A Pleasing Sacrifice

By Pastor Teck Uy

When we serve the Lord, our utmost desire is to be able to please him. This is the reason why we give our very best when we serve. But why are we to please the Lord? In his Psalm, King David said, “If the Lord delights in a man’s ways, he makes his steps firm; though he stumble, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with his hand” (Psalm 37:23-24). The reality of life is that we will all stumble in one way or another. However, we may not all fall because it is the Lord who will sustain us with his hand. And if we ever fall, there is still hope as long as we continue to walk in righteousness. The Book of Proverbs tells us that “though the righteous fall seven times, they rise again, but the wicked stumble when calamity strikes” (Prov. 24:16). This restoration is made possible by the pleasing sacrifices that we offer to God.

In his letter to the Roman believers, the apostle Paul emphasized the need to offer our bodies as living and pleasing sacrifices to God (Rom. 12:1). But what specific offering can we give out of this body that will please the Lord?  In the case of King Hezekiah, he offered his tears. When he was sick, the Lord sent the prophet Isaiah to tell him, “Put your house in order, because you are going to die; you will not recover” (2 King 20:1). Helpless and hopeless, the king responded with a short prayer, and then wept bitterly. The Lord was pleased with King Hezekiah’s response and said, “I have heard your prayer and seen your tears; I will heal you … I will add fifteen years to your life” (v 5-6).

Our tears offered as a sacrifice please the Lord. Even Jesus himself shed his tears out of his compassion for Mary and Martha for the death of their brother Lazarus. Jesus shed his tears before offering his prayer to the Father and the result was the raising of Lazarus from the dead. The Psalmist also said, “Those who sow with tears will reap with songs of joy.  Those who go out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with them” (Psalm 126:5-6).

Another pleasing sacrifice that we can offer to God is the sacrifice of joy and thanksgiving. Having experienced the grace of God, King David said, “One thing I ask from the LORD, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life . . . at his sacred tent I will sacrifice with shouts of joy; I will sing and make music to the LORD” (Psalm 27:4-6). We offer this sacrifice not only when we are triumphant but even when we are troubled. The Lord is please when we come before him with thanksgiving regardless of our circumstances in life. We are told in Scriptures that “Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that openly profess his name” (Heb. 13:15). When we praise the Lord and thank him for blessings that are yet to be received, it is pleasing before him. This is a pleasing sacrifice because, just Like Abraham, we call the things that are not as though they were (Romans 4:17).

The sacrifice that is most pleasing before God is the sacrifice of blood. In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness. Besides, the Book of Leviticus tells us that “life is in the blood” (Lev. 17:11). This being the case, our life then is the best sacrifice to God. But how can we offer our lives when we are full of sin and that the penalty of sin is death? It is for this reason that Jesus himself had to shed his own blood for the forgiveness of our sins. His blood is the ultimate sacrifice. The apostle Peter said, “For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect” (1 Peter 1:18-19).

As we offer our sacrifices to God, let us be mindful that we do so in righteousness. The Book of Proverbs warned, “The sacrifice of the wicked is detestable—how much more so when brought with evil intent!” (Prov. 21:27) It is important then that we have the right attitude and motives when we come before the presence of God to make an offering. The Book of Ecclesiastes further warned, “Guard your steps when you go to the house of God. Go near to listen rather than to offer the sacrifice of fools, who do not know that they do wrong” (Eccl. 5:1). Therefore, let us not withhold our tears as we seek his forgiveness, and offer our sacrifice of joy and thanksgiving for the victories we already received and the one we are yet to receive. More importantly, let us offer our lives to him as a living sacrifice. Praise the Lord!