What Is It To Me?
Isaiah 1:11-12 (ESV) -- “What to me is the multitude of your sacrifices?” says the LORD; “I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams and the fat of well-fed beasts; I do not delight in the blood of bulls, or of lambs, or of goats. When you come to appear before me, who has required of you this trampling of my courts?...”
Think about a time you went to a restaurant where the service and food were terrible. Imagine having the worst experience of your life and seeing the manager come to your table to make things right. But rather than apologizing for your food, tearing up the bill, and offering you a free meal on your next visit, he hands you a pre-printed card that says “We’re sorry for your inconvenience.” You’d be incredulous.
In our passage today, we see God respond in a similar way. We see God speak in Isaiah 1:11-12, “’What to me is the multitude of your sacrifices?’ says the LORD; ‘I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams and the fat of well-fed beasts; I do not delight in the blood of bulls, or of lambs, or of goats. When you come to appear before me, who has required of you this trampling of my courts?...’”
Notice the LORD asks, “What to me is the multitude of your sacrifices?” The people of Israel, despite their wickedness and disobedience to the LORD, believed their sacrifices somehow made up for it. They wrongly concluded that somehow God would be inclined toward them through their sacrifices. But God dispels this idea quickly. He says, “I have had enough of burnt offerings.” The Living God doesn’t delight in the blood of sacrifices. They have trampled His courts. They have defiled their hearts.
God is less interested in our acts of sacrifice to Him. He requires clean hands and a pure heart. He delights in our obedience. Many today believe they can perform particular works for God and, therefore, earn His approval and favor. Going to church, serving the poor, or going on mission trips are great things, but not what God requires. He requires a heart of praise. He delights in a sacrifice of worship. God loves hearts that treasure and seek Him.
God asks the question, “What is it to me that you sacrifice?” In other words, “Do you think you can cover the debt you owe with your sacrifices?” “Do you think you can divert my eyes from your wickedness?” These are penetrating questions. They cause us to reflect on what God truly desires from us. Look to the LORD today as your hope and peace. The sacrifice of Christ is the only sacrifice He is pleased to look upon on our behalf.
Jesus’ sacrifice satisfies the wrath of God.
Now as the redeemed children of God through Christ, seek to honor the LORD with the obedience of your life.
Reflection & Journal:
- Why does God not delight in their burnt offerings?
- What does God require of us? What does please God?
- How does this passage teach us about God’s character and requirements?
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