Empty Sacrifices

If we are to be fruitful disciples, we must respect what God likes and dislikes. The Bible is full of words that tell us, “this is what God likes and this is what God dislikes.” God hates many things (Proverbs 6:16-19): a proud look, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked thoughts, feet that run to mischief (in other words, troublemakers), and false witnesses. There is another thing that God despises (Isaiah 1:11-14)–God despises empty sacrifices. These verses simply teach that even if you talk the talk, but don’t walk the walk, your sacrifice is empty. Often our sacrifices have no affection in them, even though we are getting fancier and fancier at church worship. We know how to sing, how to “do church,” but we don’t know how to be the church. Psalm 51:14-19 teaches that the Lord is pleased with “sacrifices of righteousness” (v. 19, KJV). We offer up our songs of praise, prayers, gifts, and service with the correct words and correct sound… but with a heart lacking in devotion. We sing “I love you, Lord” with hypocrisy filling our hearts. It’s time to read Psalm 51 with a repentant heart. “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me” (Psalm 51:10).

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SAVING MONEY is biblical… Proverbs 21:20 reads, “There is treasure to be desired and oil in the dwelling of the wise; but a foolish man spendeth it up” (KJV). Wise people save money. Why save money? Because God talks about it quite a bit in the book of Proverbs. To succeed in life, emergency funds are often needed. Saving money prepares for your future, not just for retirement. It’s there when your car breaks down. It’s there when your hot water tank springs a leak. Saving money is good stewardship.

Big expenses don’t sneak up on people. It only seems that way. Most people are not ready for big expenses when they come. We live in a world where tragedies come unexpectedly. We put the possibility of potential tragedies on the sidelines because we don’t want to think about them, and, when they come, we are broke. Wise people prepare for the future, and thereby have peace. Many churches never save money. They think it’s living by faith to have no money. When a crisis develops, there are often no funds to meet the need. Money is not necessary because it makes you happy. It’s necessary to solve problems (Ecclesiastes 7:12, 10:19). Note Paul’s advice in 1 Corinthians 16:1-3, “On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with your income, saving it up, so that when I come no collections will have to be made” (v. 2, NIV). Many people dream that they are swimming in an “ocean of plenty” when they bring home a big paycheck, but when a crisis comes, that unexpected bill drives them up on the beach and they find themselves on the “shores of nothing.” The most dangerous time in your life is when you do not have a need: self-sufficiency settles in, smugness fills your heart, your faith becomes unused, and you have nothing when your trial comes. Wise people save money. God’s Word says so.

Pastor George Belobaba

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