I will not accept a bull from your house or goats from your folds. For every beast of the forest is mine, the cattle on a thousand hills…Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving… and call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me.”
Psalm 50: 9, 10, 14, 15 (ESV)
God is forever faithful to his own nature, for he is never one to evade or suppress the truth. He is, foremost, a God of the purest form of love who seeks intimacy, fellowship, and heartfelt worship from the hearts of his most beloved in all creation. He is, therefore, a God of truth and love, which must be liberally exchanged to realize their true value. For only from the rich fertility of truth can love ever be adequately nourished and blossom into full maturity. He tells us bluntly that he already owns and enjoys the fullness of his creation. What he does deeply desire, however, is an intimate everlasting personal relationship with each of us, his beloved children.
As God is seeking deep personal relationships, can you understand why he gets thoroughly bored with empty ritualistic sacrifices? They offer no greater joy to him than any other segment of his creation devoid of spirit or the capacity to emotionally experience and share heartfelt love. It’s what’s alive and at work in our hearts that really stirs God, nothing else will do. If we were as honest as God, we would readily admit to the tedium of repetitive ritualistic behavior and the utter bleakness of lifeless vacant praise.
God is hungry all right, but not for dreary symbolism or for the monotonous mutterings of a hollow heart. He is hungry for our fellowship, our sincere expressions of joy and need of his touch every day. He draws spiritual nourishment and reaps genuine pleasure from our faith and reliance on him from the honesty of a hungry contrite heart. The more we need him and diligently seek after him, the better he likes it. He is not timid in his desire for our loving fellowship. Why should we be timid in offering it to him, in all its myriad forms, for it is a righteously honorable sacrifice from those chosen to share in the richness of his glory forever?
Dear God, keep us passionate about your loving kindness. Let our love for you grow steadily within a grateful heart. Make no room or provision for hollow repetitive ritualism in our lives. But make us, instead, mindful of what truly pleases you, a heart filled with joy willing to make a living sacrifice of thanksgiving to a loving and faithful God. Amen.
A F Fischer