Summary: This sermon explores the truth that God honors those who honor Him. We look at the areas of giving, calling, and placing God first in our lives.
Those Whom God Honors
Last week we looked at what it takes to have a purposeful heart in our “A Christian’s Heart” sermon series, and I ended with these words, “God honors those who honor Him.”
This is something I tell just about everyone, especially when difficult decisions need to be made. It is something that I have experienced first hand, both positively, when I followed God and His word, and negatively when I didn’t honor God in what I was doing.
We see both examples in Scripture.
Last week we used Daniel as an example. It says that Daniel purposed in His heart to follow God and His word rather than the ways of the world with all of its enticements. And because Daniel honored God, God honored Daniel.
Daniel excelled in wisdom and appearance more than everyone else in Babylon and had a more excellent spirit than all the rest. Seeing how God honored Daniel with wisdom far beyond anyone else in his government, Nebuchadnezzar promoted Daniel as the ruler over the province of Babylon.
When the Medes and Persians took over, Daniel was found the most competent in the entire realm as well, and again was made the chief ruler and administrator. And even when faced with certain death in the lions’ den, Daniel continued to honor God and His word, and as a result God shut the mouth of the lions.
At this juncture people say, “But you said, ‘God honors those who honor him,’ yet here Daniel get’s thrown in the lion’s den for honoring God. And that’s what has happened to me. I honor God yet my marriage is down the toilet, I lost my job, and I have this illness or disease. I thought you said that God honors us when we honor Him?”
Yes, God does honor us, but God never said there wouldn’t be trials, and God allows these trials and tribulations to see if we’ll still honor Him, if we’ll still obey Him when things get tough and difficult.
We see this in Joseph’s life. Even though Joseph was faithful and honored God things were going from bad to worse. Yet even through the tough years or slavery and prison, Joseph never forgot God and kept true to Him. As a result God did honor Joseph’s faith by giving him the highest ranking position in Egypt thus allowing him to help save his family, even his brothers who treated him so poorly and sold him into slavery.
On the negative side there are also plenty of examples to look at when people fail to honor God and His word. The one that stands out the most for me is that of King Saul.
God honored Saul above everyone else by making him king over Israel, but it becomes clear early on that Saul never honored God or His word. We see this in several instances.
First was when Saul didn’t wait for the prophet Samuel and offered God a sacrifice, which is not in God’s job description for a king. As a result God took the kingdom away from Saul and gave it to another, and in this instance, David. And from this point Saul’s life took a downward spiral, as he was plagued by an evil spirit, often sending him in a jealous rage where he tried to take David’s life.
At the end of his life, he no longer could hear God’s voice, and so prior to a battle with the Philistines Saul went to the witch of Endor, which definitely is prohibited in God’s law. In the end both he and his son, Jonathon, were killed in battle.
And so with these examples in hand I think it’s safe to make this assessment, that God honors those who honor Him. The question now becomes,
How Do We Honor God?
The only real way we honor God is to honor and obey His word. But there are some specific ways outlined in God’s word where many of us come up short.
1. In Our Giving
Before we even begin I’d like to show you what the Bible says concerning our need to honor Him in our giving and the blessings when we do.
“Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the best part of everything your land produces. Then He will fill your barns with grain, and your vats will overflow with the finest wine.” (Proverb 3:9-10 NLT)
When we honor God in our giving, then He will honor us by taking care of our needs. God does so through the giving of the tithe. The word “tithe” means 10 percent. We are to give 10 percent of what we make to God’s work through the local church.
Why 10 percent: I really don’t know. All I know is that God has clearly said that the minimum we should return out of all that He has given us is 10 percent.