In Deuteronomy 6:4-5, the word “all” is “kol” in Hebrew, which means the entirety, the wholeness, everything. Loving God with all our heart, soul and might is called dedication. This dedication is possible for people who experienced God’s love, who realise without God’s grace, without the love of Jesus Christ, where they would be today and where they would end up.
1. What is the kind of dedication that God is requesting of us today?
(i) Come to Me – Stand on God’s side (Exodus 32:26)
Exodus 32:25-29 speaks of the dedication of the Levites. Moses was up on Mount Sinai for 40 days and 40 nights, it seemed as if Moses was not returning. So the people said: Let us make ourselves a god to lead us back to Egypt? These Israelites were worshipping and dancing around the golden calf, that seems to represent this world today.
That is when Moses comes back down and the greatest gift, which is the Word that can give eternal life, was shattered. That is when Moses said whoever is for the Lord, come to me. It means who stands for the side of the truth? Who is the one who did not participate in the evil act of idolatry? It is the Levites who came.
Matthew 25:32-34 Jesus gave a parable about different sides, the right versus the left. This is before God’s throne of judgment. Our founding pastor in one of his sermons told us: It is not God telling you to go to the right or left, you yourself will choose which side, depending on how you lived your life.
In Revelation, the evil and wicked ones will be punished and judged in fire, gnashing their teeth and not repent, it is their choice. Which choice are you making today?
(ii) Put his sword upon his thigh (Exodus 32:27)
Imagine the Levites: they are the ones who did not commit the idolatry. They had to come on the side of the Lord; take a sword and kill their brother, family members and their own people. Dedicating ourselves to the Lord is not easy.
The idolater, the sinner within yourself needs to die. Take the sword which is God’s Word and let that sword kill the idolatry, the idol within ourselves (Ephesians 6:17, Hebrews 4:12). It says to kill every idolater, everything that seduces us from the love of God (Deuteronomy 13:10). God is telling us to gather all our sins to kill them altogether, so they will not resurrect and come back to bother us again.
God says it is so I can bestow on you the blessing that I have prepared (Exodus 32:29). If we have all the sins left on this plate, God cannot give us the clean blessings.
2. Dedication is giving to God according to my faith
Closer to the time of crucifixion, the disciples of Jesus were focusing on themselves and their own benefit e.g. Judas Iscariot betrayed Jesus for his own gain, others focused on who was greater amongst themselves.
But there was a woman who came and broke a costly vial of very expensive perfume and poured it on Jesus. 300 denarii was around 1 year’s worth of wages. To her, that was her entirety, her entire life. This costly perfume that was all poured out represented the precious costly blood of Jesus that was to be poured out in entirety for us, to be applied to us sinners (Mark 14:1-9).
Her dedication and offering represented her own brokenness but it was a beautiful aroma that Jesus wanted to remember, that Jesus wanted everyone to know and learn from (Mark 14:8-9). Jesus said she has done “what she could”. She has given all, she has dedicated all.
When we dedicate ourselves in entirety, when we burn up our spiritual incense as prayers, that beautiful aroma will glorify God (Exodus 29:18).
3. Let us think about those who dedicate their lives and those who stood on the wrong side (against God)
Hebrews 11, we see our forefathers of faith that dedicated their lives 100%. One common point is that they all saw heaven. Heaven is real and worthy enough to be given everything and more.
Apostle Paul said I have all these things but they are rubbish in comparison to the knowledge of Jesus Christ. Whether there is death waiting for him or not, he makes sure this gospel is preached.
There were also people who claimed to be on God’s side but were not. Because they let their human centeredness take advantage of them. When Moses married a Kushite woman, Aaron and Miriam condemned him. Outwardly Aaron and Miriam were right, but they used the law to condemn Moses. Just as Pharisees condemned Jesus with the law. “We are doing things for God to support God’s law!” However only they and God knew that the true intention behind their words was their envy, greed, and faithlessness.
Human centeredness is putting my convenience, my face, my pride, my rights before God and His ways. Even with a little crack open, Satan will come in. Satan will let us think we are doing God’s work like Saul who persecuted Christians before he became Paul.
Let us ask ourselves: Am I ready to dedicate myself today? Am I ready to take up that sword and kill idolatry within me? The greatest idol is me, myself and I. Am I ready to kill my old self? Dedication is what God requested of those who have faith.
Every time period in God’s History of Redemption needed somebody who could dedicate themselves. God uses those people to get His work done. God has great work prepared to give to Zion Church. May we be dedicated to God so He can freely overflowingly bless us.