This devotional is about Deuteronomy 17:1: “Do not sacrifice to the Lord your God an ox or a sheep that has any defect or flaw in it, for that would be detestable to him.”
The principle in this verse is simple: You don’t bring damaged goods to the Lord, give them to him, and call that “worship.” It is offensive to God when people try to take out the trash and call it worship.
The reason that this is “detestable” to God is that it shows a profound lack of love for the Lord. You would not give your spouse an old pair of your shoes on your anniversary. Likewise, if you love God, you will give God your best ox or sheep, not your worst. A damaged animal is worth less in the market, so it is easier, and less costly, to sacrifice that to the Lord than to give him the best animal in your flock. But that is no act of worship.
Since we don’t bring animal sacrifices to God anymore, we’re in the clear on this verse, right?
Not so fast. When you come to worship on Sunday, do you come rested and with your best attention? Or do you come late, frazzled from trying to get everyone there, and distracted by a thousand other things on your mind?
When you go to serve God, say, as a teacher or AWANA leader, are you well-prepared? Or do you think, “I can just throw something together–or throw in a DVD–and that will be good enough”?
When you see someone in our church body who has a need, do you help generously or do enough just to quiet your conscience?
When you give to the Lord’s work, do you give sacrificially and happily?
If you spend more on your cable TV & Internet service than you give to the Lord’s work each month, a passage like today’s should cause you to stop and think about what is important to you and where your priorities are.
Does your giving show real love for God and desire to advance his work?