CGG Weekly, September 9, 2016

"We are afraid that if we stop and really look at God in his Word, we might discover that he evokes greater awe and demands deeper worship than we are ready to give him."
David Platt

A good friend recently told me of an experience he had several years ago. Working on a construction site, he saw a small group of men standing around, looking for something on the ground. When he was told that a man had lost a contact lens, my friend asked God to show it to him. Upon finishing his prayer, he looked down, and there it was between his feet.

My friend said that I was the only one to whom he had ever mentioned it. It struck me that his failure to speak of it may have kept God from receiving the glory due Him.

Healing and glorifying God fit hand in glove. Notice this incident in Luke 17:12-18:

Then as He entered a certain village, there met Him ten men who were lepers, who stood afar off. And they lifted up their voices and said, "Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!" So when He saw them, He said to them, "Go, show yourselves to the priests." And so it was that as they went, they were cleansed.

And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, returned, and with a loud voice glorified God, and fell down on his face at His feet, giving Him thanks. And he was a Samaritan. So Jesus answered and said, "Were there not ten cleansed? But where are the nine? Were there not any found who returned to give glory to God except this foreigner?"

Another passage in Luke shows a proper response to an act of God like a healing: "And immediately he received his sight, and followed Him, glorifying God. And all the people, when they saw it, gave praise to God" (Luke 18:43). If this man had just turned and walked away, almost no one would have noticed that he had actually been given sight. God would have received little of the glory due Him, glory that He expected.

The lepers and the blind man, along with multitudes of others, all asked something of Jesus, and He showed no hesitation in responding to the petitions of these unconverted men. Notice also His willingness to grant the requests of His disciples in John 14:13-14: "And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified [and extolled (AMP)] in the Son. If you ask anything in My name, I will do it." So Christ expects us to ask for His help, and when He gives it, He does it to glorify His Father. So when Christ does something for us, we should follow His example and glorify God by praising Him in true humility (see Matthew 6:5-7, 16-18).

Jesus says that if what we ask is within God's will, He is pleased to grant our request. If He ignored us, the Father would not be glorified and Jesus would be made a liar. That being said, God's perfect will may preclude our receiving what we asked for. During Jesus' ministry, it seems that God's will to heal was quite broad in scope. Notice Matthew 15:30-31:

Then great multitudes came to Him, having with them the lame, blind, mute, maimed, and many others; and they laid them down at Jesus' feet, and He healed them. So the multitude marveled when they saw the mute speaking, the maimed made whole, the lame walking, and the blind seeing; and they glorified the God of Israel.

The book of Matthew contains ten instances of the word "healed" in the context of Christ healing people of their various issues. In six of those, Matthew speaks of great multitudes and of Jesus healing them all. He did not ignore any request for healing; it just is not in the gospels.

Since God does not change (Malachi 3:6), we know that God is not ignoring our requests for healing either. However, this statement needs to be qualified. The situation on the ground has changed. God is doing more with us than healing diseased bodies; He is healing hearts which are out of alignment with Him. At times He uses suffering, rather than healing, to build our faith.

Knowing that God has promised to answer our prayers, we have expectations of God, and as we have seen, He has expectations of us. These expectations must work together, for glorifying God is not a one-way relationship. Further, when we give something to God that pleases Him, He gives back far more than we gave to Him (see Malachi 3:10; Ephesians 3:20-21).

One of God's expectations of us is found in Romans 12:1, where the apostle Paul beseeches us to present ourselves to God as holy, acceptable, living sacrifices. Animal sacrifices are no more, and now it is our turn to offer our lives to God. What is a living sacrifice? Hebrews 13:15-16 covers a substantial part of it: "Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name. But do not forget to do good and to share, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased."

Glorifying God through praise is a major part of being a living sacrifice. Much of this praise is directed to God (verse 15), though it may also be spoken in conversation with others, as we tell them of the many blessings God has bestowed on us. Our glorifying of God takes place directly to Him in prayer and song (see Ephesians 5:19-20). In addition, while offering these sacrifices of praise to God, Paul says, we are also to be doing good and sharing with others. Verbal praise is one aspect of glorifying God, yet it is incomplete without also bearing spiritual fruit (Matthew 5:16; John 15:8; I Corinthians 6:20; II Corinthians 9:13; I Peter 3:1-2).

Some people thank God for the oxygen they breathe and everything else all the way up to the promises of eternal life. While that is certainly not a wrong concept, it is not the glorifying of God that occupies us here. Particularly, we are focused on glorifying God for His immediate or timely answer to our request for something specific.

For example, during the Feast of Tabernacles a few years ago, a couple asked me to join them for dinner in a local restaurant. As we were being seated, the husband asked me if I had noticed that the hostess had led us to a quiet part of the restaurant. He explained that they always asked God to provide safe travel, quiet seating, a cordial waiter, and properly prepared food. He added that they were never disappointed, and he thanked God continually for it.

Another time, an elder once praised the Lord in my hearing about some little thing. I asked him how he knew that God had anything to do with it. He replied that he would rather praise God for something He had not done than to fail to praise Him for something He had done.

Give it a try. Make glorifying God from a pure heart a regular practice. Who knows what abundance of blessings He will send our way?