Your New Moon feasts and your appointed festivals I hate with all my being. They have become a burden to me; I am weary of bearing them. (Isaiah 1:14)
The Bible makes it clear that we are to love the things God loves and to hate the things God hates. There are indeed many things our God loves, for He is a God of love . . . and we love because He first loved us. But there are also many things our God hates, and we are to keep those things in view as well. Let’s take a look at some of those things and be challenged to live in deeper conformity to the likeness of His beloved Son.
- Haughty eyes (a proud look)
- A lying tongue
- Hands that shed innocent blood
- A heart that devises wicked schemes
- Feet that are quick to rush into evil
- A false witness who pours out lies
- A person who stirs up conflict in the community.
That’s a straightforward list taken from the sixth Proverb. And I think we would all agree that we are to hate these things as God hates these things. But if you go back and reread today’s verse, you will find something God hates even more, and it is often harder to detect than the things on the Proverbs list. Our God particularly hates a superficial sacrifice that comes from the head or the hand but not from the heart. The empty sacrifice is abhorrent to God and we must at all costs guard against offering it.
Look at it this way: we can offer our sacrifices out of duty, and we know that we owe all duty to God. Duty can descend into drudgery, and that opens the door to the heartless sacrifice. But we can also offer our sacrifices out of devotion, which leads to delight.
What we must continually do is ask about the “Why” behind all of the “What” we do for our Lord. When the “Why” is simply out of a heart that beats with love for our God, we can be sure that our sacrifice is not a burden to our God, but rather, a blessing which He will never grow weary of bearing.
“One thing have I asked of the Lord,” David wrote, “that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in his temple. . . . I will offer in his tent sacrifices with shouts of joy; I will sing and make melody to the Lord” (Psalm 27:4, 6). David was called by God “a man after my own heart.” David was a sinner, just like you and me, but his wholehearted devotion to the Lord his God, through times of both great success and terrible failure, was the sacrifice of praise that pleases our God and marked David as a man after God’s own heart.
May you and I also lift our hearts to God, asking Him to move our hearts to love what He loves and hate what Hates, always remembering that our great God loves vile, hateful sinners—sinners like you, like David, and like me—so much that He sent His only begotten Son to die on a cruel cross so that we might live with Him forever.
This is the Gospel. Thi is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!