Friday, July 4, 2014

Flattery

Then they went to Joshua in the camp at Gilgal and said to him and the Israelites, “We have come from a distant country; make a treaty with us.” (Joshua 9:6 NIV)

Flattery
Not too long ago my 4 year old grandson came up to me and with the most angelic face he could muster up he said, "Grandpa, you are the best Grandpa in the whole wide world." However, my first thought was "what does he want, or what did he do?" Did he break something or does he want something from me? I was convinced that he was buttering me up for some reason so I prepared myself for the worst.

Ok little guy, hit me with your best shot, I can take it! Then do you know what he did? He just gave me a hug and walked away! He didn't want anything. No candy, and nothing was broken. He simply came and told me that because he loves me. I was floored! That just doesn't happen very often. It seems that people most often have some ulterior motive behind such praise. This time it was just honest, open, no strings attached praise.

Then I read Joshua 9:3-16 and took notice of how slick the people of Gibeon were. They took flattery to a whole new level! They were praising the Israelites and God left and right, telling them how wonderful and powerful they were. But all the time they were flattering them, their real motive was to trick them into a covenant. Hmmmm ... empty praise with a personal agenda ... startling! And the Israelites were gullible enough to believe them.

It started me thinking that certainly I, as well as many other followers of Christ, tend to offer up empty praise in hopes of having our wants and desires met. I believe that God's heart is saddened a little by the praises that come to him for all the wrong reasons. If I had found that my grandson's praise for me was due to the fact that I was the only one who could reach the cookie jar, I would have been very disappointed. But my heart leapt when I found out that the praise was born out of love. No tricks and no treats. Just love.

God must love that kind of praise. Maybe that should be a challenge for all of us Christians. Take time each day to just praise God with no conditions, questions or petitions. Just praise born out of our love for him. Garry Bouwman

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