The Offerings of God

Hebrews 13:15‑16  •  8 min. read  •  grade level: 10
" By Him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to His name. BUT to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased." ―Heb. 13:15,1615By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name. 16But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased. (Hebrews 13:15‑16).
We often hear the verse quoted, " Let all things be done decently and in order." Surely it is well to bear that in mind, but I ask "whose order? God's or man's?" In these days when man's order has so largely displaced God's order in divine things; when, if I may so speak, the altar (symbol of worship) has been displaced by the pulpit, it is well to call to mind the injunction to Moses: " Look that thou make them after their pattern which was showed thee in the mount." Nothing was left to the imagination even of a Moses. Is the-re no lesson for God's people now in all this? There are those who think so; and, having prayerfully and carefully studied the word of God, have learned to discard the traditions of men and to cleave to God's order. Such have learned, by grace, how precious is the privilege of the sacrifice of praise and how acceptable it is to God by Jesus Christ, which the above important passage in the Hebrews brings before us.
However, I would especially call the attention of such to the second part, which is linked to that which precedes by the closing words, " with such sacrifices God is well pleased."
The " BUT " is characteristic. It implies a tendency in us to go only part of the way in our " sacrifices," and to stop at the first. However, thank God for whatever He has put in our hearts of desire to be well pleasing to Him; and the being reminded of what He is looking for from us will operate powerfully in causing us to bear likewise this real and tangible fruit of our love to Him.
With this in view let us go back to a lesson in the. Old Testament, viz., 2 Kings 12:66But it was so, that in the three and twentieth year of king Jehoash the priests had not repaired the breaches of the house. (2 Kings 12:6) and following: " But it was so, that in the three and twentieth year of king Jehoash the priests had not repaired the breaches of the house. Then king Jehoash called for Jehoiada the priest, and the other priests, and said unto them, Why repair ye not the breaches of the house? " and further on (ver. 9), " But Jehoiada the priest took a chest,* and bored a hole in the lid of it, and set it beside the altar, on the right side as one cometh into the house of the Lord; and the priests that kept the door put therein all the money that was brought into the house of the Lord.
And it was so, when they saw that there was much money in the chest, that the king's scribe and the high priest came up, and they put up in bags, and told the money that was found in the house of the Lord. And they gave the money, being told, into the hands of them that did the work, that had the over-sight of the house of the Lord L; and they 'laid it out to the carpenters and builders, that wrought upon the house of the Lord."
Lastly further on (ver. 4), " But they gave that to the workmen, and repaired therewith the house of the Lord. Moreover they reckoned not with the men, into whose hand they delivered the money to be bestowed on workmen: for they dealt faithfully." The referred to (Luke 21.) have put us in a line of exquisite instruction, so that from this narrative we may cull again and again.
(*We are reminded of this chest by Luke 21:11And he looked up, and saw the rich men casting their gifts into the treasury. (Luke 21:1) and following, in these terms, " And He looked up and saw the rich men casting their gifts into the treasury. And He saw also a certain poor widow casting in thither two mites. And he srid, Of a truth I say unto you, that this poor widow hath cart in more than they all; for all these have of their abundance cast in unto the offerings of God; but she of her penury hath cast in all the living that she had.'
It is advisable for us to dwell for a moment on words of the Lord Jesus Christ previously words of the Lord Jesus on this occasion. His divine approbation of the too mites of the poor widow is frequently reverted to by our carnal sensibilities as though we thought it to be well-pleasing to the Lord to put into the offerings Of God a few pence! Beloved brethren, where are we as to this? Do we not rather see how very rare is this widow's offering, so highly esteemed by God, because it was all the living that she had. Which of us has ever once given all the living that he had Ah! if the godly desire of this poor widow thus to take part, in spite of her destitution, in the offerings of God, was shared by us, what abundance there would be in these offerings, and also what returns of righteousness for those participating therein! (2 Cor. 9:1010Now he that ministereth seed to the sower both minister bread for your food, and multiply your seed sown, and increase the fruits of your righteousness;) (2 Corinthians 9:10)).)
We also have to do with the house of God and with the offerings of God. The abuses which have been committed and which are still being practiced in connection therewith, we, through the Lord's grace, have come out from, and have become prudent and cautious with reference to every human means and ingenious expediency having for their object the producing among the children of God of this fruit of liberality enjoined in Scripture. But let us be careful that this reaction does not cause us to fall into negligence and indifference' with regard to the requirements of the house of God. "The Lord looketh on the heart." He sees if the heart is devoted to Him, and if His word, directed by the Holy Spirit, has the effect of disposing our hearts to such things as are " well-pleasing to Him." Now it is He who has caused these words to be written to us, " Let him that is taught in the word communicate unto him that teacheth in all good things " (Gal. 6:66Let him that is taught in the word communicate unto him that teacheth in all good things. (Galatians 6:6)).
