2 Samuel 24:24 – “…I will not offer to the LORD my God burnt sacrifices that cost me nothing.”
Hebrews 13:15 – “Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise–the fruit of lips that openly profess his name.”
Romans 12:1 – “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God–this is your true and proper worship.”
I missed blogging one day this week and as I was driving, the Lord whispered to my heart, “bring me the sacrifice of praise”. I started to ponder this word sacrifice and wondered if my praise was truly a sacrifice – truly what God desired. I am grateful that we no longer need to offer animals to pay for our sin. I think our family dog is grateful, too. I tease my family that we would be having barbeques 24/7 if we were still under the Old Testament law, to cover all of our iniquities. Not barbeques with meat we casually purchase on sale from Wal-Mart, no, live animals slaughtered because of our sin. I fear, though, that we are so far away from the Old Testament that the meaning and significance of sacrifice is lost today. Do we take for granted the high cost paid for each and every sin committed? I want to be ever mindful of God’s very life laid down when I am tempted to sin. I do not want to cheapen the grace given to me by permitting or excusing sin, no, the sacrifice which was completely free to me was much more costly than that kind of treatment. It is this awareness that makes me so grateful that I burst into praise and meditate on God’s unparalleled greatness and mercy. A sacrifice of praise.
Perhaps most of the time, though, I can go through the motions, if I really am reflective enough to consider my praise. I have been worshiping God for over 26 years as my Savior and even though every time I have the privilege of leading worship at church and have moments of being in awe of God, I daresay it falls short of a sacrifice. Sacrifice speaks of cost – it is not easy, it is not mere duty. Much like a spouse would not be thrilled with a passionless love, our God deserves an all-consuming passion; He deserves our very best.
Abel understood what it meant to give his best – he was thrilled and eager to do so. David, too, said he could not give something if it did not cost him. How beautiful. Today, when I am cognizant of my sin and need for God’s covering, I cannot slaughter an animal, but I can die to self. To be a living sacrifice – dying daily to the flesh, consecrated to the Lord moment by moment, that is something that glorifies God. The symbolism of the death in the Old Testament is lived out today as believers no longer live for their own way, but offer themselves to God and let Christ reign in them.
Mankind was the same then as today – people sometimes tried to offer crippled animals or not the best of what they had to pay the required atonement. May God help us to never grow too familiar with His amazing gift and to endeavor to live lives worthy of His perfect sacrifice. May we fear God and seek to give Him our first fruits and not rationalize our actions away that fall short of His glory, but instead run to Him and offer our sacrifice of praise, praying that He will once again cover us with His love.
Lord, thank You that You have forgiven my sins and shown me how to love sacrificially. Help us to honor You with our very best and never lose our zeal. May we worship You with all our hearts in full abandon.