Summary: All too often we give God our second best and not our first.
Genesis 4:3-7 (KJV)
3 And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the LORD. 4 And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the LORD had respect unto Abel and to his offering: 5 But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell.
6 And the LORD said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen? 7 If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.
What kind of sacrifices are pleasing to God? Many would say praise, time, ourselves and so on. They would be right. These and many more found in the bible are what God looks for in sacrifices. Not many of the ones found in the Old Testament due to the ultimate sacrifice that was given to us in through his Son are we required to follow. Simply because they looked forward to the time of Jesus Christ. Jesus himself said that mercy is preferred over sacrifice.
Matthew 9:13 (KJV)
13 But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.
Matthew 12:7 (KJV)
7 But if ye had known what this meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice, ye would not have condemned the guiltless.
We are called to give different sacrifices. In Romans 12:1 we are told that we are to be a living sacrifices.
Romans 12:1 (KJV)
1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
There may be many that we have to give up in order to do this. How we talk, what we watch, or eat. What we would like to do we may have to leave behind, at least for a while. I do not mean to say that we would have to give up everything. But some things in our lives may hinder us more than help us.
We are told to give sacrifices of praise. Hebrews 13:15-16 (KJV)
15 By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name. 16 But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.
Many times I have found that I do not want to praise God. Things of this world were taking precedence. They were coming first. But God will be pleased if we forget these things and give them to him so that we can give praise to him. I know all of us at one time or another can relate to this. We don’t feel like praising, but when we do, we forget about our cares and worries.
We are also called to give spiritual sacrifices.
1 Peter 2:5 (KJV)
5 Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.
We don’t bring sacrifices to burn any more. So what can we bring to sacrifice that will be pleasing to God? Our lives lived through following his Son Jesus. Which means that many sacrifices have to be made. We may have to follow God, instead of our parents. That party we wanted to go to, we may have to stay away from. That girl that we would like to date, may not be in our best interest. These and many, many things have to be weighed against what God has given us as rules to live by.
Bearing these many things in mind, what kind of sacrifice are you giving to God? Think about that question for a moment. God loves a cheerful giver. He loves those that will go and help the needy. He loves those that give up some time to help others. But what kind of sacrifice are you giving to God.
Numbers 18:12-13 (KJV)
12 All the best of the oil, and all the best of the wine, and of the wheat, the firstfruits of them which they shall offer unto the LORD, them have I given thee. 13 And whatsoever is first ripe in the land, which they shall bring unto the LORD, shall be thine; every one that is clean in thine house shall eat of it.
The following verse is about setting aside or bringing things for living. These were to be given for the priests and Levites so that they may eat. But take a look at what it says. It says the “FIRSTFRUITS of all thine increase”.