Psalm 69:30-33 – “I will praise the name of God with a song; I will magnify him with thanksgiving. This will please the Lord more than an ox or a bull with horns and hoofs. When the humble see it they will be glad; you who seek God, let your hearts revive. For the Lord hears the needy and does not despise his own people who are prisoners.”
The cultures of the ancient near east, including Israel, were centered around a sacrificial system to please their god (the God in Israel’s case). Since the Israelite culture was based on sacrifice, God in effect said, “if you are going to sacrifice, then do it this way.” In this way, God was trying to teach them what He really wanted.
But, scripture is replete with statements that God does not desire sacrifice. The verse quoted above is just one instance. God is more pleased with praise and thanksgiving than an ox or bull, that is a sacrifice. Instead of sacrifices, God wants us in our entirety. Psalm 51:17 says, “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.” When our spirit and heart is broken, which is the sacrifice God wants, then we will give praise and thanksgiving.
God wants us to love and know Him, not give Him sacrifices. Hosea 6:6 says, “For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.”
Instead of a broken spirit and contrite heart, what sacrifice are we offering today? What is that thing we are doing for God, but without truly giving ourselves to him?