asked for the right thing. Solomon asked according to wisdom.
In biblical language he asked for “an understanding heart” to judge God’s people, that he might “discern between good and evil”, for He said, “who is able to judge this great people?” (1 Kings 3:9). This speech pleased the Lord, and the Lord responded by giving Solomon this wise understanding heart along with riches and long life, two things which He didn’t ask. This shows the wisdom in his answer. This shows that his heart was not only ready to sacrifice, that it was not only ready to encounter the Lord, but it was ready to ask for the right thing when He broke through with the power of sacrifice. If you ask for the right thing you’ll get much more than you ever asked for as a by-product. Only wisdom can produce this result. Some people ask for a fish so they can eat today, while others by wisdom ask to be taught how to fish so they can eat everyday. Wisdom knows the difference between the two and asks accordingly. What are you asking from the Lord today?
The Power of Sacrifice in the Widow’s Mite
1 “And He looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the treasury,
2 and He saw also a certain poor widow putting in two mites.
3 So He said, “Truly I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all;
4 for all these out of their abundance have put in offerings for God, but she out of her poverty put in all the livelihood that she had.â€
5 Then, as some spoke of the temple, how it was adorned with beautiful stones and donations, He said,
6 “These things which you see—the days will come in which not one stone shall be left upon another that shall not be thrown down.”
Interesting to me, this story of the widow’s mite take’s place at the beginning of Jesus’ Olivet Discourse as recorded by Luke in this twenty-first chapter. There are implications to the truths contained here which form the very foundation of this address, that will apply till the end of time as we know it. It’s very important that we see true riches and sacrifice the way God does.
In the people’s eyes all they could see was the amount of earthly treasure people would bring into the temple as their worship to God. Rich people, people of greater means, brought in visually more impressive treasures as a sign to all of their devotion to God. But Jesus did not see their treasures the same way others did. Where others saw great gifts, Jesus saw little value in what was actually offered to God if it was not given sacrificially. Where others saw little, as with the widow and her two mites, Jesus saw much being given because of the true riches of sacrifice that she offered to the Lord along with her mites. Remember the wisdom and knowledge of the Almighty which David possessed. He refused to offer anything to the Lord that did not cost him something (2 Sam.24:24). He knew the necessary treasure of sacrifice and cost that had to be offered with one’s gift to God.
In (2 Pet.1:5-6) Peter talks about all the things we should be “adding” to our faith, not being content with faith that is offered alone. In (Acts 10:2) we see how a devout man named Cornelius added to his faith prayers, and to his prayers giving to the poor, and how the compounded effect of these true riches offered to God led to the breakthrough of receiving the greatest treasure of all, the Lord Jesus Christ, as the angel appeared to Peter and the gospel came to Cornelius and his whole household. In (Rev.8:1-5) we see the angel coming before the Lord and offering up “much incense” in addition to the prayers of the saints. Immediately following this act we see breakthrough from the heavens come as fire is thrown to the earth. God is ultimately not interested in our money, He’s interested in the treasures of our hearts. God is interested in what we add to our gifts. God is interested in the addition of sacrifice. He’s interested in what our offerings do to our hearts. A heart cannot help but be transformed if it sacrifices to the Lord with a pure heart.
Just giving money doesn’t really change you if it doesn’t cost you something. But sacrificial giving changes you. This is of great value in the kingdom of God, and God always senses the true riches of sacrifice when it’s being offered for exchange to him. May we carry this treasure always in our hearts and willingly sacrifice for the Lord and others out of love, to become the sons and daughters of God that we’ve been called to be. Add to the treasure of wisdom, knowledge, and understanding the true riches of sacrifice, and like Solomon you will be prepared to take another major step in ruling and reigning with Christ!
In his Service,
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