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 Vol. 6, No. 2 

February 2004

Priscilla's Page *Editor's Note*

~ Page 16 ~

Putting and Keeping God First

By Marilyn LaStrape

Image From the beginning, God has always demanded the first and best in worship, work and service. The account of Cain and Abel confirms that. When he told Abraham in Genesis 12 to get out of his country and go to a place he would show him, Abraham made the choice to put and keep God first.

When God gave Moses the Ten Commandments, he said, "I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. You shall have no other gods before Me" (Exodus 20:2-3).

Malachi gives us a vivid description of God's displeasure toward his people Israel who were "going through religious motions" with totally insincere and unrepentant hearts. The nation had become so corrupt that God's Word no longer had any impact! When they offered the blind, lame and sick, God told them to offer it to their governor and see if he would be pleased with them and accept them favorably. God has never accepted or been pleased with our leftovers!

In our daily lives, we are faced with the challenge of putting and keeping God first because there are so many people, places, things and situations competing for our time and attention.

What are some of the modern day gods we put before God Almighty? It is another one of Satan's lies to be deceived into believing we don't have other gods! In a lot of cases, our attitude is just like that of the nation of Israel. The Internet, computer games, television, movies, books, magazines, telephones/cell phones, newspapers, jobs, possessions, family, money, food -- just to name a few -- are our gods.

When a choice has to be made between God and them -- whoever or whatever "them" happens to be -- we must choose God if we are to put and keep him first. Jesus said, "Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth, I did not come to bring peace but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. And a man's foes will be those of his own household. He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me" (Matthew 10:34-37).

When Jesus said in Matthew 6:33, "But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you," what things was he talking about? He was previously discussing food, clothing and shelter, the things we need to sustain our daily lives, and says God knows we have need of all these things.

How is God kept first if what we are offering to him does not cost us anything in money, time, energy, effort or influence? Where is the sacrifice? King David needed to buy a threshing floor from Araunah, who offered to give it to David. David said, "No, but I will surely buy it from you for a price; nor will I offer burnt offerings to the Lord my God with that which costs me nothing" (2 Samuel 24:24).

Are we putting and keeping God first in our worship to him when we pray, teach, give, sing and commune every week? Are we putting and keeping God first in our visiting, encouraging, teaching, evangelizing, serving and exhorting others? If everybody attended, gave, sang, prayed and participated in the worship, work and service the way we do, what kind of congregation of the Lord's church would it be?

"Thus says the Lord: Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, let not the mighty man glory in his might, nor let the rich man glory in his riches; but let him who glories glory in this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the Lord, exercising loving kindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth" (Jeremiah 9:23).Image

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