Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving. The one who offers thanksgiving as his sacrifice glorifies me (Psalm 50:14, 23)
Ever wonder why God commands us to worship him?
Is it because he is some cosmic egomaniac who feeds off our admiration? Does his love cup need constant replenishing? Does his self-esteem wane? Or does he get some perverse pleasure from making his creatures do meaningless tasks?
Apparently Israel had fallen into thinking that God somehow needed the sacrifices he required of them. They had begun thinking like their pagan neighbors who believed their gods literally ate the animals sacrificed to them. But in Psalm 50, God tells Israel he doesn’t need their offerings.
I will not accept a bull from your house
or goats from your folds.
For every beast of the forest is mine,
the cattle on a thousand hills.
I know all the birds of the hills,
and all that moves in the field is mine.
If I were hungry, I would not tell you,
for the world and its fullness are mine.
Do I eat the flesh of bulls
or drink the blood of goats? (9-13)
So why did God command them to offer animals to him? They weren’t for God’s benefit, but for Israel’s. He graciously gave them the sacrifices to temporarily cover their sins so they could draw near to him and enjoy a relationship with him. The blood of the goats and bulls was to remind them that sin had to be paid for and to point to Christ’s permanent atoning blood sacrifice that was to come.
God doesn’t need our service or money or praise:
The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything. (AC 17.24-25)
All God commands us is for our good and his glory. He doesn’t need our serving or giving or worship, since he gives us life and breath and everything. When he commands us to sing or pray or love our enemies, it is for our benefit. When God commands us to give our money, it’s not because he needs it, but that we might find him to be our treasure. And in being the source of all our good and blessing he is glorified.
So sing to Jesus, serve him and his people, offer him thanks, give to the kingdom. And not only will you honor God, but you will increase your joy and pleasure in him.
Mark Altrogge has been senior pastor of Saving Grace Church of Indiana, Pennsylvania, since 1982. He has written hundreds of songs for worship, including “I Stand in Awe” and “I’m Forever Grateful.” Mark and his wife, Kristi, have five children and five grandchildren.
Find out more on his blog, The Blazing Center.