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A Great Relationship with Godby Duane Mabee on November 18, 2021
What does it take to have a great relationship with God? It might not be what you think. Let me illustrate.
When Karla and I were looking for a new keyboard for the church, we had done our homework and pretty well knew what we needed. One salesman, though, listened briefly to what we were looking for and then proceeded to tell us what we “really” needed. The keyboards he showed us were nice, high-quality instruments. They had great sound. But they didn’t match what we said we needed. They wouldn’t function the way we needed them to. Each time we tried to tell him what we needed, he assured us we were wrong and needed his products instead. His products were good, but they weren’t what we wanted. Needless to say, we did not buy a keyboard from him.
Many believers do something similar. They determine what God wants from them. They decide what it takes to have a close relationship with God. Often, they can support their ideas from Scripture, but they miss what God desires.
Psalm 50 describes how the Israelites did this. I encourage you to read the whole chapter this week, but here’s a highlight. The Israelites were giving God lots of sacrifices – sacrifices the Bible called for – but God wasn’t pleased. It wasn’t bringing them into closer relationship with Him. In verses 7-13, God told them basically, “I have nothing against your sacrifices, but I won’t accept them”. He goes on to say, “I don’t need them. I don’t need anything.”
So, what does God want? Our Thanksgiving and dependence. In verses 14-15 God tells them to “Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving, and perform your vows to the Most High, and call upon Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify Me,” (ESV). In verses 22-23 He says, “Mark this, then, you who forget God, lest I tear you apart, and there be none to deliver! The one who offers thanksgiving as his sacrifice glorifies Me; to one who orders his way rightly I will show the salvation of God!” (ESV). God didn’t want their sacrifices. He wanted their hearts.
What we can do for God will not draw us into a close relationship with God. Recognizing how much we need Him and being grateful for all He has done for us, will. That’s how important gratitude and thanksgiving are to our relationship with God. Gratitude always flows out of a recognition of our dependence and God’s provision. Thanksgiving is relational. That’s why God rejects those who forget to or refuse to offer Him thanksgiving.
Do you want to have a great relationship with God? Focus on giving Him the gratitude He deserves.