Tag Archives: sacrifice

Fat of Rams

Saul disobeyed the command of the Lord to utterly destroy the Amalekites. He saved the best sheep, oxen, calves and lambs. Anything that was good he kept. Anything that he saw as worthless he destroyed. But God commanded everything was to be utterly destroyed.

Saul said the best was spared to sacrifice to the Lord, but that was not what God requested. His disobedience he tried to justify with sacrifice. Samuel said what pleases God is obedience and submission more so than sacrifices. As Hosea 6:6 states: “I want you to show love, not offer sacrifices. I want you to know Me more than I want burnt offerings” (NLT). Jesus said, “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments” (John 14:15 ESV).

What God wants from each of us is for us to know Him, to love Him and to obey Him. If we love Him, we will want to know Him more and to obey Him. If we know Him, we will love Him more and want to obey His Word. Sacrifice is important. Sacrifice is part of obedience. But the fat of rams is nothing compared to a loving, obedient heart for God and an intimate relationship and growing personal knowledge of Christ Jesus.

“But Samuel replied, ‘What is more pleasing to the LORD: your burnt offerings and sacrifices or your obedience to his voice? Listen! Obedience is better than sacrifice, and submission is better than offering the fat of rams’” – 1 Samuel 15:22 [NLT]

Bits and Pieces

I am not a fan of blueberries. I will admit that if there’s a fruit salad, I’ll try my best to not grab too many blueberries with the serving spoon. I pick out the bits and pieces that I like and leave the blueberries for those who like blueberries, or for those who happen to approach the bowl after I took all the good stuff. Sometimes that means someone gets stuck with a lot of blueberries.

The problem with picking out the bits and pieces is you then do not get all of the benefits of the fruit salad. In the same way, we cannot pick out bits and pieces of God’s Word and think that is enough. Too often people want to select particular passages, certain beliefs, only some things to live by, only certainly things to follow, and leave the rest. Everyone loves grace. Everyone loves blessings. But God’s Word speaks of things like obedience, humility, sacrifice, loving those who hate you, and judgment.

If you are opening your Bible only looking for bits and pieces of what works for you, I pray that you will come to see that the Bible is not a bag of trail mix where you pick out what you like. God’s Word, every single word of the Bible, is amazing. Let us be grateful for each bit, each piece, every single word. Psalm 63 is one of my favorite. Read it right now and pray for that thirst of which the Psalmist speaks.

“One final word of counsel, friends. Keep a sharp eye out for those who take bits and pieces of the teaching that you learned and then use them to make trouble. Give these people a wide berth. They have no intention of living for our Master Christ. They’re only in this for what they can get out of it, and aren’t above using pious sweet talk to dupe unsuspecting innocents.” – Romans 16:17-18 [MSG]

Ready to Serve

God has placed a special calling on each of our lives. Peter spoke of the need to always be prepared to share the Message (1 Peter 3); however, we also need to be ready to serve in other ways. There are times when your life may seem like it is on course and suddenly something “pops up.”

Consider Mary, a young woman going about her normal day. Suddenly an angel of the Lord visits and tells her of an amazing plan that involves her in a very personal way. Life would immediately change. What was her response? “I’m the Lord’s maid, ready to serve.”

I think it is fair to assume that she was nervous and perhaps fearful but she trusted God. Today let us be prepared to serve. We might be led to give someone a bottle of water or we could be led to something that requires more sacrifice and dedication. Whatever it may be, may your answer be “I’m the Lords… ready to serve.”

“’And did you know that your cousin Elizabeth conceived a son, old as she is? Everyone called her barren, and here she is six months pregnant! Nothing, you see, is impossible with God.’

And Mary said,

Yes, I see it all now:
I’m the Lord’s maid, ready to serve.
Let it be with me
just as you say.

Then the angel left her.”

-Luke 1:36-38 [MSG]

FearNot Logo EDITED FINAL square logo

A Banquet of Praise

I’ve been to many banquets over the years; each one is a great celebration. In today’s verse, it speaks about “a banquet of praise.” The NIV says, “Sacrifice thank offerings to God.”

Now today we do not sacrifice thank offerings like they once did; however, we still should offer praise to God. He alone deserves praise. In verse 15, God says, “Call on me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you will honor me.” Call on Him. He will help. We will honor Him. It seems so simple but yet it gets neglected again and again.

We can never praise God enough. We can never offer Him enough thanks for what He has done for us, what He has given us. When I think of spreading out a banquet feast, I think of the big table of food at a wedding celebration or birthday dinner. I think of a Christmas family dinner or a picnic spread on a beautiful summer day. Those feasts we give a lot to make happen. We prepare. We spend. We plan. We pour a lot out for those banquets. A banquet is elaborate. A banquet is large. So when we think of a banquet of praise, it should never be only a “thank you for my food” before your meal and nothing more for the rest of the day. Imagine tomorrow morning, waking up and only having what you thanked God for today. Wow! There’s so much more to be thankful for, so much more opportunity to praise Him. Start spreading out that banquet. Honor Him.

“Spread for me a banquet of praise,
serve High God a feast of kept promises,
And call for help when you’re in trouble—
I’ll help you, and you’ll honor me.”

-Psalm 50:14-15 [MSG]

FearNot Logo EDITED FINAL square logo

Meaningless Gifts

I have seen many people buying gift cards for people just because they felt that they had to do it. They didn’t want to buy the gift cards. Some were very blunt about it. They were doing it because “it’s what you do” or because “the other person was getting them something” which meant to them that they had the “obligation” to do the same in return.

