|"What makes you think I want all your sacrifices?" says the Lord.|
|Isaiah 1:11, NLT|
You know the scene. A small child pulls a variety of
ingredients from the pantry and refrigerator--cereal, orange juice,
potato chips, bread, ketchup, and other interesting choices--and blends
them together in a bowl in hopes of surprising Mom with "dinner." When
Mom receives the "gift," how do you think she'll react? Despite the
mess, both inside and outside the bowl, I'm sure she will express
gratitude and joy, grateful for the sincere expression of love.|
But what if the child missed the point and thought the gift was more important than the motive and attitude behind the giving? And what if the child continued to make similar presentations, year after year to Mom in hopes of appeasing her and earning her love? "It wouldn't happen," you answer. "Because the mother wouldn't put up with it!"
Now check out the passage from Isaiah (1:11-13). God doesn't sound very happy with the "gifts" of his people. And that's because they had it all wrong! They had confused the animal sacrifices with the reason for making those sacrifices in the first place. So they worked hard at their religious works, and they missed the point. Did they really believe that God needed dead animals and blood? Didn't they know that, instead, he wanted their hearts?
That's the difference between "legalism" and "grace." And Christianity is all about grace. That's why Jesus came to earth, to satisfy the demands of the law, to give himself as the ultimate sacrifice, to open the way for us to come directly to our Father (see John 3:16–18).
Yet, sadly, we often continue to mix our potions and religious concoctions and miss the Savior. And all the while, like that loving mother, he is standing at the edge of the kitchen with arms wide open and the invitation: "Come to me, child. I want your love. I want your trust. I want you."