Special Days – Dedication / Anniversary: Genesis 28:10-22; Psalm 48: (1-8), 9-14; 1 Corinthians 3:9-17; Matthew 12:1-8
A night to remember – blessing from the Lord, dedication to the Lord
Just another night (Genesis 28:11)? No! This was a night to remember, a night Jacob would never forget. God came to him with His wonderful promise of love: ‘I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you’ (Genesis 28:15). At Bethel (‘the house of God’), powerfully transformed by the presence of God - ‘Surely the Lord is in this place’ (Genesis 28:16) - , Jacob consecrated himself to the Lord. ‘If’ (Genesis 28:20) means ‘Since’. See Romans 8:31 - ‘If (Since) God is for us, who can be against us?’ Giving the tenth (Genesis 28:22) - this is not legalism, a kind of repayment scheme. There can be no ‘salvation by works’. We are saved by grace (Ephesians 2:8-9). Our giving must always be a heartfelt expression of thanksgiving to the God of grace: ‘Loving Him who first loved me’. We are saved ‘to do good works’ (Ephesians 2:10) - not because we do good works!
Our worship does end in God’s House. Let His praise go to the ends of the earth.
‘Great is the Lord and greatly to be praised’ (Psalm 48:1). We worship God in the place of worship - ‘Within Your Temple, O God, we meditate on Your unfailing love’. Our worship must not end there. We are to play our part in seeing that the praise of the Lord ‘reaches to the ends of the earth’. We are to ‘be glad’ in the Lord. We are to ‘rejoice’ in Him (Psalm 48:9-11). We must not keep this joy to ourselves. The Lord is ‘the joy of all the earth.’ We must share His joy. We are to ‘tell the next generation.’ How will they know if we do not tell them? Many are slow to come and worship the Lord. We must not be slow to witness for Him. Let’s remember God’s promise - ‘My Word...will not return to Me empty, but will...achieve the purpose for which I sent it’ - and let’s say - ‘Here am I. Send me!’ (Isaiah 55:11; 6:8).
Let Jesus take the highest honour. Let His Name be high over all.
We come to know God when ‘the Spirit’ leads us to ‘Jesus Christ’ (1 Corinthians 2:10-13; 3:11; John 16:14). We must not attach too much importance to the preachers - ‘What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants...’. When we make too much of the servant, we draw attention away from the Saviour. There is a very important lesson here - ‘Neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth’ (1 Corinthians 3:5-7). We are not members of a ‘mutual appreciation society’ - ‘You pat my back, and I’ll pat yours’! We must learn to point to Jesus, saying, ‘He must increase, but I must decrease’(John 3:30). Let ‘Jesus take the highest honour’. Let His Name be ‘the Name high over all’. ‘’Tis all my business... to cry Behold the Lamb!’ (Mission Praise, 378, 385) - Let’s say it and mean it!
Let us commit ourselves afresh to the service of Christ.
Much of Jesus’ ministry was carried out under the watchful eye of the Pharisees. The controversy with the Pharisees was intensifying (Matthew 12:2, 14). The Pharisees were out to get Jesus. For all their religion, they had no time for Jesus. Still, there are the critics, those who try to undermine our faith in Christ, those who attempt to draw us away from serving Christ. We must remain resolute in our faith, believing what God says concerning His Son: ‘Here is my Servant whom I have chosen, the One I love, in whom I delight’ (Matthew 12:18; 3:17; 17:5). As we read of Jesus, the chosen Servant of God, loved by the Father and bringing delight to the Father's heart, we should give thanks for all that God has done for us in Christ (Ephesians 1: 4-6), and we should commit ourselves afresh to the service of Christ (1 Corinthians 15:58).