Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Highest Respect

"...I will have respect unto you." (Leviticus 26:9)

God is not a "respecter of persons." He says so in Acts 10:34. In other words, He is not impressed at all by who we are or what our position in this life may be. After all, He is the God of the whole universe, you understand. Actually, this passage in Acts tells us God is not a respecter of men in salvation. Jew or Gentile may find redemption through His Son, Jesus Christ. But, on the other hand, I have found at least four cases in the Bible of particular qualities that God saw in certain people that caused Him to look upon them with a degree of respect. Interested?

First, in Genesis four, in the story of Cain and his brother Abel, we are told that although Cain's offering of "the fruit of the ground" may have been beautiful, and evidence of his own hard work, it was Abel's sacrifice of a life—in this case, the life of a lamb—that God was looking for. We read in verse four, "And the LORD had respect unto Abel and to his offering." God not only had respect for the offering, He had respect for the man who brought it. As my husband likes to point out, our service to God may look good to others, like Cain's luscious fruit and vegetables, but only He knows when we have truly given Him a life, always a sacrifice.

In Exodus 2:24-25, we find out God is mindful of our sufferings. So much so that we read, "And God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. And God looked upon the children of Israel, and God had respect unto them." He heard their groans of despair, remembered they were His people, and honored their sufferings. And, as you know, it was not long before Moses showed up. In the same way, Hebrews 4:15 tells us that God is "touched with the feelings of our infirmities"; so may we not assume that when He "feels" our pain, the same respect is kindled?

We can also be sure that obedience will turn the head of God, as well. He says as much in Leviticus 26, verses three and nine. "If ye walk in my statues, and keep my commandments, and do them...I will have respect unto you." Obedience may be hard, but it's never impossible. It takes no special talent, training, or temperament, and it's a sure-fire way to get God's seal of approval.

Finally, we read in Psalm 138:6b, "Though the LORD be high, yet hath he respect unto the lowly." In other words, you might expect someone as high and mighty as God would relate more to a proud person; but He's already seen that quality manifested in His arch-enemy, Lucifer (Isa. 14). Instead, it is true humility that stirs Him to respect. And I would venture to say, His respect is probably called for less often for this trait than for the other three.

Sacrifice, suffering, obedience, and humility. Am I willing to forego the respect of men, if need be, in order to gain the respect of God with these qualities? I have His love, no matter what; now I want His respect—the highest respect.

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