Saturday, May 7, 2016

What Does God Want?

I read Psalm 4:5 this morning. "Offer the sacrifices of righteousness," the psalmist had written. My first question was, "What are the sacrifices of righteousness?" Here's what I found:

God gave detailed instructions about sacrifices in the Mosaic law, but He made one thing clear in His Word. He's not after a bunch of burnt cows and sheep. He wants hearts that are wholly His. Acts of obedience in the burnt offerings demonstrated the bent of people's hearts, but even that became nothing more than a ritual.

What God desires from us is a broken and contrite heart, a broken spirit. (Psalm 51:17) He wants us to see our sin as He does. He wants our sin to break our hearts and for that heartbreak to give us a repentant heart that wants to break free from the hold of sin. Can you see how much breaking is involved?

God wants us to offer Him a sacrifice of thanksgiving (Psalm 50:14). That's not just a listing of blessings. The sacrifice of thanksgiving is a difficult offering, and suggests that we give thanks in all things, even when it's hard. Even when we don't feel like giving thanks. Even when we feel ungrateful. Give thanks. It's not optional. When we offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving, we honor God. (Psalm 50:23)

He doesn't want the sacrifice of fasting that's just for show. He wants us to sacrifice with humility and sorrow over our sin. To sacrifice our sin in exchange for His righteousness. To sacrifice our hold on others for His freedom. To sacrifice our riches for generosity of spirit. To sacrifice our comfort to share with those in need. (Isaiah 58)

He wants us to offer a sacrifice of continuous praise (Hebrews 13:15)

A sacrifice of righteousness begins when we choose to sacrifice our will to His, when we praise Him when it's hard, thank Him when we don't feel grateful.

Let's offer a sacrifice of righteousness today. We'll have to begin with hearts broken by our own sin, but we can't stop there. Thanks and praise are integral to the sacrifice God desires.

I thank you, Lord, for ... 
I praise you, Lord, for ...

Let's do it together. I'll start us off. 

I thank You that I don't have to please man, as long as I please You.
I praise You for Your faithfulness and that I can trust You.

Now you try.  Comment below.