“If I were hungry, I would not tell you; For the world is Mine, and all its fullness. Will I eat the flesh of bulls, or drink the blood of goats? Offer to God thanksgiving, and pay your vows to the Most High.” This is a rebuke to the people who were just going through the motions of offering sacrifices to the Lord without a heart surrendered to Him. God is not impressed with someone performing public religious displays but ignoring all His commandments in their personal life. “What right have you to declare My Statues, or take My covenant in your mouth, seeing you hate instruction and cast My words behind you?” So the people were performing the religious duty of the animal sacrifice yet living lives consenting with thieves, partaking in adultery, lying and slandering others. This blatant neglect of God’s law exposes a heart issue. A heart that loves the Lord will desire obedience and will delight in praising Him. “Whoever offers praise glorifies Me; and to him who orders his conduct aright I will show the Salvation of God.”
The idea of your heart being exposed through your obedience to the Word of God is not just an Old Testament concept. Later in the Story, after Jesus arrives on the scene, John will say, “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him”. (John 3:36) Did you notice that the verse did not end after “whoever believes in the son has eternal life”? It’s not about going through the religious motions and its not about performing works to earn His favor. It’s about a heart that loves the Lord which leads to a desire to be obedient to His Word. We can’t fool God with our religious activity because He sees the heart. Jesus will come and call out these fake well-polished religious leaders who are all about power and position. “What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs—beautiful on the outside but filled on the inside with dead people’s bones and all sorts of impurity. Outwardly you look like righteous people, but inwardly your hearts are filled with hypocrisy and lawlessness.” (Matthew 23:27-28)
Keep reading to meet Jesus who rebukes the high and mighty religious crowd but is a friend to those who know they are desperate sinners in need of a Savior. That’s the heart of our God!
(Psalm 50, Psalms 73-74)