“Sacrifices and offerings are not what please you; gifts and payment for sin are not what you demand. But you made me willing to listen and obey”.
Ps 40:6 CEV
People who have an awareness of God feel obliged to do something in return for what they know God has done for them. Some erect buildings. Some make altars, chapels, or places of retreat where others can communicate with God. Some tell stories, paint pictures, or write or sing music.
In ancient times they brought sacrifices of animals – sheep, goats, cattle or even birds. Killing the animal and offering it to God was thought to make a person right with God when they had previously offended him. There are frequent references to this practice in the Bible. It was not only done in the Bible. Most ancient religions did the same. Sometimes the meat not consumed was sold as meat in the market place. But when a sacrifice was offered to God it was then thought to be God’s. It was a long time before people began to see beyond the system and to wonder if in fact God wanted these sacrifices at all. The writer of Psalm 40 had got close to God and knew there was more to it all than the offering of sacrifices. Without the mediation of sacrifices God had entered into fellowship with him and he found that listening to God and obeying him was a much more rewarding relationship with God.
Christian believers know that Jesus made the only sacrifice God ever wanted and that what God wants is their love and loyalty. They give this by praise, by worship, by serving and by giving. And they respond to God’s love by loving other people.
PRAYER THOUGHT Lord, prompt me always to give you what you demand.