Monday, December 18, 2017

More Cattle

More Cattle
December 18, 2017
Psalm 50:10 ". . .for every animal in the forest is mine, and the cattle on a thousand hills."

It is said that the Lord owns the cattle on a thousand hills. That statement, though figurative, was meant to be a depiction of the Lord's wealth. And those words were right out of the mouth of the Lord. He used the analogy, in speaking to mankind, regarding the fact that He does not need our help or generosity, perspective that He is greater than any man, with more authority and power and wealth and ability than any other. But what did the Lord mean when He said He owned the cattle on a thousand hills?

Hills and valleys and waterways were natural borders for people's property. Cattle, naturally herd together, being safer in numbers. They will normally stay and graze as a group and then move on to the next green pasture together.  Why did He emphasize cattle on a hill? Why not just cattle?  If a land was hilly, the cattle would stay together nearly on a single hill, with other hills peppered in between. Cattle did not graze on each and every hill, then there would be devastation to the greenery, too many cattle and not enough grassland. No, when the Lord said He owned the cattle on a thousand hills He was also explaining how much land was His as well. To accomplish cattle on a thousand hills, you would have to own tens of thousands of hills as well. Cattle do not graze on a hill in the winter time; the wind would make it too cold. Cattle graze on hill tops mainly in the spring, when the grass is green and tastiest, when they have calved over the winter and were nursing their young, having expanded as a herd. Cattle went up to the hills to avoid the mud of the valleys, where they would get stuck in the mud, as well as face predators. It was a treasured place to be on a hill, soaking up the sunshine. The imagery of cattle up on a hill was not imagery of wealth, but extreme wealth that is always growing and expanding, as the protected cattle reproduce.

The point of having the cattle on a thousand hills is for intended use, exchange for whatever and whenever He pleases. But the funny thing about it, though, is He does not need any medium of exchange. He does not eat and He has no need for money; that was really the point that He explained further in the passage. The Lord was not bragging; He was stating that any human gift to Him, no matter how extravagant or costly, was of no use to Him. He already has everything. In pointing out the size of our gift to Him, any amount of sacrifice, it would be like tossing a cup of water into the ocean. When we quote that the Lord has the cattle on a thousand hills, it is usually in a selfish reference to having a wealthy father. The argument the Lord was making was not that you should come to Him and ask Him to sell one of His cows to fund your expenses, but that if you were to give Him a gift, make sure it is actually something of value.

People, out of guilt for sin, would offer an animal up to the Lord, to gain favor from Him. This is no different than today, people giving money to cover up the feelings left over after their behavior. The Lord has no desire for this. He does not want guilt offerings, He wants you to give out of thankfulness. He wants do you do good, for others, and on behalf of Him. He wants you to keep yourself from sin and live upright. He never promised to sell His cattle to fund your expenses, but He did say if you lived a clean and honest life, then you can call on Him in your time of distress and need, promising to rescue you. Being rescued by the Lord in times of trouble is far more valuable than more cattle. It ends up being a relationship with the Father, of more worth than livestock.

Don't take my word for it; look it up:  Psalm 24:1, Psalm 50, 1 Cor 10:26

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