Sunday, November 25, 2007

Making God Smile

And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, "Speak unto Aaron and unto his sons, saying, 'On this wise ye shall bless the children of Israel, saying unto them, "The Lord bless thee, and keep thee: The Lord make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: The Lord lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace."' And they shall put my name upon the children of Israel, and I will bless them." Numbers 6:22-27

Look at the words, "The Lord make his face shine upon thee." The psalmist used the same expression...

Make thy face to shine upon thy servant & teach me thy statutes. Psalm 119:135.

The word shine in the Hebrew is the same as gleam or smile. To have the smile of God should be the sole purpose of our lives, so our most important task should be to discover how our lives can be pleasing to Him.

To prove what is acceptable unto the Lord. Ephesians 5:10.

This morning I want us to look at the life of Noah for an example of a life that gives God pleasure and that puts a smile upon His face. Go with me to the 6th chapter of Genesis. As you know, this is the story of the flood and how God used one man to save the world. In Noah’s day, the entire world had become morally bankrupt. Everyone lived for their own pleasure, not for God. (That sounds like the world we live in.) God couldn’t find anyone on earth interested in pleasing Him, so He was grieved and regretted making man. He became so disgusted with the whole human race that He considered wiping it out. But there was one man who made God smile!

Noah found grace (well-favored) in the eyes of God. Genesis 6:8

God said, "This guy brings Me pleasure. He is well pleasing to Me."

From Noah’s life we are going to learn five acts of worship that will make God smile.

1. God smiles when we love him supremely.

Noah loved God more that anything else in the world, even when no one else did.

Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God. Genesis 6:9.

Noah consistently followed God’s will and enjoyed a close relationship with Him. This is what God wants most from us: a close relationship that is pleasing to Him. God does not want to be just a God that is distant, one that we can’t love or one that we are afraid of, but rather a God who is very near.

Jesus answered and said unto him, "If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him." John 14:32

Notice the words "Make our abode with him." This is talking about God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. The greatest objective of our lives should be learning to love God and to understand that He loves us. Nothing else in life is more important that these two facts.

Jesus said unto him, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment." Matthew 22:37-38

"As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love. If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love. These things have I spoken unto you, that my JOY might remain in you, and that your joy might be full."
John 15:9-11

God is looking for people to live like these scriptures. Let me ask this question. Are you that kind of person like Noah? Does God find pleasure in you?

2. God smiles when we trust him completely.

The second reason Noah pleased God was that he trusted God, even when it didn’t make sense.

By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith. Hebrews 11:7

Let's sum this up: One day God comes to Noah and says, "I’m disappointed in the human race. In the entire world, no one but you thinks about me. But Noah, when I look at you, I start smiling. I’m pleased with your life, so I’m going to flood the world and start over with your family. I want you to build a giant ship that will save you and your family..."

Let me stop right here and say that it was Noah’s faith that saved His family. That tells me that our faith in God is important in the saving of our families.

I want to point out three problems that could have caused Noah to doubt.

  1. Noah had never seen rain. Prior to the flood God irrigated the earth from the ground up.
  2. Noah lived hundreds of miles from the nearest ocean. Even if He could build the Ark, how would he get to the water?
  3. There was a small problem of rounding up all the animals and then the care of them.

But Noah didn’t complain or make excuses. He trusted God completely, and started to build, and that made God smile. Trusting God completely means having faith that he knows that is best for your life. It means that you expect Him to keep his promises, to help with the impossible problems and with everyday things.

The Lord taketh pleasure [smiles] in them that fear him, in those that hope [trust] in his mercy. Psalm 147:11

It took Noah 120 years to build the ark. He faced many discouraging days. (We will, too.) With no sign of rain year after year, he was ruthlessly criticized as a crazy man who thinks God speaks to him. I think Noah’s children were often embarrassed by the giant ship being built by their father. Yet Noah kept on trusting God and what God had told Him.

Trusting God is an act of worship. Just as parents are pleased when children trust their love and wisdom, your faith makes God smile. The Bible says, "Without faith it is impossible to please God."

3. God smiles when we obey him wholeheartedly.

Everything had to be done just as God prescribed it. God gave Noah detailed instructions as to the ark and to the animals.

The ship was to be 450 feet long by 75 feet wide by 45 feet high. With one door and one window! Now I think Noah had many suggestion as to what was needed.

Mother Noah may have said: "It’d dark in here and I need more light! Build more windows in this thing."

The fire department may have said, "This boat isn’t up to the standards of the fire code. It needs another door for another exit."

Lots of things could have been suggested to Noah but Noah knew what God said.

