For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it; you will not be pleased with a burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise. Psalm 51:16-17
For this is what the high and lofty One says—he who lives forever, whose name is holy: “I live in a high and holy place, but also with him who is contrite and lowly in spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite. Isaiah 57:15
There is a lot of emotion that goes with the word “sacrifice”. It is something that I struggle with! The desires I have for myself are so great that many times I look right past the needs of others. Our world does not really understand the concept of sacrifice, so it is a bit counter-cultural. When it comes to worshiping God, sacrifice is a requirement. Paul says that we are to present ourselves as sacrifices that are living. That means moment by moment, but it also means that sacrificing ourselves to God is what makes us truly alive! David cries out in his psalm of repentance that the real sacrifices of God are a broken spirit and a contrite heart. This is speaking about a breaking of our pride. The sacrifices that are pleasing to God are brought with a heart of humility. It is required (Micah 6:8). See the account of Cain and Abel in Genesis 4:1-16. Through Isaiah, God reveals that the heart of the contrite (the humble) is actually his “second address”. We expect that God would live in a high and holy place but to consider that he would also live in the lowly heart of a broken and humble person is a miracle. Consider that the heart of the contrite is the heart of one made holy. Consider that the spirit that has been broken has been empowered by the Spirit of Life. So, the heart of the humble is a holy, Spirit-filled place—a temple of Almighty God. A temple that radiates his goodness and love from a deep place of adoration and awe—worship. The follower of Jesus brings not self-effort as a sacrifice. They bring a sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving for a heart of flesh that has taken the place of the heart of stone. God is approached on his terms with joy and delight. And the worship that he seeks comes from the heart of one who knows that the Father delights in his child. Joy, peace, life, light, grace, mercy, goodness, kindness, gratefulness, and satisfaction all found in the life of one who is given over to offering their body as a living sacrifice to our amazing and awesome God and Father. May you know the joy of pure sacrificial worship in your life today and every day—seek it with all your heart!!