“You shall not sacrifice to the Lord your God, an ox or a sheep in which is a blemish, any defect, whatever, for that is an abomination to the Lord your God.”
What a verse. In this section of Deuteronomy, that’s recounting how God’s people have rebelled against him in the past and encouraging God’s people in the present as they prepare to go into the Promised Land, and we see different instructions about how God is to be worshiped. Specifically here in Deuteronomy 17:1, we see God warning his people against the temptation to be half-hearted in their sacrifices toward him, instead of giving a sacrifice that is pure and holy and without blemish, and in a sense, more costly. They will be tempted, God says, to give a sacrifice that is blemished, that is defected in some way, because that would be less costly.
God, we pray for purity in our lives, but we recognize that Jesus alone is perfect.
God says, “That would be,” and the word he uses is, “an abomination to me.” That’s strong language. God saying to his people that he is worthy of worship that is pure, and holy, and wholehearted, and costly. It just causes me to think, obviously we live under a new covenant today where we’re not offering sacrifices like this. Jesus is our perfect sacrifice. Yet, what does Romans chapter 12 tell us? “Therefore, in view of God’s mercy, let us offer our bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, for this is your spiritual act of worship.”
So how do we worship today? Not by giving pure, holy, unblemished sheep, but by giving our lives, and purity, and wholehearted devotion to God. And so, I would just ask you, based on Deuteronomy 17:1, even as this verse prompts me to ask in my own heart, where in your life, where in my life, are we giving God less than what he has asked of us? Where are we settling for impurity in our lives and our sacrifice to him? In what ways are we giving God less than wholehearted worship? In what ways are we not giving God all that he deserves in our lives?
Oh, God, you are worthy of our entire lives, as a living sacrifice before you. You are not worthy of half-hearted worship. You are worthy of all our hearts, all our souls, all our minds, all our strength, everything we have. So God, we pray that we would not hold back. God, we pray that it would be said of us what it was set of Caleb in these different stories, that we followed you wholeheartedly, fully.
God, we pray for purity in our lives. God, we pray that we would not settle for impurity. God, that we would not settle for giving you anything less than our whole selves daily before you, today in worship before you. And even as we pray this, Jesus, we praise you, because you are the perfect sacrifice. We are not perfect. We fall short in so many ways, and we praise you Jesus for dying on the cross for our sins, for being our perfect sacrifice. We rest in your sacrifice for us on the cross and your resurrection from the grave. And in light of your mercy, we pray that our lives today would be a living sacrifice to you, oh God. In Jesus name, we pray, according to this picture in Deuteronomy 17:1. Amen.