Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The sacrifice that honors me is

I am God Most High!

The only sacrifice I want
is for you to be thankful
and to keep your word.

Pray to me in time of trouble.
I will rescue you,
and you will honor me.

But to the wicked I say:

"You don't have the right
to mention my laws
or claim
to keep our agreement!

You refused correction
and rejected my commands.

You made friends
with every crook you met,
and you liked people who break
their wedding vows.

You talked only about violence
and told nothing but lies;
you sat around gossiping,
ruining the reputation
of your own relatives."

When you did all of this,
I didn't say a word,
and you thought,
"God is just like us!"

But now I will accuse you.

You have ignored me!

So pay close attention
or I will tear you apart,
and no one can help you.

The sacrifice that honors me
is a thankful heart.

Obey me, and I, your God,
will show my power to save.

Psalm 15:14-23, Contemporary English Version

Photo by Kyle Steed. Licensed under Creative Commons.


  1. Ah, well. This is a little troubling, this choice of yours. I mean, the sentiment is what is important I suppose, but I have to say, (which I wouldn't have to say if I we weren't friends) but the wording of this passage seems so at odds with my perception of a grace-full God. I'm wondering if Jesus had time to determine whether those crooks being punished beside were worthy of his "friendship" and therefor eligible for his Father's mercy. Did Mary, I wonder, ever by extension assist in some vow-breaking, but perhaps not enough to preclude a friendship. Food for thought...

    Not trying to nitpick, as I am thankful for much myself...

  2. Mack, thanks for your comment. I was looking for Thanksgiving graphics, found the one above, and then I set out to find one or more Bible verses to match. When I ran across this jolt of a passage, I just had to post it.

    You mention the two crooks hanging on the crosses on either side of Jesus. The story in Luke 23:39-43 gives me the impression that they did end up with different fates. The one who knew and admitted he had done wrong was the one Jesus said would be joining him in heaven, right?

    The "wicked" are those who assume they have it all together, quoting the Bible, saying that God is on their side ("mention my laws," "claim to keep our agreement," "thought, 'God is just like us!") while at the same time running around doing as they please. Jesus seemed to echo that sentiment of the Psalm I quoted a lot, actually.

    One example is in Luke 11:42 and Matthew 23:23 "I've had it with you! You're hopeless... You keep meticulous account books, tithing on every nickel and dime you get, but manage to find loopholes for getting around basic matters of justice and God's love."

    Another is in Matthew 3:8-9 "Prove by the way you live that you have repented of your sins and turned to God. Don’t just say to each other, ‘We’re safe’"

    In Matthew 15:8-9 and Mark 7:6-7 Jesus quotes Isaiah: "Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you, for he wrote, ‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship is a farce, for they teach man-made ideas as commands from God.'"

    I think it's appropriate for Christians to do a gut check at the same time we give thanks.

    So here I am quoting the Bible; do I claim to obey God, and do I think that God is like me? If so, I had better take the verses above to heart. The man who admitted he was a crook had it right.


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