God demands a sacrifice in order to forgive us. It’s not because He is some power-hungry being that wants to see humans suffer — just the opposite. By sacrificing something, God’s people looked beyond their own selfishness and learned compassion. If they could give to God, perhaps they’d learn to give to each other as well.
But as the people turned from Him, God made it clear that sacrificing material things out of traditional duty was not His original intent. They weren’t supposed to sacrifice their crops and animals to gain a ‘get out of jail free card’ for living sinful lives. So, through the prophets God tried to make it clear that He didn’t want their things. He wanted their hearts softened so they could once again learn to think of Him and of others before themselves. Micah tells the people, “He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God” (6:8).
Sometimes donating money out of our paycheck is an easier sacrifice. We can throw money at the project and let someone else do it. But to give up our self-centered, pride-filled, and judgmental human nature to serve God and others is a sacrifice. It is a lifestyle do-over. It takes commitment. It also takes a merciful God who can forgive us when we stumble. It takes a Savior who sacrificed Himself for our transgressions to show us how to act.
Dearest Lord, by your example teach us to be more just to others, knowing they are loved by you and are of worth in Your eyes. Let us prayerfully humble ourselves so we can be more open to serve. Instill in us a sense of compassion and mercy so we can truly love our neighbors. Help us to truly sacrifice the world’s ways for yours. Amen.
Go deeper — this week try to act as Micah 6:8 states. Do you notice a change in your attitude? Read To Act Justly.
Photo Credit: Elaine Casap