Obedience vs. Sacrifice

6 Sacrifice and offering you did not desire—
but my ears you have opened—
burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not require.
7 Then I said, “Here I am, I have come—
it is written about me in the scroll.
8 I desire to do your will, my God;
your law is within my heart.” Psalm 40:6-8

If you think about it, it’s fairly simple to sacrifice things. We do it all the time.

  • If we want to lose weight, we forgo a little food and engage in some strenuous activities (exercise) to shed some weight.
  • Parents sacrifice careers by staying at home to raise children.
  • In the business world, people sacrifice money for things or services.

In God’s view, though, we can do all those things and much more, and still not be enough. He wants obedience and a willing heart. The sacrifice will come as a result of the obedience, but the obedience comes first.

This Keith Green song illustrates the point. The music starts at the 2:00 mark.

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The Wonders

5 Many, Lord my God,
    are the wonders you have done,
    the things you planned for us.
None can compare with you;
    were I to speak and tell of your deeds,
    they would be too many to declare. Psalm 40:5

Will we ever know all the wonders He has performed? In Heaven will that be the case? It’s doubtful because there are just so many out there, and each of us are only able to see bits and pieces of those wonders: the sunrise and sunset, a newborn, a life changed for Christ, the wisdom of a grandmother, nature, the skies at night, and microscopic organisms to name a few.

On earth we get to explore these wonders each day, that is, if we want. Maintaining a healthy curiosity for things we don’t understand is a great way to explore these wonders. Appreciating the beautiful things we see is another.

The New Testament puts it a slightly different way:

Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, 2 then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. 3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Philippians 2:1-4

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Back to the Basics

4 Blessed is the one
    who trusts in the Lord,
who does not look to the proud,
    to those who turn aside to false gods. Psalm 40:4

When Coach Vince Lombardi of the Green Bay Packers was first introduced to the team, this was his speech:

“This is a football.” He paused, and then he explained:

“As a team last year we were horrible at the fundamentals of the game of football. Nobody here knows how to block and nobody knows how to tackle. All I saw last year was grab, grab, grab!

“What we’re going to do now is go back to basics and we’re going to learn, drill and practice the fundamentals until we become better at them than anyone else in the game. If you do this with me, I will make you champions.”

In two years time, the Packers went from winning one game to winning the national championship. How? They went back to the basics and fundamentals of football.

Trusting in the Lord is getting back to the basics of our faith. It’s a daily, relentless pursuit of God and His Word. Often it’s a battle between our own wills and what God wants. Sometimes we don’t know what He wants. But I’m convinced He wants us to ask and seek and knock.

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That New Song

3 He put a new song in my mouth,
    a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear the Lord
    and put their trust in him. Psalm 40:3

So you’re not a singer, you say? Says who?

What’s this new song of yours about? What does it mean? How does it go? No one else ever has to know.

Next month there might be a new song. How will it go?

Sometimes the new song is just that, a new song. Other times it’s spiritual insight you have not ever seen before, and yet it still has made an impact on you. It puts a new skip in your step, a fresh and lasting smile on your face.

So, I ask again, what’s your new song?

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The Last Time

I waited patiently for the Lord;
    he turned to me and heard my cry.
2 He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
    out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock
    and gave me a firm place to stand. Psalm 40:1-2

When’s the last time you waited patiently for the Lord? Just…waited…patiently.

When was the last time you cried out to Him out of desperation?

And when was the last time you felt secure, like nothing can possibly move or shake you?

If it’s been awhile for any of these, perhaps we just need to slow down a bit and recognize that the God of the Universe is waiting for us.

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