“In sacrifice and offering you have not delighted, but you have given me an open ear. Burn offering and sin offering you have not required. Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come. In the scroll of the book, it is written of me: I delight to do your will, oh, my God, your law is within my heart.’ I have told the glad news of deliverance in the great congregation. Behold, I have not restrained my lips, as you know, oh Lord. I’ve not hidden your deliverance within my heart. I have spoken of your faithfulness and your salvation. I have not concealed your steadfast love and your faithfulness from the great congregation.”
These verses give us a picture from the very beginning of the sacrifices and offerings, the system that God had set up among his people in the Old Testament to atone for, to cover over sin. That the price of sin, death, might be paid through this sacrifice, this offering, and the wrath and judgment of God averted among his people. But we know, and the book of Hebrews later makes clear, that these sacrifices all throughout the Old Testament were ultimately insufficient to pay the full price for people’s sin against God.
Only Jesus is qualified to bear the weight of our sin as a substitute. Through His perfect sacrifice on the cross we are welcomed into the presence of God.
But that is the beauty. Even as Psalm 40 talks about one who delights to do the will of God, the law of God written on their heart. This is a description of the one who could be a perfect sacrifice, a perfect offering for us. This is the beauty of what we celebrate at Christmas, that Jesus has come and his delight was to do the will of God perfectly, without error, without sin. The law of God written on his heart and obeyed in his life completely in a way that was ultimately and perfectly pleasing to the Father. And in this way, he alone could then be a sacrifice for sinners, could offer his life on a cross to pay the price for sin. If he had sin in his heart, he could not die for sinners. The beauty of the Bible and what Psalm 40 and all the Old Testament are anticipating is one who will be a perfect offering, a perfect sacrifice on behalf of sinners.
So, we bow and we pray. Lord Jesus, all glory be to your name, for you are the perfect sacrifice, the perfect offering for sinners like us. Lord, we do not perfectly do your will. We do not perfectly obey your law written on our hearts, but we praise you, Jesus, for doing what we could not do, for living the life we could not live, and then for dying the death we deserve to die on the cross for us. So, Jesus, we praise you for your perfect sacrifice for us, and now, by your sacrifice for us, by the forgiveness of our sins, by the power of your presence, your spirit in us, we pray that you would help us to walk with you today. Help us to delight in your will, your law written on our hearts. Help us to enjoy your law, obedience to your law, deliverance from sin that you have made possible in our hearts based on your faithfulness and your salvation, your steadfast love for us. All glory be to your name, Jesus, for coming, for paying the perfect price: sacrifice, offering your life for our sin so that we might have life today in you. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
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