2008-06-14 - God's Gifts
Hosea 2:8, "For she does not know that it was I who gave her the grain, the new wine, and the oil, and lavished on her silver and gold, which they used for Baal."
How easily we forget that all we have is a gift of God. In the above verse, God is recounting that Israel had forgotten all that He did for her. He had given her the good things: grain, new wine, oil, silver, and gold, but they had used these things to serve an invented idol god, Baal, who was no god. He gave them these blessings, and not only were they backwards in remembering the blessings of the Lord, but they also turned around and served a false god, with the blessings the living God had given them. Oh, how so much like this are we!
John Bradford lived on a road that was on the way to the hanging gallows at Tyburn, England. Daily he would watch condemned prisoners, carried on a cart to the gallows. He would say to himself, looking out his window, "There goes John Bradford, but for the grace of God." In 1554, when bloody Mary took the throne. he was sent to prison because of his faith in Christ. On June 1, 1555 he was burnt at Smithfield, being tied to a stake. He was a man of strong faith and conviction (His writings are still in print today). His faith in Christ cost him his life, but he knew and found comfort in the truth that all he had in his life, and in his death was a gracious gift of a loving God who he went to be with on 6-1-1555.
What do any of us have that we have not received? The self-made man or woman is all the rage these days. Where did the natural talent come from, to give them the ability to become great? It was a gift of God. Where did the sustained health come from, for the one who does well in this world? It comes from the Lord. Where did their wisdom, knowledge, or opportunities come from? They have all been received. If we sit down and trace the progress of our lives, we know that we did not make our opportunities. To believe that we are self-made robs God of His glory. God, by His Spirit, is the giver of all good. Let us bless God for all. Does not the sovereignty of God play a part in our being born in one place, and one condition, rather than in another? Surely you know it is true.
We have many blessings, and we have them all from God. If you trust for mercy and forgiveness from sin, through the atoning shed blood of Christ, where did conviction and knowledge of sin come from? Did you all of a sudden understand that God is holy and you are a sinner, or did the Spirit reveal it to you? You have faith. Is it a gift of God? If the faith you have is not the gift of God, get rid of it. It will never save you. Saving faith is always a gift of God. "For by grace, you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God," You have grown in your faith. Did you teach yourself, or have you been taught of God by His Spirit? You love Christ. You are changed from your old ways. Are you not a receiver of all these things? Can you claim credit for the grace that saturates you - in your life? All these things are God's gifts. "Thou hast performed for us all our works," Isaiah 26:12. What gratitude ought we to have to the Lord for His kindness usward. Christ has stepped into our lives and saved us from we know not what. All we have of things temporal or spiritual have been given to us by our gracious, loving King.
"There goes Tim, but for the grace of God."
Soli Deo Gloria,