April 13, 2010 Cattle on a thousand hills
Today the kids and I headed up for our oldest daughter to get ready for her end of year testing. Although I home school her and J., we are part of an online school that requires us to drive three hours for this kind of testing. (At least it’s only three hours, not eight like some families are having to drive.)
It’s kind of fun, like a mini-vacation, but without Alan (who has to work), and not for A. because taking a long test is nothing like a vacation, and not really for me because it’s almost 10 and I finally got the kids to sleep only a few minutes ago.
What was I saying? Oh, right…it’s fun because we get to stay in a hotel with a pool, eat pizza all squeezed together around a little table, and we wrestled on the big bed before bedtime, because they were getting a little stir crazy cooped up in this room. That could be why they were a little fidgety at bed time.
So, while we were driving the three hours to get here, my mind began to wander like it does. I was half listening to the Barbie movie on the DVD and half paying attention to the road. It wasn’t hard, with the exception of one major city we passed through there was nothing around us. Only the beautiful Oklahoma countryside of rolling hills, cattle ranches and trees. Miles and miles of them.
As I was looking at the cattle it made me think about that verse in Psalms, “(God) owns the cattle on a thousand hills.” (Psalm 50:10) Up until recently I had often heard and used that verse to refer to God’s provision. God owns all the cattle on the earth, and he will certainly provide for my needs. I think there is nothing wrong with this belief. I could share personal accounts of my own life how God’s provided for my needs when there was simply no other way. However, this is not what this verse means.
In context, God is criticizing the Israelites for their offerings. God had created the sacrificial system as a means to provide provision for the forgiveness of their sins (and ultimately as a picture that Jesus would eventually fulfill.) Never had He intended it to become a means of self-righteousness. What God desires is a sacrifice of thank offerings. He doesn’t NEED me or anything I have. He wants my relationship with him- not my stuff, or my money, or my time or anything else I can think up with.
The other night Sweet T. was coming in for the night from playing with the neighbors. As she was making her way, she started to pick all the little “weed” flowers growing in the yard. I kept beckoning her to come, hurry up. She said, “I’m picking these for God.” Such a sweet little girl. I, of course, didn’t encourage her “moment”, but in the need of rushing her in, reminded her that God was the one that gave her the flowers. He didn’t need her to pick them for Him, because they were already all His.
Which bring me back to cattle. If all the “cattle” I have are already His, then what is it that I can offer Him?