The Sacrifices Of God

Psalm 51:12-17

Restore to me the joy of Thy salvation, and sustain me with a willing spirit. Then I will teach transgressors Thy ways, and sinners will be converted to Thee.

Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, thou God of my salvation; then my tongue will joyfully sing of Thy righteousness.

O Lord, open my lips, that my mouth may declare Thy praise. For Thou dost not delight in sacrifice, otherwise I would give it; Thou art not pleased with burnt offerings.

The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and a contrite heart, O God, Thou wilt not despise.

We know from Luke 3:8, from the preaching of John the Baptist, that we need to “bring forth fruits in keeping with repentance. . .” Once we have confessed a sin and been cleansed by God, we must show the Lord that we will not take lightly the sacrifice that was made on our behalf. If we go on sinning as if nothing happened, if we confess a sin and resolve to make it right but never follow through, then the prayer was worthless. Hebrews 10:26 states, “For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins.” And Paul makes the same point in Romans 6:1-2. How can we possibly keep sinning after supposedly being purified from that same sin? So David in Psalm 51 seeks to act the way a purified person ought to act! He chooses to teach others about the Truth and convert sinners to the path of righteousness. He chooses to sing with his tongue instead of spread lies with it. He chooses to make a spiritual sacrifice from his heart rather than slaughter a few animals and walk away feeling proud of himself. He makes his path straight and follows God with all his heart!

After all, we find in the text that God does not seek sacrifices of lambs and other animals unless there is sincere motivation behind it. In fact, in a number of verses, we find that God specifically desires the motivation behind the sacrifice, and not simply the sacrifice by itself. In 1 Samuel 15:22, we read, “Has the Lord as much delight in burnt offerings and sacrifice, as in obeying the voice of the Lord?” In Proverbs 21:3, the writer states, “To do justice and judgment is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice.” And there are a number of other verses that say the same thing. Of course, none of this is meant to diminish the importance of sacrifices – it was a command from God that the Israelites fulfill this obligation, and complete obedience to the Law was required of these people. But what good is obedience without the heart?

“The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, Thou wilt not despise.”