Thus did Noah; according to all that God commanded him, so did he. Genesis 6:6.

He was doing things by the book. He was doing things the way God wanted them done. He didn’t have to pray about it. He just obeyed! He didn’t procrastinate. He just obeyed God! He knew that God didn’t owe Him an explanation. He just obeyed! He made God smile!

Let me share some things about obedience.

  • Instant obedience will teach you more about God than lifetime of Bible study.
  • Obedience unlocks understanding.
  • Partial obedience is in fact disobedience.
  • Any act of obedience is an act of worship.

Teach me, O Lord, the way of thy statutes; and I shall keep it unto the end. Psalm 119:33.

Jesus gave a simple statement.

"If ye love me, keep my commandments." John 14:15.

This kind of love will make God smile!

4. God smiles when we praise and give Him thanks continually.

Few things feel better than receiving praise and appreciation.

My mother-in-law was one of the best when it came to giving praise to others. She could get more done than anyone because she gave lots of praise. When she was talking to you, you were the best at doing whatever it was that she wanted done. She had found that praise was a great tool.

Noah’s life brought pleasure to God because he lived with a heart of praise and thanksgiving. His first act after the flood was to give God praise.

And Noah builded an altar unto the Lord; and took of every clean beast, and of every clean fowl, and offered burnt offerings on the altar. Genesis 8:20.

Because of Jesus’ sacrifice we don’t offer animal sacrifices as Noah did. Instead we are told to offer God a sacrifice of praise.

By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name. Hebrews 13:15.

An amazing thing happens when we offer praise and thanksgiving to God for what he is doing for us. When we make God smile, our own hearts are filled with joy. Worship works both ways. We enjoy what God has done for us and when we express that enjoyment to God, it brings Him great joy!

Bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits: Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases; Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies; Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle's. Psalm 103:1-5

5. God smiles when we use our abilities for Him.

"And this is the fashion which thou shalt make it of: The length of the ark shall be three hundred cubits, the breadth of it fifty cubits, and the height of it thirty cubits. A window shalt thou make to the ark, and in a cubit shalt thou finish it above; and the door of the ark shalt thou set in the side thereof; with lower, second, and third stories shalt thou make it." Genesis 6:15-16.

God never gives us something to do that He does not give us the ability to do.

My father-in-law was a wonderful wood carver. God gave Him great ability to be able to use knives to make something out of a block of wood. Now I believe that God gave him that ability. On the other hand, if I tried to carve something out of the same wood I would make a nice pile of wood shavings!

Noah had a job to do and I know that He had never built a boat before because there was no need for one where he lived. But God said build and He gave Noah not only the blue print but the ability too built it.

Matthew 25 tells about a man who traveled into a far country but before he left he called his servants and delivered unto them his goods. To one he gave five talents and to another he gave two and to another he gave one. And the Bible said he gave each according to his several ability.
Now the two servants, one with five and the other with two talents tripled and doubled their talents. But the one dug in the earth and hid his one talent. The reward went to the two that used their talents but the other was cast out for not using what he had for the Master.

If we use the abilities that God give us we well hear the words, "Well done."

This story is a picture that Jesus gave to His followers:

"Little children, yet a little while I am with you. Ye shall seek me: and as I said unto the Jews, 'Whither I go, ye cannot come;' so now I say to you. A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another." John 13:33-35.

"Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen." Matthew 28:19-20

The whole message of Jesus is a message of His great love for the world. So the church has a great duty with all the God-given ability that we have, to share that truth of His great love with the world. The point I am making is that even though we may not have abilities in many things in life I believe that God gives everyone the ability to love.

In I Corinthians 12 Paul talks about the spiritual gifts. He says in verse 31 that we should covet earnestly the best gifts. Then he says, "Yet shew I unto you a more excellent way," and begins that great love chapter.

What makes God smile in your life?

There is scripture from the Message Bible that I thinks fits here.

So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: take your everyday, ordinary life-your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life-and place it before God as an offering.

This will make God face shine upon you.

Make Me a Blessing

Out in the highways and byways of life,
Many are weary and sad.
Carry the sunshine where darkness is rife,
Making the sorrowing glad.

Tell the sweet story of Christ and His love;
Tell of His pow’r to forgive.
Others will trust Him if only you prove
true ev’ry moment you live.

Give as ‘twas given to you in your need;
Love as the Master loved you.
Be to the helpless a helper indeed;
Unto your mission be true.

Make me a blessing;
make me a blessing.
Out of my life may Jesus shine.
Make me a blessing, O Savior, I pray.
Make me a blessing to someone today.

This kind of life will make God smile!

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