to obey is better than sacrifice / obedience is better than sacrifice *
August 26, 2019 – Monday
Jeremiah 3:24-25 & 4:1-2 NIV
24 From our youth shameful gods have consumed the fruits of our ancestors’ labor —
their flocks and herds, their sons and daughters.
25 Let us lie down in our shame, and let our disgrace cover us.
We have sinned against the Lord our God, both we and our ancestors;
from our youth till this day we have not obeyed the Lord our God.”
1 “If you, Israel, will return, then return to Me,” declares the Lord.
“If you put your detestable idols out of My sight and no longer go astray,
2 and if in a truthful, just and righteous way you swear, ‘As surely as the Lord lives,’
then the nations will invoke blessings by Him and in Him they will boast.”
The conclusion of chapter three leads directly into chapter four so they are placed together above as they would have appeared before the word was divided into chapters and verses. Here we first see an acknowledgment of sin of disobedience followed by the promises of God to forgive when following confession there is a turning to the Lord and away from the detestable idols we and our ancestors followed.
It should come as no surprise God makes it clear that simply saying it is so on our part is not enough. He has seen enough empty sacrifices, ritualistic prayers, hypocritical statements to where now He states when they (we) swear, it has to be in a truthful, just and righteous way. What happens then? Blessings will follow. Matthew Henry had this to say:
While men harden themselves in sin, contempt and misery are their portion: for he that covereth his sins shall not prosper, but he that confesseth and forsaketh them, shall find mercy.
Sin must be put away out of the heart, else it is not put away out of God’s sight, for the heart is open before him.
It is just as true today as it was in Jeremiah’s time that a man or woman will try to deceive God, perhaps even deceiving one’s self, while forgetting our hearts are an open book to Him. We cannot deceive God, only others and ourselves. Thus, when we confess our sins and turn to God and the wonderful gift of Grace He offers, let us do so without any deception at all in our hearts. Then let us embrace His mercy and seek to put His forgiveness into action in our own lives.
Let us endeavor to put God’s word in our hearts and into action outside the four walls of a church or Bible study. Church is simply the classroom, the application is outside in the world. After all after coming to Christ and accepting Him as our Lord and Savior we would do well to remember Paul’s words from Ephesians 2:10
For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
Let us be about doing those good works whatever or wherever they are. For me, l will begin by prayer for those I know who want prayer and then for those who call themselves our enemies, then from there continue onward.
(to obey is better than sacrifice / obedience is better than sacrifice)
* Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the Lord? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams. (1 Samuel 15:22)