Read Psalm 50:7-15. 7“Hear, O my people, and I will speak; O Israel, I will testify against you. I am God, your God. 8Not for your sacrifices do I rebuke you; your burnt offerings are continually before me. 9I will not accept a bull from your house or goats from your folds. 10For every beast of the forest is mine, the cattle on a thousand hills. 11I know all the birds of the hills, and all that moves in the field is mine. 12“If I were hungry, I would not tell you, for the world and its fullness are mine. 13Do I eat the flesh of bulls or drink the blood of goats? 14Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving, and perform your vows to the Most High, 15and call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me.”
God isn’t frustrated with his people because they aren’t religious enough. Quite the opposite. They’re checking off all the right boxes – your burnt offerings are continually before me.
The real problem lies in their misunderstanding of who God is and WHY they worship him the way they do, with animal sacrifices. They erroneously think they are somehow feeding God – 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? Is it possible that we can drift into this same error? Of course it is. How much of what we do in “worship” of God is actually done to appease or even control him? To feed his appetite so as to keep him satisfied, and us out of trouble?
Asaph’s psalm is looking forward to the day when Christ has become the final atoning sacrifice for sin, leaving only the sacrifice of thanksgiving on the table for those who are in him. And to the day when we don’t use God as a tool for avoiding trouble, but rather trust him as the lover of our soul that we call upon in faith when trouble inevitably comes our way.
To live is Christ is to offer only the sacrifice of thanksgiving in the house of the Lord (Heb. 13:15), knowing that our deliverer has come to dwell in our temple hearts.
Prayer. Jesus, there is nothing I can offer you that is not already yours. No debt to pay. No anger to appease. May my worship never be manipulation or moralism, only faith.
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