Summary: Not all gifts bring God delight. What could possibly make it so that God would not take pleasure in what I try to do for Him?
OPEN: (I went up on podium with t-shirt and tie that my two children had bought me for my birthday)
A week ago last Wednesday was my birthday.
My daughter bought me this tie (with Jesus on a blue background), and my son picked out this t-shirt (with a lion and Jesus and the message: "King of Kings"). These are nice gifts. My kids were proud to pick out special things to give me for my birthday and I was proud to wear them to JAM (our mid-week elementary school youth program) and to church.
But now - was it the gift that pleased me so much?
Did I REALLY need another tie? Heavens no. I have 20 or 30 in my closet at home - and I can only wear one at a time.
And t-shirts… I’ve got all kinds of t-shirts. T-shirts with a message on it like this one and t-shirts with paint on them.
And don’t you think that I could have gone out and bought these for myself? Well, yeah. In fact, truth be told… where do you think they got the money from to buy these gifts?
But… my children got me these gifts to please me… they wanted to make me smile.
My point is this: It wasn’t the gifts that gave me pleasure… (I didn’t really need them) it was – the attitude of their hearts. And, because their heart was right… the gift gave me pleasure.
The others sermons in this series are:
1. Irreplaceable - Genesis 1:24-31
2. Shaped to be a Servant - Ephesians 2:3-10
3. Making God Smile - Psalm 51:15-19
4. Formed to be Friends of God - John 15:9-16
5. Adopted for a Purpose - Ephesians 1:3-14
6. A Purpose Filled Love - 1 Corinthians 13:1-13
7. Purpose Driven Worship - Romans 12:1-8
8. Purpose Driven Strength - 2 Corinthians 12:1-10
APPLY: Psalm 51 introduces us to a similar idea
People (in that day) bro’t gifts to God …burnt offerings and various kinds of sacrifices to the altar. They would do this to bring pleasure to God they wanted to make God happy!
I. But the psalmist is saying something rather peculiar here…
He’s telling us that God does “not delight in sacrifice… (or) take pleasure in burnt offerings.” Ps. 51:16
But now wait a minute… didn’t God ask for these kinds of gifts to be given to Him? Well yeah. It was part of the Law. It was required by God. It you loved God then you offered up these sacrifices and offerings.
So, if their sacrifices and their gifts reflected their love for God… why was the psalmist telling them that God does “not DELIGHT in sacrifice… (or) take PLEASURE in burnt offerings”?
I believe what he’s trying to say that God didn’t need their gifts.. AND that it was NOT the sacrifices that delighted God or gave Him pleasure. I mean… do you really think that God needed a burnt offering? Did God need cows and sheep and goats to be offered up like some kind of celestial religious barbeque?
In Psalm 50, God tells His people: I have no need of a bull from your stall or of goats from your pens, for every animal of the forest is mine, and the cattle on a thousand hills... If I were hungry I would not tell you, for the world is mine, and all that is in it… Psalms 50:9,10 & 12-13
Do you remember my telling you that I didn’t need these gifts from my kids. I have all the ties and t-shirts I could possibly need, and if I needed more… I can go out and buy them myself
That’s what God was saying. He was saying "I own the cattle on a 1000 hills – I don’t need your sacrifices." He was saying this so that they’d begin to understand that it wasn’t sacrifices that brought Him pleasure/ delight.
It wasn’t the gift…It was the heart of the giver that mattered to God.
That’s why in Ps. 51: 17 we’re told: "The sacrifices of God (the things He really does want) are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart."
In order to please God our heart must be right… but once the Spirit/heart of the giver is right… then the gift WILL give God pleasure. That’s why Psalms 51:19 goes on to say that once our hearts are right "Then there will be righteous sacrifices, whole burnt offerings to DELIGHT you; then bulls will be offered on your altar."
The gift is pleasing to GOD when our hearts are pleasing to Him
II. That brings us to our sermon series: “Purpose Driven Life”
We’ve talked (over the past 2 weeks) about how special we are. We’ve been created in the image of God. And, we have learned that God has not only created us, but He has prepared good things for us do.