Today’s Reading: Deuteronomy 16:1-17:20 (additional reading Psalm 72:1-20 and Proverbs 12:8-9)
“Never sacrifice sick or defective cattle, sheep, or goats to the Lord your God, for he detests such gifts” Deuteronomy 17:1.
When it came to sacrifices, offerings, and the payment of vows, God required that the Israelites bring their best animals and goods to Him. Nothing with a defect was allowed (Lev. 22:20–23). This was because God is a holy, perfect God. He was worthy of the best that His people had to offer. In the end, all that they had belonged to Him anyway (compare Deut. 8:18; 1 Chr. 29:14–15).
In Malachi we also read that the people were bring God their leftovers. But our second best does not honour God. Some relationships demand honour and respect. No Jew would deny that a son was obligated to honour his father, a servant his master, and a citizen his king. When we offer God our second best we do not have an appropriate concept of God. If Jesus died for us, then no sacrifice can be too great for us to make for him.
Not only does our second best no honour God, but it doesn’t please him either. The Bible says it is better not to worship at all, then to worship with the wrong attidude. Are you offering to God that which you would not dare offer a lesser person? Are you offering to God that which even a pagan would not offer to their gods? Do you honor God by the life you live? The offering you give? The service you render?
In addition to our second best not honour or pleasing God, neither does it satisfy us. Many people sit in churches on Sunday saying to themselves, “When will this end so we can get on with something meaningful or important?” A religion that cost nothing, is worth nothing, for it brings no lasting satisfaction to us.
We need to give God our best because actually he deserves much more than our best. Here are some challenge questions for you to think about.
- Do we honour God with the best of what we have—in terms of our time, talent, and treasure—or do we just offer Him the “leftovers”?
- Do we serve God with our best effort at work, utilizing the resources and abilities that He has given us as best we can?
- Do we worship God in an alert, active way, paying attention and entering into His presence with all that we have—our minds, emotions, and will?
- Do we treat others—who are made in God’s image—with the best of intentions, showing honour, respect, and love toward them as we would toward Christ?