How can I stand up before God and show proper respect to the high God? Should I bring an armload of offerings topped off with yearling calves? Would God be impressed with thousands of rams, with buckets and barrels of olive oil? Would he be moved if I sacrificed my firstborn child, my precious baby, to cancel my sin? Micah 6:6-7 (MSG)
In this chapter, God speaks to His people through the prophet Micah. God is irritated and angry with His people for their rebellion, sinfulness and the tendency to forget God’s goodness the moment life become difficult. In the first 5 verses God makes His “case” and demands an answer.
The answer to God’s question, “What do you people want from me?” is the sarcastic reply, “God, want do You want from me?” The list of over the top offerings may not resonate with you. Today it may sound like this:
Ok, God, what kind of offering would be enough? What would it take to get forgiveness? Do you want my entire paycheck every week? Should I put the money I’d use for food in the offering this Sunday? Maybe you want me to sell all the stuff I possess and put that money in the offering. God, do you’d want my entire salary, would that be enough? Maybe You’d like my first-born, too?
I asked my hubby to vacuum the house while I was at work. I got home from work after a long 12 hours to find clean dishes and a smashed down, debris-specked carpet. My sweet hubby was so proud of his accomplishment. He couldn’t understand why I was upset. “But, I did the dishes.” he said with a tone longing for appreciation. I sighed, thanked him, and then reminded him I had asked him to vacuum.
Have you ever asked God the question, “Just what do you want from me?!” Have you tried to satisfy God by doing the dishes when He’s clearly asked you to vacuum? That’s what’s happening in this instance. God isn’t after a tangible offering. God zeroes in on the heart. Do you act justly? Do you love mercy? Are you as concerned about a relationship with God as you are with meeting your own needs?
That is what God is after; your heart, not your pocket book. God doesn’t want the change at the bottom of your purse or pocket if there is no change in your heart. God won’t accept a substitute.
There’s good news and bad news.
The bad news is, for flawed humanity, it seems difficult to simply; act justly, love mercy and be humble before God. Offering a lesser gift is the default action. Hey, at least you offered something, right? See, how hollow that is.
The good news is, God loves you and is patient. He will let you fumble around in your frustration until you finally come to an understanding that He is after your obedience, changed heart and the actions that arise from that change; not your resources.
The BEST news of all, God doesn’t expect you to make this change of heart through your own efforts. If you offer a listening ear, and a willing spirit, God’s Holy Spirit will change you into the person God intended you to be.
Accept no substitutions.
Father, thank you for Your infinite love and your patience with me as I come to understand the meager things I can offer are not what You truly desire. I pray You would soften my heart. That Your Spirit would change me into a person who acts justly, loves mercy and desires nothing more than to know you more.