Posts tagged ‘sacrifices’

Our Best For God

It all started out so well. The people were amazed at the strength and power of their God, and had seen His love for them manifested in their deliverance from bondage in Egypt. As the people of God are taught what the Lord required of them, they were given the greatest commandment, recorded in
Deuteronomy 6:5

“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.”

Nothing was to be held back when it came to their single hearted devotion to God. It was to be a love offering of their entire being; heart, soul and mind. But as years passed, a familiarity set in that morphed into contempt. What was once offered as an overflow of gratitude to God became an obligation and duty. Eventually it was looked on as a burden to be borne out of tradition, even while resented. And they acted like it, too. The spotless offerings were changed into leftovers, spares, and animals that would not cost them anything to lose.

Enter the prophet Malachi. God speaks to His people and confronts them with their heart condition when it came to worship.

Malachi 1:6-8
“A son honors his father,
And a servant his master.
If then I am the Father,
Where is My honor?
And if I am a Master,
Where is My reverence?
Says the Lord of hosts
To you priests who despise My name.
Yet you say, ‘In what way have we despised Your name?’
“You offer defiled food on My altar,
But say, ‘In what way have we defiled You?’
By saying,‘The table of the Lord is contemptible.’
And when you offer the blind as a sacrifice,
Is it not evil?
And when you offer the lame and sick,
Is it not evil?
Offer it then to your governor!
Would he be pleased with you?
Would he accept you favorably?”
Says the Lord of hosts.

God wanted the best from His people, not the cast offs. They would have been better off not worshipping at all than to offer polluted offerings to God. The Lord puts things I. Perspective for the people in verses 11 – 13:

Malachi 1:11-13
For from the rising of the sun, even to its going down,
My name shall be great among the Gentiles;
In every place incense shall be offered to My name,
And a pure offering;
For My name shall be great among the nations,”
Says the Lord of hosts.
“But you profane it,
In that you say,
‘The table of the Lord is defiled;
And its fruit, its food, is contemptible.’
You also say,
‘Oh, what a weariness!’
And you sneer at it,”
Says the Lord of hosts.
“And you bring the stolen, the lame, and the sick;
Thus you bring an offering!
Should I accept this from your hand?”
Says the Lord.

“Wow!”, you might say. “They really messed up. It’s a good thing we are in no danger of that happening to us, since there are no animal sacrifices for worship now”. But wait, there are sacrifices of worship. They just are not animals anymore. But they are offerings of worship in they same way as before, and God expects our best.

Hebrews 13:15-16
Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name. But do not forget to do good and to share, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.

Did you see that? We have sacrifices to give, just like they did. Verse 15 parallels the command to love the Lord our God with our soul, mind and strength, while verse 16 is about loving our neighbor as ourself. You see, whenever we spend time in worship to God, He expects it to be with our entire being. That doesn’t mean that worship has to be an aerobic workout. It does mean that we need to be fully engaged in what we are doing during worship. Focusing on other things, offering half hearted or distracted worship, or inwardly despising and diminishing worship will produce a polluted offering to God!

We each need to examine ourselves when it comes to our worship. Are we doing things out of routine and obligation, or out of love and devotion? Do we look forward to worship, or see it as an interruption? I challenge us all to be fully present during worship today, with our mind, soul and strength focused on our awesome God. Don’t insult Him by offering any less than your very best!

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Of Sin and Diaper Disposal

I heard an illustration the other day, and was so impressed by it that I thought I would put it here and maybe expand on it a bit. Perhaps it was because the illustration was from something that was so familiar. In fact, it was more familiar than I wanted it to be. So thanks, Landon, for the powerful (in many ways) word picture.

Have you ever had one of those diaper machines? I remember having one called a Diaper Genie, and it was a very useful little invention. When a diaper became “soiled” I would lift up the lid, place the offensive object inside, twist, and close it again. The diaper was surrounded by a plastic bag, and was safely inside. Eventually, though, I would be accosted by an ever increasing odor when I would open the lid. Thankfully, I could take it outside and empty what looked like a chain of sausage, into the trash to be left at the curb. Early in the morning the garbage truck would come by and take it away forever, and it would be buried.

What that illustrates very powerfully is the difference between our sins under the Mosaic Covenant and the New Covenant. Under the former system of sacrifices of animals, our sins were covered over, kind of like a diaper inside a diaper pail. Every year the sins of the people were covered.

Under the New Covenant, it is different. We now have the remission of sins. Just like when we take the sausage chain of corruption to the curb, we bring our sin to Jesus and forsake them. We leave them there and don’t come back to them, just like we would never think of reusing a diaper pail roll. Jesus has promised to take them away and remember them no more. He takes them away instead of covering them up. He is able to do this because He has entered into the heavenly temple and offered His own blood once and for all and sat down at the Father’s right hand.

And every priest stands day after day serving and offering the same sacrifices again and again – sacrifices that can never take away sins. But when this priest had offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, he sat down at the right hand of God, where he is now waiting until his enemies are made a footstool for his feet . For by one offering he has perfected for all time those who are made holy. (Hebrews 10:11-14 NET)

So remember, those of you with diaper genie machines, our sins are no longer covered and wrapped up, have have been taken away by Jesus. And then hurry out and empty that thing!

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