Numbers 10:1-36; Mark 14:1-11; Psalms 51:10-19; Proverbs 15:8-10
Psalms: “God, create a clean heart for me and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not banish me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore the joy of your salvation to me, and sustain me by giving me a willing spirit. Then I will teach the rebellious your ways, and sinners will return to you. Save me from the guilt of bloodshed, God — God of my salvation — and my tongue will sing of your righteousness. Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise. You do not want a sacrifice, or I would give it; you are not pleased with a burnt offering. The sacrifice pleasing to God is a broken spirit. You will not despise a broken and humbled heart, God. In your good pleasure, cause Zion to prosper; build the walls of Jerusalem. Then you will delight in righteous sacrifices, whole burnt offerings; then bulls will be offered on your altar.” (Psalms 51:10-19 CSB)
David knew that he had a heart issue. In verse 5 of this psalm, he acknowledged that he was born with a sin nature. The only way for him to walk righteously was for God to newly create a clean and pure heart for him that was not soaked in and hardened by sin… and for God to renew his spirit into a spirit that was upright, steadfast, and willing to submit to God and obey His word, will, and ways. He knew that the key to for Him to live a bless-able life was access to God’s life-giving presence and grace-giving Holy Spirit. He also knew that sacrificing animals on the altar couldn’t accomplish what he was after. Sacrificing animals on the altar couldn’t remove his sin. The only way for him to become clean was to offer his life on the altar – to come humbled and completely broken before God, and allow God to do a renewing work in his heart and spirit. That is exactly what God does for us when we come humbled and broken before Him, acknowledging our sin and inability to make ourselves righteous, fully placing our faith on Christ’s sacrifice that redeemed us from sin, and relying completely on Christ’s resurrection power to make us new in Him. When we do that, our sin-soaked selves are put to death, and we are given new life and filled with the Holy Spirit of God. Then God, as described in Philippians 2:13, works in us to both will and do according to His pleasure.
Proverbs: “The sacrifice of the wicked is detestable to the Lord, but the prayer of the upright is his delight. The Lord detests the way of the wicked, but he loves the one who pursues righteousness.” (Proverbs 15:8-9 CSB)
Outward religious ritual without sincere and integrous inward humility and submission are detestable to the Lord. But it delights the Lord when people humble themselves before Him, trust Him completely, and lay their lives before Him in prayer. The Lord detests practices and patterns that lead people away from Him – but He loves it when people set there eyes on Him and pursue His words, will, and ways. He desires to bless us with His life, His provision, and His protection – but He won’t bless people that are constantly running away from Him. Instead, if we repent of the things that we are chasing, humble ourselves, turn, and pursue Him; He will renew us and strengthen our will and resolve to pursue Him and walk righteously.