This verse speaks about meaningless gifts. The people were not giving gifts from the heart. The people were simply doing what was part of the ritual. When you think of it, the people were actually worshiping the ritual. It was all about the ritual, all about getting it accomplished. They were that far from God that this ritual was a routine to get done and nothing more.

God doesn’t want meaningless gifts. In fact, God doesn’t need your gifts. He doesn’t need your weekly tithe. He doesn’t need you to help your neighbor shovel. He doesn’t need anything from you. But He wants your heart. He loves you. He doesn’t want you to feel obligated to do something for Him, but if you love Him, you will want to do things for Him. You’ll want to serve, to help, to live your life with open hands. The gifts you present won’t be meaningless—they will be out of love. It will be a sweet aroma to God and He will be pleased. Not because you’re following a routine but because you’re pouring out love.

“Stop bringing me your meaningless gifts; the incense of your offerings disgusts me! As for your celebrations of the new moon and the Sabbath and your special days for fasting–they are all sinful and false. I want no more of your pious meetings.” – Isaiah 1:13 [NLT]

FearNot Logo EDITED FINAL square logo

The Cost of Integrity

When Paul and Barnabas were in Lystra, Paul healed a lame man and the people began to call the duo gods. Paul and Barnabas tore their clothing as a sign of mourning and shouted at the crowd that they were only human. They could have accepted the glory for themselves. They could have allowed the people to sacrifice to them as they had wished. Instead they spoke of the living God, and things changed.

Even as they spoke the words, the people still attempted to sacrifice to them. But then some Jews came from Antioch and Iconium. The Jews influenced the crowd and the men that were once considered gods were now looked at differently. Paul was stoned. He was stoned so badly that they thought he was dead (see Acts 14).

Integrity is rare today. Here we see Paul and Barnabas standing firm. Paul might not have been stoned if he had accepted being called Hermes. But then the message he was sharing all over would not have meant much. The message never changes. The Bible never changes. To be taken serious, we must walk with integrity. We must stand firm even if the stones will come flying. If we present anything but the Truth, we won’t be taken seriously. Integrity costs.

“And you yourself must be an example to them by doing good works of every kind. Let everything you do reflect the integrity and seriousness of your teaching.” – Titus 2:7 [NLT]

FearNot Logo EDITED FINAL square logo

Full Ransom

The word “full” means complete. Being full means you lack nothing. The Psalmist wrote that the “full ransom” was paid. The complete ransom. There is nothing that could be added because it lacks nothing. It is finished. That’s what Jesus said at the cross. It is finished.

Not everyone can wrap their minds (and hearts) around this statement. Some people feel that their sins are so bad that they need to do more to “fix” the situation. They still are dirty. They still aren’t fully paid up. The ransom has been paid—the full price. Jesus paid the penalty for each one of us, each one of our sins, no matter how bad or how big you think they are compared to others. He paid for all.

Embrace this completeness. Accept that it is finished. Move forward with a different attitude. You are forgiven. You are loved. You are free. The price has been paid. Now move forward. Don’t let the devil keep you down when Jesus has already provided the victory.

“He has paid a full ransom for his people. He has guaranteed his covenant with them forever. What a holy, awe-inspiring name he has!” – Psalm 111:9 [NLT]

FearNot Logo EDITED FINAL square logo

More Pleased

There are many people who go to church weekly because it is the thing to do in life. You are supposed to go make your grand appearance each week. Some people believe that going each week means that they are saved. They are making the sacrifice of their Sunday morning. They have done their deed for the week. Some believe if they give to the church they are secure. If they tithe each week, they are good to go and need not worry about anything else.

Today’s passage states that God is pleased more so when we do what is right and just. When we live focused on righteousness and justice at the forefront, the sacrifices will be offered, but the heart will be very different. When you desire to do what is right and just because you love the Lord, the sacrifices mean something. They come from the heart. If you are only tithing because it’s something you are supposed to do, but you fail to even attempt to do what is right and just, what are you really trying to do? It could be seen as trying to buy you security. But you cannot buy security. Security only comes through Jesus.

God is pleased when we do what is right and just. God loves when we walk with righteousness and justice. It is how He created things to be in this world. Doing this is a much better thing than sacrifices. The sacrifices will come but the sacrifices are only true sacrifices when they are coming from a heart for God. If you have a heart for God, you would want to do what is right and just. He would always be your focus and righteousness and justice would always matter.

“The LORD is more pleased when we do what is right and just than when we offer him sacrifices.” – Proverbs 21:3 [NLT]

FearNot Logo EDITED FINAL square logo

At What Cost

When David was looking to buy a location to have an altar to offer burnt offerings to the Lord, Araunah was going to give him the place. David refused the offer. He insisted on buying it. Not only did he insist on buying it, but 1 Chronicles 21:24 said he wanted to pay the “full price.” He did not want to offer to the Lord something that cost “nothing.”

When we offer something to God, does it cost us something? Is it something we give out of our surplus? Is it something just sitting around collecting dust or is it something that matters to us? Is it a sacrifice to us or something that never would have caught our attention? David could have had the land for free but what would it then have meant to David?

At what cost do you sacrifice to the Lord? Do you pay “full price” or do you give little? This question is not only about money. Time. Use of talents. Recreation. Family. 1The list goes on and on. So what is your cost?

“But the king replied to Araunah, ‘No, I insist on buying it, for I will not present burnt offerings to the LORD my God that have cost me nothing.’ So David paid him fifty pieces of silver for the threshing floor and the oxen.” – 2 Samuel 24:24 [NLT]

FearNot Logo EDITED FINAL square logo