God First

John Tilton

"Worship the LORD your God, and his blessing will be on your food and water. I will take away sickness from among you, and none will miscarry or be barren in your land. I will give you a full life span." (Exodus 23:25-26)
God is very clear that if we will put Him first in our lives in reverence and obedience, His blessings will be bestowed upon us in provision, health and a good life. Does this mean that if we put God first, that life will be bliss; we will be rich and have no challenges? No! What it means is that God promises us that He will be with us through good times and challenging times. It is in those challenging times that if we are to put Him first, our reward will be the gift of hope, understanding, insight and character growth. It's all about who we are and becoming rather then what is in our hand. As the Israelites wandered in the desert, they must surely have been consumed in thought about food and water, their health and their future. They didn't have their answer of provision, health and a good life at that moment; however, God was teaching them a lesson of hope and a promise for the future if they put Him first in worship. The short-term benefit would be their answered prayer in provision and health. The long-term blessing would be the people's growth in character.
Aren't we the same. Isn't it our instinct to look, hope and focus on the physical, often trying to strike a deal with God? God, if I do your will and obey you, then what do I get? It should be, God as I do you will and obey you, who am I and who will I become.
I learned recently that success, victory and awards is good, however it is the short-term benefit, not the long-term blessing that God has intended for each of us. It is often through the conflict that hurts, the challenge that seems insurmountable that God can take us to a new dimension of what life is all about and how He can work through us. It's often when we are at our lowest, like the Israelites in the desert, when we are most capable of turning to God first. But what if we can do it in a spirit of worship rather then a spirit of woe is me? That's the key! Put God first with a spirit of worship, no matter what we are going through.
Lord, when tough times come my way, may I always remember, "still I will worship you!" When I feel overwhelmed and depleted, may I remember, "still I will worship you!" When I am attacked by the enemy, "still I will worship you!"

Devotions for January 29

Exodus 23,24
Psalms 14
Acts 5

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