In Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, there is the grave of a Civil War soldier. The stone bears the date of
his birth and death, and then these words: “Abraham Lincoln’s substitute.” In the woe and anguish
of the war, realizing that thousand upon thousands were falling in his … More
This portion of Scripture deals with dead works. God makes it plain that He doesn’t need or really want sacrifice. His first requirement is integrity. Sacrifices only show a worshiper’s outward obedience. Even for Christians, it is often easier to do the outward thing rather than have a heart that is right toward God. Some people substitute church attendance for reading God’s Word and getting to know Him personally. To others giving to missions may be a substitute for being a missionary to unsaved relatives and neighbors.
At the time referred to in this Psalm Israel had reinstated the sacrificial system. It had rebuilt the altar in Jerusalem and reinstated the offering of sacrifices as in ancient times. Gathering the faithful of Israel together, the God of gods will now indicate what type of worship is acceptable to Him (v. 7). While His chosen people abounded in outward sacrifice and burnt offerings, they seriously neglected the sacrifice of heart devotion toward Him (vv. 8-9). It seems that the Jews were treating the sacrifices as though they were doing God a favor in offering them to Him. Simply giving to God a bullock or a goat could never please Him, for every beast of the forest and all the cattle on a thousand hills already belong to Him (vv. 10-11). He had no need for animals; what He wanted was heart dedication. It is not the sacrifice that brings pleasure to God, but rather the willing and cheerful attitude of the sacrificer. If it were possible for God to be hungry, He would have no reason to tell man; for the entire world and everything in it already belongs to Him (vv. 12-13). The only acceptable sacrifice to God is praise and thanksgiving out of a pure heart (vv. 14-15).
Do I know of anyone today who seems to think they are doing God a favor by going to church and being involved in religious activities? As I find myself having similar thoughts I need to remember that attitude is a lot more important than activity. No activity will substitute for attitude.
"Hear, O my people, and I will speak; O Israel, I will testify against you. I am God, your God. Not for your sacrifices do I rebuke you; your burnt offerings are continually before me. I will not accept a bull from your house or goats from your folds. For every beast of the forest is mine, the cattle on a thousand hills. I know all the birds of the hills, and all that moves in the field is mine. "If I were hungry, I would not tell you, for the world and its fullness are mine. Do I eat the flesh of bulls or drink the blood of goats? Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving, and perform your vows to the Most High, and call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me."
View this passage in NIV (Bible Gateway) »
Psalms 47:1-9The Lord Rules Over The Earth
Psalms 48:1-8Jerusalem is Greatly to be Praised
Psalms 48:9-14The People Are Invited to Rejoice in God
Psalms 49:1-15Observation of The Prosperity of The Wicked
Psalms 49:16-20The Hope of The Righteous is Eternal
Psalms 50:1-6The Lord Came to Judge
Psalms 50:7-15The Lord’s Indictment Against Formalism
Psalms 50:16-23The Lord’s Indictment Against Hypocrisy
Psalms 51:1-9An Appeal to God’s Love And Compassion
Psalms 51:10-13David Petitioned God For Inward Renewal
Psalms 51:14-19A Prayer For General Prosperity
Psalms 52:1-4The Destruction of a Man of Treachery
Psalms 52:5-7Destroying Others to Make Yourself Look Good
Psalms 52:8-9The Destiny of The Man of Faith
Psalms 53:1-6God’s View of The Human Race