6 In sacrifice and offering you have not delighted, but you have given me an open ear. Burnt offering and sin offering you have not required.
7 Then I said, “Behold, I have come; in the scroll of the book it is written of me:
8 I delight to do your will, O my God; your law is within my heart.”
121Jesus was never concerned about outward appearances. The Pharisees were always visibly doing the “right” things, but Jesus never said, “Hey, you guys look good. I really like your tassels!”
Instead, Jesus often criticized the Pharisees for their very public demonstrations of piety (Mt. 6:1-6). David said in Psalm 51:17, “the sacrifices God desires are…a humble and repentant heart.” The same is true for us. When we are caught in sin, the easy thing to do is to say we’re sorry, but God desires our hearts. God wants us to recognize the sin in our hearts and turn to Him. Whether our repentance was all for show will eventually be revealed by the fruit that it produces in our hearts.
Rather than running into the temple and offering sacrifices and announcing his repentance, David ran to God in prayer and confessed his heart’s desire: “I want to do what pleases you, my God.” David did go on to proclaim God’s justice, reliability, and deliverance publicly (vv. 9-10) but these acts were not in an attempt to prove that he was truly repentant. These public acts of worship were more likely motivated simply by a desire to delight in the mercy and goodness of God. This can be seen in David’s desire for others to acknowledge God’s grace and praise Him for it (v. 3, vv. 9-10). David isn’t trying to prove anything; he simply worshiped the Lord (v. 16).
Like David, our repentance isn’t measured by how many rules we follow or sacrifices we make; our repentance is measured by how well we love God and people—both outcomes of a heart transformed by Jesus Christ.
• Why did David say that God does not delight in sacrifices and offerings? What does that tell us about the kind of repentance that pleases God?
• How should the sacrifice of Jesus impact the way we respond to the sin in our lives?
• Thank God for the once-and-for-all sacrifice of Jesus and the way it changes the way you understand your own sinfulness and relate to Him in light of it. Ask Him to give you the courage and freedom to offer true heart repentance for the sins in your life.