You remember it, but God has forgotten it.
God has forgiven you. Now forgive yourself.
But I wipe away your sins because of who I am. And so, I will forget the wrongs you have done (Isaiah 43:25, CEV).
receive: to be given something; to come in possession of something; to accept from another by hearing or listening; to be a recipient; to act as a container for
The Jews argued among themselves, saying, How can this man give us his flesh to eat? Then Jesus said to them, Verily, verily, I say to you, Except you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you (John 6:52-53).
When those who followed Jesus heard him talking about eating flesh and drinking blood, they probably thought, This man is crazy. Is this some type of cult? Although they heard him, they didn’t understand him. This is a hard saying: who can understand it? (John 6:60). And because they didn’t understand, they complained and many of his disciples went back and walked no more with him.
For my flesh is meat indeed and my blood is drink indeed (John 6:55).
Those who heard the words of Jesus should have been able to relate to what he was saying because he was speaking their language. They knew about offering sacrifices according to the law. Words such as flesh and blood were familiar to them, but they still missed it.
For years, they had been sacrificing animals for their sins, but what they were doing didn’t last because they had to do it again and again. But now the Word was made flesh (Jesus). God sent Jesus to become both the High Priest and the sacrifice. And even though he would only sacrifice himself once, that one time would last forever.
For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do (Hebrews 4:12-13).
Out of his mouth went a sharp two-edged sword (Revelation 1:16).
Before Jesus was pierced, he was laid on the cross. Before the priest cut the animal, it was laid on the altar. Prior to the priest cutting the animal, all he saw was the outer, but the moment he cut the animal, what was inside of it was exposed for all to see. This is what the word of God does. It exposes thoughts, motives and intentions of the heart. It shows us who we really are. In Genesis 1:4, his word divided the light from the darkness.
In order for the word to do what it was sent out to do, it will require us to lay down our will and our ways. It will require us to become a living sacrifice. It will require us to say like Jesus said, Not my will, but Your will be done. Just like the followers in John 6, some of us were raised to think a certain way – at home and in church. We were taught to believe a certain way and to do things a certain way for years, but some of the things we’ve been doing hasn’t worked.
Jesus wasn’t asking them to do something that they were used to doing. He wasn’t asking them to purchase and to sacrifice another animal. In fact, he wasn’t asking them to give Him something. He was asking them to receive something. Receive change. Receive the words of the Father and receive what His Son came to do for them.
If you don’t understand a thing, then ask for understanding and God will give it to you. I know it’s different, it’s not what you’re used to and you always do it ‘this way’, but don’t walk away from God or reject what He said because you don’t understand what He’s doing or because it doesn’t make sense right now. Anytime God sends His word, He sends it to help you, not to harm you or offend you.
Just receive it.
[Scripture references: John 6:51-66; John 1:14; Hebrews 2:17; Hebrews 10:1-14; Romans 12:1]
honor: to grant someone respect and authority in your life; high esteem made public; to treat with submission
Eli had two sons, Phinehas and Hophni. They were sleeping with the women in the temple, lying and taking the sacrifices that belonged to God for themselves. When it was brought to Eli’s attention what his sons were doing, he rebuked them, but he allowed this wickedness to continue. One day, a man of God went to Eli and reminded him that out of all the tribes of Israel, God chose the tribe (Levi) that he was born into to be priests for Him, to sacrifice upon His altar, to burn incense and to wear priestly robes as they served Him. God made a promise to his ancestors that the tribe of Levi would always be HIS priests, but because Eli honored his sons more than he honored God, his family would die prematurely.
In the meantime, the Israelites went to battle and were defeated by the Philistines. The elders of Israel had this idea to take the ark of the covenant to the next battle in hopes that it would save them. The people carried the ark of the covenant and Eli’s sons stayed with the ark. Isn’t that something? Phinehas and Hophni wouldn’t honor or respect God with their bodies or with their substance, but now they wanted to honor Him – because they wanted something from Him.
But God doesn’t overlook sin. Eli was warned. The people described in Romans 1:18-24 reminded me of Eli’s sons. They exchanged the glory of God for an image that wasn’t of God. They did what they wanted to do. They thought they were wise without Him. They used their bodies for their pleasure, but not for God’s pleasure. Because God didn’t do what they wanted Him to do, they created in their minds ideas of what God was like and what He wanted them to do. They worshipped the god they made instead of the God who made them.
Because the sins continued, the glory of God departed. As a result, Israel lost to the Philistines, the sons died and the ark of the covenant was stolen by the Philistines. When Eli heard the news, he fell backwards off of the seat and broke his neck. When Eli’s daughter-in-law heard about it, she died during childbirth and the baby was named Ichabod, meaning the glory is departed from Israel.
Someone once told me, God is everywhere. He is at every church.
God is everywhere, but His glory isn’t.
Everyone likes to have ‘good church’, but God desires us to be a ‘changed church’. The glory of God is described as God’s greatness, presence, power, beauty and character, but in 2 Corinthians 3:18, we read that the purpose of God’s glory is to change us into His image. But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord. Sometimes when people read that scripture, they read it as something that will happen after we leave this earth, but this is what God wants to do in us now.
When the glory of God appears, we see God as He is. In the year that King Uzziah died, Isaiah saw the Lord (Isaiah 6:1). He also saw seraphims crying to one another, Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory. He not only saw the image of God, but he saw himself and the people he hung around. Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips (Isaiah 6:5). Revelation just doesn’t come so you can have knowledge of something, but it comes to bring transformation. He saw who he was, but he also saw what he should become. This is why we need His glory.
After Isaiah confessed his sins, one of the seraphims took a live coal from the altar and laid it on Isaiah’s mouth and said, This has touched your lips; and your iniquity is taken away, and your sin purged (Isaiah 6:7). If we confess our sins, God is faithful and just to forgive our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. And that’s what He did for Isaiah upon his confession. After Isaiah spoke, God spoke. Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Because of the change that took place in Isaiah, God knew that when Isaiah spoke, he would be speaking for HIM and for all of heaven. God needs someone who will say what HE said and not what they want to say.
But I don’t want to confine God’s glory to a temple (the church building) because our bodies are also called the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19). For you are the temple of the living God; as God has said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people (1 Corinthians 6:16).
It has always been God’s desire to live in us and to walk in us, but we must first do something. Come out from among them, and be ye separate (remember Isaiah was in the midst of a people with unclean lips), says the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing and I will receive you (2 Corinthians 6:16-17). In other words, change. Change your ways. Change who/what you hang around. Change what you’ve been doing. Change what you’ve been listening to. Change what you’ve been speaking.
Have you ever lost something good and wished you could get it back? Can you imagine what it was like when the Spirit of God departed from Saul (1 Samuel 16:14)? I don’t want you and I to ever know what it feels like to not feel God’s presence or to not hear His voice. So, we must do what Eli didn’t do.
Paul urged children in Ephesians 6:2 to honor their parents. How do children honor their parents? By obeying them. And just like a parent, God is honored when His children do what He tells us to do. This people draw nigh to Me with their mouth and honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me (Matthew 15:8). Honor is not just spoken. It is shown.
Prayer: Lord, help us to honor You in everything we do and not just what we say.
[References: 1 Samuel 2:12-17, 22-36; 1 Samuel 4; Isaiah 6:1-8]