Verse 8. I will not reprove thee for thy sacrifices or thy burnt offerings, to have been ever before me. Though they had not failed in maintaining his outward worship, or even if they had, he was not about to call them to account for this: a more weighty matter was now under consideration. They thought the daily sacrifices and the abounding burnt offerings to be everything: he counted them nothing if the inner sacrifice of heart devotion had been neglected. What was greatest with them was least with God. It is even so today. Sacraments (so called) and sacred rites are them main concern with unconverted but religious men, but with the Most High the spiritual worship which they forget is the sole matter. Let the external be maintained by all means, according to the divine command, but if the secret and spiritual be not in them, they are a vain oblation, a dead ritual, and even an abomination before the Lord.
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 8. I will not reprove thee for thy sacrifices; i.e., for thy neglect of them, but for thy resting in them, sticking in the bark, bringing me the bare shell without the kernel, not referring to the right end and use, but satisfying thyself in the work done. John Trapp.
Verse 8. I will not reprove thee for thy sacrifices or thy burnt offerings continually before me. Those words to have been, which our translators supply, may be left out, and the sense remain perfect: or if those words be continued, then the negative particle not, is to be reassumed out of the first part of the verse, and the whole read thus, I will not reprove thee for thy sacrifices, or thy burnt offerings not to have been continually before me. That is, I will not charge thee with a neglect of outward duty or worship, the inward or spiritual (of which he speaks, Psalms 50:14 ), being that which is most pleasing unto me. Joseph Caryl.
Verse 8-9. It is the very remonstrance which our Lord himself makes against the Pharisees of his days, for laying so much stress on the outward observance of their own traditions, the washing of pots and cups and other such like things; the paying of tithes of anise and mint and cummin; the ostentatious fulfilment of all ceremonious observances in the eyes of men, the exalting the shadow to the exclusion of the substance. And have we not seen the like in our own days, even to the very vestment of the minister, the obeisance of the knee, and the posture of the body? as if the material church were all in all, and God were not Spirit, that demanded of those that worshipped him that they should worship him in spirit and in truth; as if the gold and ornaments of the temple were far beyond the hidden man of the heart in that which is incorruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price. Barton Bouchier.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS