“The Lord, the Mighty One, is God, and he has spoken; he has summoned all humanity from where the sun rises to where it sets.  From Mount Zion, the perfection of beauty, God shines in glorious radiance.  Our God approaches, and he is not silent.  Fire devours everything in his way, and a great storm rages around him.  He calls on the heavens above and earth below to witness the judgment of his people‘Bring my faithful people to me — those who made a covenant with me by giving sacrifices.’  Then let the heavens proclaim his justice, for God himself will be the judge.  ‘O my people, listen as I speak.  Here are my charges against you, O Israel:  I am God, your God!  I have no complaint about your sacrifices or the burnt offerings you constantly offer.  But I do not need the bulls from your barns or the goats from your pens.  For all the animals of the forest are mine, and I own the cattle on a thousand hills.  I know every bird on the mountains, and all the animals of the field are mine.  If I were hungry, I would not tell you, for all the world is mine and everything in it.  Do I eat the meat of bulls?  Do I drink the blood of goats?  Make thankfulness your sacrifice to God, and keep the vows you made to the Most High.  Then call on me when you are in trouble, and I will rescue you, and you will give me glory.’  But God says to the wicked:Why bother reciting my decrees and pretending to obey my covenant?  For you refuse my discipline and treat my words like trash.  When you see thieves, you approve of them, and you spend your time with adulterers.  Your mouth is filled with wickedness, and your tongue is full of lies.  You sit around and slander your brother — your own mother’s son.  While you did all this, I remained silent, and you thought I didn’t care.  But now I will rebuke you, listing all my charges against you.  Repent, all of you who forget me, or I will tear you apart and no one will help you.  But giving thanks is a sacrifice that truly honors me.  If you keep to my path, I will reveal to you the salvation of God.‘” (Psalm 50)

Even before Jesus Christ our Redeemer came to the earth, the Lord made it clear to his people and to all who would listen that animal sacrifices were void of meaning when it came to matters of the heart.  The Lord Almighty searches people’s hearts, looking for even one who reveres him, loves and obeys his ways, travels his path, and is thankful for him. 

Giving thanks to God and obeying his ways should come as naturally as breathing to us, yet are such rare occurrences that God considers them pleasing sacrifices.  If we desire to make sacrifices to the Most High God, sacrifices that he will accept and that will please him, we need go no further than giving thanks and obeying his Commandments, the most important of all being that we love the Lord our God with all our heart, all our soul, and all our mind, followed by loving our neighbor as ourselves.

Jesus is the Lamb whose blood sacrifice perfectly and completely trumps all blood sacrifices set in the Law of Moses once and for all, thereby fulfilling all the requirements of the Old Covenant.  (Hebrews Chapters 9 and 10)  In Christ Jesus, we have the New Covenant where blood sacrifices are not needed at all.  Yet in the New Covenant, God’s commands remain the same and as his chosen people, we show that we belong to him when we obey his commands and give him thanks.  These actions set us apart from the wicked, from the world.  These actions are the ultimate spiritual warfare.

“But when the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees with his reply, they met together to question him again.  One of them, an expert in religious law tried to trap him with this question: ‘Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?’  Jesus replied, ‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.  A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.'” (Matthew 22:34-40)

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