6 With what shall I come before the Lord and bow down before the exalted God?
Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old?
7 Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousand rivers of olive oil?
Shall I offer my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?
8 He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.
What does God want from us? He surely doesn’t need our “stuff” – that is our gold, silver, our offerings of oil and animals (money, stocks, cars, house and property). ‘For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also (MT 13:46)’ These are all worldly possessions that He doesn’t really need – or want for that matter. He gives those to us to use so why does he want them back? He doesn’t.
So what does God want from us? Does He want to punish us or make us feel terrible that we failed Him? We all do that “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Ro 3:23). But He tells us to “… rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the Lord your God: for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil.” (Joel 2:13). God is loving and wants us to know His love and care for us and restore us from our fallen and sinful state.
So what does God really want from us?
“…And Samuel said, Hath the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.” (I Samuel 15:22).
God wants obedience – obedience to His Word, obedience to His will, Obedience to Him. How can we do that? What do we need as people to be obedient to our God?
To be obedient, means to put another’s desire, wants, plans, agenda in front of ours. And we work toward making those desires and plans our agenda and plan. We must put ourselves second and God first. Which means, someone is more important than we are.
But God doesn’t want us to be lowly, subservient, servants, He wants us to have the character of Jesus, sure in the knowledge that God is sovereign. He wants us to be strong in our Faith, in Him. We can only do that if we put God first in our lives.
“The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, You will not despise.” (Ps 51:17)
Lord God, let me do all I do today give evidence that you are in charge and not me. If I act justly, it is because you are working in me. If I have learned to love mercy, it is because I have received mercy myself. Thank you for Jesus and for the love and mercy he has offered in the cross. Let me trust in you and walk with you, for it is in Christ’s name I pray. Amen.