“The Lord takes pleasure in those who fear Him, in those who hope in His mercy.” Psalm 147:11
Too many times when we look to give something to the Lord as an act of worship, I think we look to the “law”, either that of what the bible says is acceptable sacrifice or that which the church we attend has interpreted as an acceptable sacrifice or offering, and we just follow the script we have been given and give to the Lord in that manner. And although giving to God in “acceptable” terms is not really deceptive towards God, as God was warning His people in the following text written by the prophet Malachi, I do feel that doing so is on the lines of a sin of omission.
“'But cursed be the deceiver who has in his flock a male and makes a vow, but sacrifices to the Lord what is blemished – For I am a great King', says the Lord of hosts, 'And My name is to be feared among the nations.” Malachi 1:14
When we take out a check-list and make the list itself a determining guide for what we choose to offer the Lord, we essentially take God out of the picture. The Lord wants us to look beyond our lists and look to Him instead. To Him we make our offering of worship and to Him alone the offering or sacrifice is meant to be pleasing. The factor that tends to push us towards seeking our lists instead of seeking from the Lord what He wants from us, is that the list allows us to choose and the list allows us to stay in charge. If we truly got down on our knees and inquired of the Lord what He desired from each of us, we would find His inquiry not only personal but when followed through a perfect act of worship from us to Him.
To the Israelites of long ago, who were shepherds, the sacrifice of an unblemished lamb meant that they were to keep the blind, lame, and sickly lambs for themselves and not offer them to the Lord. If it had been their choice on which lamb to give up from their flock, of course they would have chosen one of the blemished lambs – still a sacrifice in their own eyes and yet not as costly to them and their flock as the lamb the Lord was asking them to give. Our human nature just tends to lean to self-preservation even when we know in our minds that we should not.
The Lord desires each of us to give Him unblemished sacrifices - wholly and fitting to what He asks us to give Him and not something we contrive off of a list and have interpreted as acceptable to God. Unwittingly our human nature will not allow us to make those sacrifices pleasing to God for long, even if we start out with good intentions in that direction. Yes, some day in heaven we will not need to worry about fighting against our human nature when we live in the presence of the Lord for eternity and no longer have the pull of sin to make our ways constantly in opposition to the ways of the Lord, but for now each day is a struggle to give to the Lord what is due to Him and not keep it for ourselves to use in our instinctively selfish hearts.
“But there shall by no means enter it anything that defiles, or causes an abomination or a lie, but only those who are written in the Lamb's Book of Life.” Revelation 21:27
Whether you are seeking to make an offering at church or you are looking to serve the Lord in some manner or another today, do not do so without inquiring of the Lord first. What did He ask that you should give Him or do for Him today? Not only does inquiring of the Lord leave Him on the throne in your heart as you seek to serve Him and worship Him, but also it ensures that the product of all you offer the Lord will be fruitful for His kingdom and used to glorify Him and Him alone. We must trust Him no matter what, stay within His plan, and from that our faith will give to the Lord more and we could ever give to Him out of our own efforts and our own willingness to sacrifice all for Him.