When we consider our walk with God, often we can make it transactional: We sin and fall short of God's will, and Jesus then loves up to His Word and offers a sacrifice of our sins. We are comfortable with this arrangement, since after all, it requires nothing on our part, we just accept the grace offered to us, and well...that's it. Until next time, and the cycle starts all over again.
Same was true of believers in the time before Christ. They could offer their own sacrifices, and therefore everything was good, right? As long as the sacrifice was there, there was an out for sinful behavior. But God sees what's in our hearts and when we are just "going through the motions" when we are justified in our own eyes.
We learned yesterday that Jesus was much more concerned with what is in our hearts than just our external shows of religiosity. We know from the Old Testament prophets that this was God's point of view all along, no one was getting away with their lip-service to God while living their lives as they see fit:
“I hate, I despise your feasts,
and I take no delight in your solemn assemblies.
Even though you offer me your burnt offerings and grain offerings,
I will not accept them;
and the peace offerings of your fattened animals,
I will not look upon them.
Take away from me the noise of your songs;
to the melody of your harps I will not listen.
But let justice roll down like waters,
and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream. “Did you bring to me sacrifices and offerings during the forty years in the wilderness, O house of Israel? You shall take up Sikkuth your king, and Kiyyun your star-god—your images that you made for yourselves, and I will send you into exile beyond Damascus,” says the Lord, whose name is the God of hosts."
When Jesus taught, he was not offering a "new" perspective, but confirming what God's will was all along. We can convince ourselves we are in the right, back up our beliefs with carefully selected scriptures and religious turns of phrase, but ultimately, God sees our hearts. God knew that the children of Israel had let their hearts be led astray, had loyalties to gods of other nations. So He'd send them out to the lands of those gods, the true desire of their hearts.
Our proverbs for today want us to consider our lives before God from this perspective as well. God doesn't want us to simply make a show of our faith, He wants the truth of His Word to mold and change us, transform us into instruments of His justice and righteousness. Not to seek after gods of our own making, but to become re-made into the image of God.
So today let's align our hearts with God, and desire justice and righteousness over sacrifice as well. God wants to liberate us from the dominion of death and sin, not simply help us live in sin, while saying we belong to Him.
Prayer for Today:
Father, forgive me when I lose sight of you and your kingdom. Let the sacrifice of Jesus cover my sins, so I can be free from them, so I can serve you with gladness and in peace. Send your Holy Spirit to convict me of the sins I need to turn away from, and to show me the blessing of a life lived by your will. Amen.