Psalm 4:5 - A Right Sacrifice
[Psalm 4:5 NASB] Offer the sacrifices of righteousness, and trust in the Lord.
The ESV says, offer right sacrifices and put your trust in the Lord. A sacrifice that is right will always be righteous, as long as we use Gods Word as the only definition for what is righteous.
Today we want to look at the concept of "right sacrifices." The Hebrew word for "sacrifices" is korban that comes from the root word korav meaning to 'draw near,' specifically, to draw near to God. Under the Levitical system of worship in the Tabernacle/Temple, offerings, (korbanot, the plural of korban) were provided as a means to bring someone who was away from God near to Him again (credit John J. Parsons, Hebrew4Christians.com).
The sacrificial system set up by God in the Old Testament was not just a means of forgiveness of sin… as a matter of fact, the vast majority of sacrifices were not related to atonement for sin…Korbanot are brought purely for the purpose of communing with God and becoming closer to him. Also, they were brought for the purpose of expressing thanks, gratitude, and love to God.
The Jews had five main sacrifices or offerings. Here is a very abbreviated version of those sacrifices:
Burnt Offering-Voluntary, primarily an act of worship. Also could be for "unintentional sin."
Grain Offering-Voluntary, for expressing thanksgiving to God for His provision and goodwill. Drink Offering could also be a part of this.
Peace Offering-Voluntary, generally worship of God and a celebration of being near or drawing close to God. The Wave Offering sometimes called the Heave Offering, was also a part of this as the offering was lifted over the altar.
Sin Offering-Mandatory, for sin and to cleanse from defilement.
Trespass Offering-Mandatory, for unintentional sin that required reimbursement to an offended party.
You can see that these Sacrifices/Offerings were primarily to draw people close to God so they would trust Him and keep Him in their everyday lives.
King David understood that 'right sacrifices' were the expression of-not the means to-genuine trust in the Lord. (Credit John J. Parsons, Hebrew4Christians.com)
Many Old Testament prophets talked about the fact that the sacrificial system was intended to draw the hearts of the people to God.
[1 Sam 15:22 NASB] "Has the Lord as much delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed than the fat of rams.
[Mic 6:6-8 NASB] 6 With what shall I come to the LORD and bow myself before the God on high? Shall I come to Him with burnt offerings, with yearling calves? 7 Does the LORD take delight in thousands of rams? In ten thousand rivers of oil? Shall I present my firstborn for my rebellious acts, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? 8 He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?
[Joe 2:12-13 NASB] 12 "Yet even now," declares the LORD, "Return to Me with all your heart, and with fasting, weeping and mourning; 13 and rend your heart and not your garments." Now return to the LORD your God, for
He is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger, abounding in lovingkindness and relenting of evil.
Drawing near to God is the vertical component of our relationship. Our standing with God will always be connected to how we treat others, the horizontal component. On many occasions, Jesus' teaching was trying to get people back to a Godly understanding of the relationship between all those we encounter in this life.
Listen to what He says in the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5:23-24. Let's get some contextual background first:
He has just taught the crowd the Beatitudes, then He talks about them being the salt of the earth, and letting their light shine BEFORE MEN so they would see your good works…and give us praise or honor?? Absolutely not…Jesus says men should glorify God when they see His children doing what He says.
Then He tells them He didn't come to abolish the Law or the Prophets, but to fulfill it. Keep in mind here that He had been accused by the scribes and the Pharisees of trying to do away with their Law. Jesus says that those who would try to do away with it and teach others to do away with it, would be called the "least in the Kingdom of Heaven," but whoever does them and teaches them will be called "great in the Kingdom of Heaven." Then He really throws them a curve here. He says that if their righteousness doesn't exceed that of the scribes and Pharisees, that you are never going to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.
WHAT?! The Jews in that crowd would have thought the scribes and Pharisees were the most devout people they knew. They were seen as following God to the letter, and Jesus has just said that following their teaching would not get you to Heaven! He went on to explain…
[Mat 5:23-24 NASB] 23 Therefore if you are presenting your offering at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your offering there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering.
Are you aware that you cannot love God without loving others? Let's look at what Jesus said in 1 John 4.
[1 Jo 4;19-21 NASB] 19We love, because He first loved us. 20 If someone says, "I love God," and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen. 21 And this commandment we have from Him, that the one who loves God should love his brother also.
We can certainly see where "right sacrifices" and loving others go hand in hand. I am sure that Jesus' teaching on the Law and the prophets and loving others was certainly not popular with the religious leaders of the day. However, we read a very intriguing story in Mark 12 about a scribe who seemed to understand what Jesus was teaching clearly.
[Mar 12:28-34 NASB] 28 and one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he (Jesus) answered them well, asked him, "Which commandment is the most important of all?" 29 Jesus answered, "The most important is, 'Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.' 31 The second is this: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no other commandment greater than these." 32 And the scribe said to him, "You are right, Teacher. You have truly said that he is one, and there is no other besides him. 33 And to love him with all the heart and with all the understanding and with all the strength, and to love one's neighbor as oneself, is much more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices." 34 And when Jesus saw that he answered wisely, he said to him, "You are not far from the kingdom of God." And after that, no one dared to ask him any more questions.
In conclusion, we see that our relationship with our Loving Father should not only influence every aspect of our lives; it should be our life.
In light of mercy and Jesus' teaching, what sacrifice does God require of you?
What does it mean to "love your brother as yourself?
How close are you to the Kingdom of God?