Key Passage: Psalm 50
Key Text: Psalm 50:5 – “Gather my saints together unto me; those that have made a covenant with me by sacrifice.”
There is something about the word sacrifice that makes us uncomfortable. It immediately conjures up in our minds words like pain, self-denial, costly, bloody etc. It is not a word we like much, but each day we are involved in some sacrifice or the other. You sacrifice your sleep and hours lazing around everyday you get up and go to work. We sacrifice living an extravagant life, so we can pay our children’s school fees. We sacrifice our freedom to be unaccountable and irresponsible for the joys of marriage and discovery of another person. We sacrifice hours studying so we can gain an education, degrees etc. Sacrifice is not strange to human beings and so I am not exactly sure why we shrink when God asks for sacrifice. Let me state upfront that every sacrifice has a reward. It is impossible to see sacrifice and not find a corresponding reward. It is automatic. So here is the point of today’s message.
The God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel loves sacrifice. He is a transactional God. He demands sacrifice and consequently rewards it greatly. He is also a sacrificing God. He will give whatever is required to gain whatever He needs. He gave His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ to be able to gain human beings back to Himself. Think for a moment what it must have meant to God to let Jesus go. Think about the pain of the Father. Then think about the sacrifice of Christ Himself; the scourging, the abuses, the piercing and nailing to a rugged tree. This was and remains the ultimate sacrifice. There will never be any bigger, better or more profound and rewarding than that of Jesus on Calvary.
In a sense, we do not need any more sacrifices to access God’s provisions; Because Jesus fully paid for all the blessings of God to be freely dispensed towards us. So whatever I say in this piece is not asking us to do anything other than believe in the accomplished work of the cross. So whatever we decide to sacrifice to God as New Testament believers is in direct response and appreciation to His all-fulfilling sacrifice.
Having said this, I want to state categorically, that even we the redeemed of God are expected to live a life of sacrifice. We are expected to sacrifice our praise. We are expected to sacrifice our resources. We are required to sacrifice our time and energy for the Kingdom of God. We are all called to lay our lives down for the gospel. We are called to carry our crosses daily and follow Jesus Christ. As a Christian there is no escaping sacrifice.
But there is one thing we all need to know. Wherever you see sacrifice, the glory of God is not too far away. Sacrifice always attracts the glory of God. I often hear Preachers say God cannot be bribed and I know what they mean. But believe me the bible is replete with people who provoked God into action through their sacrifice. Solomon offered God a thousand bulls and that same night God showed up and asked him, “what can I do for you?” Hannah got God’s attention, when she dedicated her unborn child to the service of God. Cornelius was visited by the angel of God and became the first gentile to enter the kingdom of God by his alms. Jesus responded to the Centurions call for help regarding his servant, because Jesus was told that the Centurion loved Israel and has built a synagogue for the Jews, Mary stirred the heart of Jesus because she sacrificed her alabaster jar of perfume as a token of worship. Jesus was so moved that He said wherever this gospel is preached Mary’s sacrifice will be remembered. Abraham had the covenant confirmed with a oath, when He agreed to offer his son Isaac as a sacrifice to God on the mount of Moriah. Though, God restrained him from killing Isaac and provided an alternative, this great act of sacrifice, proved to God that Abraham feared the Lord. Hear what God had to say about this event in Genesis 22 “He said, ‘Do not lay your hand on the boy or do anything to him, for now I know that you fear God, seeing you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me.’
And the angel of the Lord called to Abraham a second time from heaven 16 and said, By myself I have sworn, declares the Lord, because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, 17 I will surely bless you, and I will surely multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven and as the sand that is on the seashore. And your offspring shall possess the gate of his enemies, 18 and in your offspring shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, because you have obeyed my voice.
Today’s passage says, “Gather my saints together unto me; those that have made a covenant with me by sacrifice.” God sees and appreciates people of sacrifice and in this passage He calls them out for a special dispensation of His grace and favour.
Sometime in the future I will be dealing with the power of covenants and how we can enter covenantal agreements with God based on sacrifice. But today, I only want to stress one thing. If you want to see God’s glory in any area of your life, think sacrifice. God always responds to sacrifice. Those who understand this and therefore attract His glory by sacrifice always specially touch Him.
Sacrifice to God + Faith = Glory of God.
Let’s pray – Father God, thank you for reminding me of your nature. Thank you that you respond to sacrifice and you reward true sacrifice. Thank you that you have offered the greatest sacrifice to reach me and there really is no more sacrifice for the atonement of sins. Father help me to recognise the areas of my life that requires a special touch of your glory and teach me how to offer the right sacrifices to you. In Jesus name I pray. Amen.