We would go beyond the limits of our space were we to recall the various aspects of this important subject of our service towards God. We desire to restrict ourselves to a single point which we believe to be more easily lost sight of. And, as has been said, the reaction against the abuses is liable to weaken in us our responsibility with reference to the needs of God's house, and thus to cause, us to lose our privilege in participating therein.
The short verse, Mark 11:1212And on the morrow, when they were come from Bethany, he was hungry: (Mark 11:12), gives us a lesson at once touching and sorrowful: " And on the morrow, when they were come from Bethany, He was hungry." He, the Lord! He who fed the multitudes, and who also provided for the wants of His disciples (Luke 22:3535And he said unto them, When I sent you without purse, and scrip, and shoes, lacked ye any thing? And they said, Nothing. (Luke 22:35)), on one occasion at least did He find no person that would trouble himself about procuring Him food for the day! This teaches us that the perfect Servant would go before His own in the narrow path along which He would call them to pass after Him. And, according to His own words, " The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord " (Matt. 10:2424The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord. (Matthew 10:24)); in like manner do not the godly servants of Christ frequently find themselves similarly tested? But what say we, beloved brethren, if enjoying the teaching of the Lord by His servants, we forget to offer them the simplest necessaries of life and allow them to be hungry? The apostle praises Gaius for having acted faithfully in all that He had done to the brethren, and to those even who were strangers who had borne witness of his love before the assembly; and, says he, " whom if thou bring forward on their journey after a godly sort (literally "worthily of God"), thou shalt do well; because that for His name's sake (corrected reading gives, " for the Name") they went forth, taking nothing of the Gentiles" (3 John 66Which have borne witness of thy charity before the church: whom if thou bring forward on their journey after a godly sort, thou shalt do well: (3 John 6), 7). On the other hand Nehemiah blames those whom he had left at Jerusalem for a time, because "the portions of the Levites had not been given them" (Neh. 13:1010And I perceived that the portions of the Levites had not been given them: for the Levites and the singers, that did the work, were fled every one to his field. (Nehemiah 13:10)), so that, he goes on to say, " the Levites and the singers, that did the work, were fled everyone to his field. Then contended I with the rulers, and said, Why is the house of God forsaken?"
It is well for us that these things are recorded in Scripture, just as we have written in the law of Moses, " Thou shalt not muzzle the mouth of the ox that treadeth out the corn. Doth God take care for oxen? Or saith He it altogether for our sakes? For our sakes, no doubt this is written: that he that ploweth should plow in hope; and that he that thresheth in hope should be partaker of his hope" (1 Cor. 9.).
Do not let any of us, beloved brethren, be looking at others in order to disburden ourselves of these duties on them. It is with the Lord that we have to do, each one for himself, rich, poor, or those of moderate means, it is to Him we bring our offerings, it is His house; and if His house be neglected He sees it, and it is to each one of us He addresses His exhortations, and " His commandments are not grievous." " All things are naked and opened unto the eyes of Him with whom we have to do," and if our offerings are not forthcoming or are inadequate, He sees the reason of it. He sees how few sacrifices we bring there. We would do well to ponder over Haggai 1:99Ye looked for much, and, lo, it came to little; and when ye brought it home, I did blow upon it. Why? saith the Lord of hosts. Because of mine house that is waste, and ye run every man unto his own house. (Haggai 1:9); indeed the whole of that short book affords profitable matter for meditation in connection with the subject before us. We can excuse ourselves as to these charges by comparing ourselves with others, by the smallness of our means, etc., but the Lord sees how much self-denial there is on our part. And He is near to put His finger on the multiplicity of our expenses, superfluous, useless or even hurtful, which we indulge in for ourselves, while His house, and His servants are forgotten.
In conclusion, let us remember that, whilst we are neglecting these exquisite instructions which the word addresses to our hearts, it is our loss. It is 'sufficient, beloved, to remind you of this, " knowing" (as the apostle Paul says to Philemon) " that thou wilt also do more than I say."
" The " chest " of Jehoash was placed beside "'the altar," and likewise in the exhortation of Paul to the Hebrews he connects together in the same way " the sacrifice of praise" and " the sacrifice of doing good and communicating," as the two sides of the service with which God is well pleased. May He give us to remember " without ceasing" this precious exhortation!
Do not let us be asking: " Are there any needs? What servant of God is without the necessaries of life?" etc. Dear friends, the needs are of every day 'occurrence, and the instruction lasts during eighteen centuries to exercise and test our faithfulness. And if we are inattentive to it, we shall certainly lose the blessing that God has linked up therewith. Moreover God may let us be deprived both of servants and service (Haggai 1:1111And I called for a drought upon the land, and upon the mountains, and upon the corn, and upon the new wine, and upon the oil, and upon that which the ground bringeth forth, and upon men, and upon cattle, and upon all the labor of the hands. (Haggai 1:11)).