Today ended up being a “laid back day.” I was able to submit a job application for position in Wyoming that my friend Charlie Simineo informed me about. I feel like its time for me to take on more responsibility and activity than just my rehab focus. I was also anticipating the arrival of a repairman for our internet service, so you know how that can go.
BIBLE VERSE FOR TODAY… “You are not pleased by sacrifices, or I would give them. You don’t want burnt offerings. The sacrifice God wants is a broken spirit. God, you will not reject a heart that is broken and sorry for sin.” Psalm 51:16,17
I have been reading through Leviticus. Along with all types of instructions and guidelines on how God’s holy people are to live and what they are to do, are instructions on various types of sacrifices. The instructions are specific as to who is to offer which sacrifice and how it is to be sacrificed.
The sacrifices provided for forgiveness of sin and enabled God’s people to maintain fellowship with the Lord. But the actions were to create a point of identification between the worshiper and the sacrifice. As it is with repetition the intent can become lost.
So, we see King Saul taking hasty and ill advised action in offering a sacrifice in preparation for battle, when the prophet Samuel delayed his coming. When Samuel arrived he rebuked Saul with the words, “to obey is better than sacrifice.” (1 Samuel 15:22) The message was that God was more concerned about Saul’s heart, than the animal sacrifice he thought could be used to get God’s favor.
This connection was not lost on David many years later. When he prayed for God’s forgiveness he recognized that just killing an animal out of ritual was not enough. The Lord wanted the sacrifice of a “broken spirit.” David realized that being exalted by the Lord came by humbling himself before the Lord.
When we come to the New Testament we read in Hebrews 13:5 “Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise–the fruit of lips that openly profess his name.“ In Leviticus we see some incense was continually to be burned as a sign of worship to the Lord. We also see instructions about bringing grain offerings and offerings of the “first fruits” of crops. I believe that Hebrews 13:5 challenges us to be those who praise the Lord “early and often.” Some of the first words from our mouths each day should be in praise to the Lord. There is a challenge for us all! But this is not to be a daily or occasional activity, but one that is continuous.
Next we see in Romans 12:1 Paul’s charge. “I beg you to offer your lives as a living sacrifice to him. Your offering must be only for God and pleasing to him, which is the spiritual way for you to worship.” The instructions the Lord gave Moses for the people in the law was so they would know how to worship the Lord. Paul says that the sacrifice of our lives being wholly committed to the Lord is how to please the Lord and worship him. Romans 12:2 tells us what the means. “Do not be shaped by this world; instead be changed within by a new way of thinking. Then you will be able to decide what God wants for you…” It means our attitudes and actions are directed by God’s Word and obedience to Him and not what comes from the world or our own thoughts. When that is our focus we will know what pleases the Lord and won’t need a list of “dos and don’ts”
All three of these types of “sacrifices” challenge us in our life. Remember sacrifice is obedience, it is surrender. And that is something that doesn’t come easy or natural. But when we honor the Lord we find it leads to a life of peace and blessing.