“But giving thanks is a sacrifice that truly honors me.” - Psalms 50:23
What does God desire of me? Men have tried to answer this through the ages. Religion has always been about people trying to answer this question with their own reasoning. Liturgies of sacrifices, rituals, readings, meditations, self-flagellation, and penance have developed by people trying to please God. As sincere as they may be, these practices don’t bring our Heavenly Father honor.
In Psalm 50, the Lord declares, “all the world is mine and everything in it.” (v12b) Our God, “the Mighty One,” does not need anything from us - He is complete, whole, and sound. He owns all the cattle, birds, and animals across the earth, so He did not institute animal sacrifice because He needed them. God gave the sacrificial system to the Hebrews because it is good and points to Christ's new covenant. He says in this psalm, “I have no complaint about your sacrifices or burnt offering you constantly offer." (v8)
God is always concerned with why we do things more than what we do. It’s good to give to God, but not because He needs it. As citizens of Heaven, we give to Him because we love Him and trust Him. We recognize He is the Giver of our very breath and provision. We see God’s heart in Psalm 50:14 - “Make thankfulness your sacrifice…” God wants a relationship with you and me. He gives us everything, none of which we deserve, but do we ever thank Him? We have all thanked God at one time or another, but this is about a willful, intentional heart of thanksgiving as we walk with God day by day, moment by moment.
When I give presents to my kids, it is never with the intention that they would do something for me. I love them, and I want to bless them. If their response is one of ungratefulness and vanity, how does our relationship grow? We are not walking together and sharing together. Likewise, the Lord continues to bless us every day, and much nobler than we could ever be, He is always there to talk with us and receive us. He doesn’t accept my offering because He is running a little low this week, nor receive my worship songs because He lacks for musical expression. Jesus loves me. He wants to abide with me.
We come back to the question: what does God desire of me? Our Heavenly Father wants a relationship with us. He wants us to talk to Him, bear our souls to Him, and share our fears, doubts, joys, and successes with Him. Thankfulness opens the door of our hearts so we can abide together.
“Make thankfulness your sacrifice to God, and keep the vows you made to the Most High. Then call on me when you are in trouble, and I will rescue you, and you will give me glory.” - Psalms 50:14-15