Sacrifice Devotional (for FBC Celebration Choir)

Sacrifice – how would you define it?

 

Dictionary.com defines sacrifice as: 

1. the offering of animal, plant, or human life or of some material possession to a deity, as in propitiation or homage.

2. the person, animal, or thing so offered.

3. the surrender or destruction of something prized or desirable for the sake of something considered as having a higher or more pressing claim.

 

In the Old Testament sacrificial system, a sacrifice was to be of the utmost quality, the highest level of perfection…the best of the best. It was designed to be an act of worship to God Almighty. Anything less was hated by God…literally.

 

Isaiah 1 says this:

11 “The multitude of your sacrifices—
       what are they to me?” says the LORD.
       “I have more than enough of burnt offerings,
       of rams and the fat of fattened animals;
       I have no pleasure
       in the blood of bulls and lambs and goats.

 12 When you come to appear before me,
       who has asked this of you,
       this trampling of my courts?

 13 Stop bringing meaningless offerings!
       Your incense is detestable to me.
       New Moons, Sabbaths and convocations—
       I cannot bear your evil assemblies.

 14 Your New Moon festivals and your appointed feasts
       my soul hates.
       They have become a burden to me;
       I am weary of bearing them.

In verse 13, God said: “Stop bringing meaningless offerings!”

What is indicative of a proper sacrifice? 

Listen to Micah 6:

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 oil?
       Shall I offer my firstborn for my transgression,
       the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?

 8 He has showed you, O man, 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.

Isaiah warns us to stop bringing meaningless sacrifices. Micah encourages us to act justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with our God. When you wed the two…which you must always do when looking to Scripture, take the whole of it, not just a portion…when you wed the two, you can see that we must make meaningful sacrifices in order to act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly. What do we need to sacrifice in order to do these things?

My favorite Scripture in relation to sacrifice is found in 1 Chronicles 21:

22 David said to him (Araunah), “Let me have the site of your threshing floor so I can build an altar to the LORD, that the plague on the people may be stopped. Sell it to me at the full price.”

 23 Araunah said to David, “Take it! Let my lord the king do whatever pleases him. Look, I will give the oxen for the burnt offerings, the threshing sledges for the wood, and the wheat for the grain offering. I will give all this.”

 24 But King David replied to Araunah, “No, I insist on paying the full price. I will not take for the LORD what is yours, or sacrifice a burnt offering that costs me nothing.”

David saw that a sacrifice was truly…well a sacrifice. It should cost something if it is to carry any meaning. When we seek to act justly, love mercy and walk humbly the sacrifices we make to do so should carry cost and meaning to us. Not just a little here and there, but a lot all the time.

My challenge is two fold to you tonight. First is that you would seek the Lord with all your heart making every sacrifice you can to do so. If we can all do this, we will see the Lord do amazing things in our midst. But second is this challenge…I am wanting to see a greater sacrifice on your part to make this music ministry successful. I want to see you here more often for rehearsal and for Sundays. I want to see us start on time as best we can. I want to see us give every effort to learn every piece of music we have so that it can be the best of the best offering each Sunday we sing. I don’t want to be guilty of shepherding a ministry that only gives God 10%, or 50%, or even 99% effort. I promise to give you better than I have been. Will you covenant with me tonight to give your best…  your best effort, your best time, your best energy…your very best?

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