As humans, it is very tempting to become proud especially of things that we worked hard for. Most of us give tithes & offering yet have a subconsciously obnoxious attitude towards the Lord as if to say, “Lord, that money, which is a fruit of my taking on two jobs, could have gotten me a new car but—fine—I’ll give it to you instead.”
In Psalm 50, we see a picture of how God’s people also offered Him sacrifices in the form of burnt offering just like how they did in the Old Testament times. Verse 7 onwards strike us however as it says:
Are you listening, dear people? I’m getting ready to speak; Israel, I’m about ready to bring you to trial. This is God, your God, speaking to you. I don’t find fault with your acts of worship, the frequent burnt sacrifices you offer. But why should I want your blue-ribbon bull, or more and more goats from your herds? (The Message)
Numerous commentaries show us that the people took pride in their sacrifices, thinking that giving and offering something would somehow appease God’s fury for their sins. Doesn’t that scene remind us of ourselves sometimes? We tend to bribe God with an amount in proportion to the magnitude of our sin. Yet do we really think that God NEEDS what we want to give? Psalm 50:10-13 say,
I have no need of a bull from your stall or of goats from your pens, for every animal of the forest is mine, and the cattle on a thousand hills. I know every bird in the mountains, and the insects in the fields are mine. If I were hungry I would not tell you, for the world is mine, and all that is in it. Do I eat the flesh of bulls or drink the blood of goats?
Here, we are reminded that God does not need what we outwardly give. He knows every creature in this planet, and in comparison, I can’t even differentiate dog breeds.
While God does not bring charges against us for what we sacrifice, what does He actually look at? The heart. The next verses of Psalm 50 show how God is displeased with those who do not follow His commands, and we see that what’s more important for Him is that we obey, as this is how we show our love for Him.
We won’t be asking you if you have sacrificed a great deal of time, money and resources for God. Rather, we ask, have you obeyed God?
Graphic by Kimberly Ong for Salt and Light Mag