REPOST Today’s AMI QT Devotional, provided by Pastor Ryun Chang (AMI Teaching Pastor), was first posted on February 5, 2014.
Devotional Thought for This Morning
“Sacrifices Unworthy of God”
“But you ask, ‘How have we shown contempt for your name?’ 7 “By offering defiled food on my altar. “But you ask, ‘How have we defiled you?’ “By saying that the Lord’s table is contemptible. 8 When you offer blind animals for sacrifice, is that not wrong? When you sacrifice lame or diseased animals, is that not wrong? Try offering them to your governor! Would he be pleased with you? Would he accept you?” says the Lord Almighty.
Some professors will not read their students’ papers, unless they conform to proper formatting requirements. Once, my doctoral dissertation was rejected without my mentor ever reading it. After briefly perusing through my 600-page document packed with 5-line sentences, he said, “Unless you reduce it in half, using 2-line sentences, I won’t read it.” Perhaps, he was annoyed that I didn’t heed his previous advice.
For us who are unfamiliar with animal sacrifices, we may wonder, “Why offer defective animals to God? Don’t they know better?” But once we realize what God demanded for sacrifices, we may understand why. In an agrarian society, strong and healthy animals are needed to tilt the land and haul the crops; they provided the meat and dairy products. And that’s the type that God required for acceptable sacrifices: the best without any defect.
Obviously, the farm business took a hit at least three times a year when all men in Israel were expected to make a pilgrimage to Jerusalem to offer sacrifices (Lev. 23). Economically, offering flawed animals just made more dollars and sense to the Israelites. God, however, didn’t like being treated as a second fiddle. Saying, “Where is the honor due me?” he rejected their offerings.
So, in what ways do we offer God inadequate sacrifices that ultimately displease him? For starters, every time we give God chump changes for offering, show up late for worship, or pray only when we need something, meanwhile being generous to ourselves and punctual to other meetings, and always on the phone talking to friends, we are disrespecting him.
It’s not for me to speculate whether God rejects our offerings, worship, or prayers, but if he does, that doesn’t mean God rejects us. Israel, as a nation, did everything imaginable for God to reject them, but he never did; instead, he kept giving them chances to change. And God does the same for us today, for “his kindness, tolerance and patience . . . lead you toward repentance” (Rom. 2:4).
As for my dissertation, once I finally presented the paper that pleased my mentor, it was accepted. That made me happy. Likewise, when we offer sacrifices that please God, it makes us joyous.
Prayer: How I praise and magnify Your name this morning, O Lord. While I do not always act as if You are the most important person in my life, I am so glad that You treat me as if I am the most important person in the world; the Cross ensures me that You do. Thank You. Help me to make this day count for You. Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Revelation 12
Lunch Break Study
Read Rom. 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.”
Heb. 10:10: “And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.”
Num. 6:14a: “There they are to present their offerings to the Lord: a year-old male lamb without defect for a burnt offering, a year-old ewe lamb without defect for a sin offering. . . .”
2 Cor. 8:7: “But since you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in the love we have kindled in you—see that you also excel in this grace of giving.”
Questions to Consider
- What is so oxymoronic about the concept of “living sacrifices?” What is theologically implied by that phrase?
- What does it mean to offer God “living sacrifices” without defect?
- What are some areas where we need to offer to the Lord excellent “living sacrifices?”
- There is no such thing as “living sacrifices” since all sacrifices in the Old Testament involved dead animals. But because Christ’s sacrifice on our behalf paid for our sins, we have been made holy through him. Thus, since we longer have to die for sins, we now live for the One who did us a great and eternal favor—that’s called living sacrifices.
- It means giving God our excellence. One caution: We shouldn’t always equate excellence to professional standard valued in the marketplace. We do the best we can (mainly in preparation) with the resources available (2 Cor. 9:11: “according to your means”) to serve God with our heart.
- Giving (i.e., being more generous), faith (i.e., trusting God more), speech [e.g., avoiding un-wholesome talk (Eph 4:29)], knowledge [better knowing the Scripture (Heb 5:11-2)], character, etc.
In reviewing this day, do you think your effort demonstrated that God isn’t a fifth-wheel in your life?
Which situation stands out? Remember, tomorrow means another chance from God to live for him.