Before Jesus Christ came, His people lived under the Law He had given through Moses that served to guide, protect, discipline and bless them. As part of the Law, a series of mandatory blood sacrifices were required to atone for sin, which would one day be fulfilled by the death of Jesus Christ to atone for sin once and for all. However, there were also three optional sacrifices people could give at any time if they wanted to. One of those was the offering of thanksgiving. No where in the Bible does God ever require a sacrifice for thanksgiving, although He does ask for it, and there are no punishments or consequences for not giving one. It’s up to you to give it- or not.
However, there are multiple blessings and promises attached for those who do offer a willing sacrifice of thanksgiving. Psalm 50:14-15 & 23 say, “Sacrifice a thank offering to God, and pay your vows to the Most High, and call on Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you will glorify Me…Whoever sacrifices a thank offering glorifies Me and makes a way; I will show him the salvation of God.” See there? The heart of a sacrifice of thanksgiving is to glorify God… and He knows that. Cain’s offering wasn’t accepted by God because, while it was optional, God knew what Cain had brought was not his best. He knew it was a half-hearted attempt to fulfill an obligation, not a true sacrifice of thanksgiving. People worship for many reasons, and not all of them are good. It sounds weird, but it’s true.
No where in the Bible does God ever require a sacrifice for thanksgiving, although He does ask for it, and there are no punishments or consequences for not giving one. It’s up to you to give it- or not.
Leviticus 22:29 says, “When you offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving to the Lord, offer it so that it may be accepted.” Here, the Lord was not talking about “acceptance” in terms of heaven/hell/salvation. No. He was saying that, unlike Cain, offer your sacrifice of thanksgiving from a heart of thanksgiving. True gratitude. Gratitude is the point of origin for worship. Worship is ministry to the Lord and nothing else, from a grateful heart. Paul was saying the same thing when he wrote in Romans 12:1, “I urge you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy, and acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service of worship.” Holy = acceptable.
Thought for today
God won’t take what you won’t willingly give. God doesn’t demand your worship and He doesn’t require it. He desires it. Why? Because He desires you. What can you give to God today, willingly, of yourself? Thinking happy thoughts about Jesus, doing nice things for others, serving at church, tithing, and all those great things are not worship. Not as God defines it. He wants you to be with Him, spirit to spirit. He wants your full and complete and willing attention, just for a moment, even! He’ll take anything you’re willing to give. Sing, make melody in your heart to the Lord, lift your hands, even in the shower or at a stoplight. Kneel next to your bed for a moment and lift His name high, and thank Him for anything that comes to mind. See how easy it is to worship? What are you waiting for?! <3