“Thou hast bought me no sweet cane with money.” Isaiah 43:24
It is the nature of relationships to move from close and committed to various degrees of intensity even to the separation and rejection of the relationship that was established. Many poems and songs have been written about relationships that have declined from when they were first established.
Your relationship with God is always changing. Sometimes you are drawn closer and sometimes you drift away from your “first love.” In this passage, the nation of Israel had drifted away from their “first love” that had been the catalyst that drove the blessings of God in their nation.
The first sign of drifting away from God is your desire to give back to Him; motivated by what He has done for you. God told the nation of Israel they had not brought Him “sweet cane with money.” What does sweet cane and money have to do with your relationship with God?
Sweet cane was not indigenous to Palestine but had to be bought from foreign countries. God’s word states the sweet cane had to be imported and was to be offered to God in worship to Him, “the sweet cane from a far country.” (Jer 6:20)
This sweet cane was used among the Hebrews to make the sacred ointment (Exo 30:23). It was often offered as a mark of hospitality.
This gift to God came with great effort. The offering of sweet cane had to be planned and prepared. It was not as simple as just going out to the field and gathering the first fruits to offer. Sweet cane was an offering that was planned and presented with God that would focus on their actions and thoughts upon God.
And what about the money? Why does God want your money? Money is a tool; a tool that every institution must have. The tabernacle and temple, as well as the place that the Lord’s Church assembles and that hosts the worship of God, needs money for worship to take place.
Along with the use of the “tool” in worship; we know that placing money over your love for God is powerful, evil and will separate you from a deep and meaningful relationship with God.
The Bible gives us an example of how the love of money is a powerful force that will separate you from God’s love. Jesus was approached by a “rich young ruler” who was asking Him how to have an eternal relationship with God. Jesus’ final requirement for this man, to engage God in a meaningful eternal relationship, was, “sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me.” (Mar 10:21)
The scripture records:
“But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions.” (Mat 19:22)
This young man could have exchanged his possessions for a meaningful and eternal relationship with God but instead he “went away.” Indeed “the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.” (1 Ti 6:10)
Jesus said, “when the young man heard that saying (to give away his wealth), he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions.” (Mat 19:22)
God desires two things in worship – sacrifice and obedience and God places obedience above sacrifice. When Saul, King of Israel, disobeyed God in the very act of giving a sacrifice, he was rebuked by the prophet Samuel with these words:
“Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.” (1 Sa 15:22)
What happens when you are unfaithful to God in keeping your commitment to Him? Does God turn His back on you and stop the flow of blessings? Does God return with like actions as you have responded to Him?
As your heavenly father, God loves you and will seek you out for your repentance and restoration with Him. God’s word reminds us:
“Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?” (Rom 2:4)
God’s goodness directed towards you is to draw you into a meaningful and eternal relationship with Him.
Do not take His “goodness” as tolerance for sinful and disobedient behavior. Be forewarned, “But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God." (Rom 2:5)
God loves you but there is a point of no return. For the rich young ruler, the choice he made hardened his heart and sent him down the “broad road” that leads to destruction. Be warned, “While it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation.” (Heb 3:15)
Today is the day of repentance for all who will hear His voice, “today if you will hear his voice” you can establish a meaningful and eternal relationship with God.
Like this article? Share it using the links on this page. Subscribe to be notified when new articles are posted!Subscribe!