"The Sacrifices Of God"

In Psalm 51, David seems to contradict himself when he exclaims, “You do not desire sacrifice, or else I would give it; You do not delight in burnt offering” (Psalm 51:16). Three verses later, he says, “You shall be pleased with the sacrifices of righteousness, with burnt offering and whole burnt offering” (Psalm 51:19).

Just what kind of sacrifices is God pleased with?

Our sacrifices to God are similar in nature to the flowers a husband gives to his wife after a heated argument. The wife doesn’t need the flowers. They are valuable to her only if they accurately represent her husband’s true feelings. If she thinks they are merely a ritual and do not symbolize his regret for the heated words stated in their argument, the flowers may simply make their relationship worse.

God did not need the animals offered to Him in sacrifice under the Old Testament law, for the writer of Hebrews tells us, “It is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins” (Hebrews 10:4). Rather, these sacrifices pointed to the once-for-all payment Jesus would make with His own blood when He died for our sins (Hebrews 9:11-12; cf. Hebrews 10:11-12; Ephesians 1:7; Colossians 1:12-14).

What was crucial in the offering of sacrifices, was the attitude of those making the sacrifices. If the offerings were without repentance, the ritual was a mockery. That’s why David wrote, “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and a contrite heart — these, O God, You will not despise” (Psalm 51:17).

Beloved, let’s make certain that the spiritual sacrifices we offer to God are not simply ritualistic in nature — but from our "broken heart" (Psalm 34:18; cf. 1 Peter 2:5; Hebrews 13:15-16; 2 Corinthians 9:12; Philippians 4:18).

Mike Riley, Gospel Snippets


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