Dec 11, 2014

Season of Exchanging

ex·change: To give up (something) for something else; part with for some equivalent; change for another. To replace (returned merchandise) with an equivalent or something else, to exchange gifts.
Ahh, the holidays are here; the most wonderful time of the year! It is the time to give and receive (or exchange) gifts that have been thoughtfully picked out and brought home and carefully wrapped up in paper and bow.
Somehow we have managed to exchange the idea of giving gifts because they were given to the Christ child at His birth as an excuse to spend way beyond our annual budget in order to meet some requirement to maintain our relationships.
And it seems like every year the shopping season starts earlier and earlier. Instead of Black Friday as the kickoff day of shopping, now the doors are open at the crack of dawn on Thanksgiving Day.
Yes; this is the season when you fight through long lines at department stores to get items to give as gifts knowing that will be exchanged by the recipient; sometimes the very next day after they receive them. In fact most stores will give gift receipts so that the items can be returned or exchanged for items that we really want!
So what do you exchange your gifts for; something better, prettier, or simply get the cash? Do you ever re-gift the unwanted item; hoping that you don’t accidently give it back to the original giver?
What other areas do you exchange? What other areas do you replace with an equivalent or something else?
In Psalm 106 in the Bible, we read the story of when God’s people had done an exchange that was not so good.
When they were in Egypt, they did not understand God’s wonders; and they did not remember the multitude of His mercies, but instead they rebelled by the Red Sea. They forgot what He did for them; they did not wait for His counsel, and constantly complained no matter what He did for them.
Verse 19-21 says; “They made a calf in Horeb, and worshiped the molded image. Thus they changed their glory into the image of an ox that eats grass. They forgot God their Savior, Who had done great things in Egypt“. (Psalm 106:19-21)
In other words they exchanged who God was into an image of a golden calf; diminishing who He really was in their eyes. They were told in His law to neither make an idol nor bow down to it and in a single action did both!
They exchanged His glory for the image of a bull which eats grass (much like one of the Egyptian idols)! Nothing could be more grossly and scandalously absurd! It was like they had taken an expensive gift, given by a loved One, back to the store the moment the department store had opened up the very next day after receiving it. And they exchanged it for something so much less expensive.
So, my friend, what areas do you exchange? What areas do you replace with an equivalent or something else? What gifts from God are you exchanging hoping to find something better?
The Bible says, regarding Jesus:
“For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” (2 Corinthians 5:21)
“who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you were healed.” (1 Peter 1:24)
In this season of exchange, let’s commit to only exchange for something BETTER.
All Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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