11 To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices unto me? saith the LORD: I am full of the burnt offerings of rams, and the fat of fed beasts; and I delight not in the blood of bullocks, or of lambs, or of he goats.
12 When ye come to appear before me, who hath required this at your hand, to tread my courts?
13 Bring no more vain oblations; incense is an abomination unto me; the new moons and sabbaths, the calling of assemblies, I cannot away with; it is iniquity, even the solemn meeting.
14 Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hateth: they are a trouble unto me; I am weary to bear them.
15 And when ye spread forth your hands, I will hide mine eyes from you: yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear: your hands are full of blood.
– Isaiah 1:11-15
Have you ever given a guilt gift? You know, when you’ve offended someone and don’t really know how to make it better, so you give them a gift to express your apology.
It can be anything – an item of food, a product, or even something you make yourself.
Guilt presents are too familiar to me and I have given my fair share over the years. Guilt gifts are never the apology – the apology is spoken, but the guilt gift is for when we lack the words.
I have found guilt gifts go down pretty well with people. Solomon said that everyone is a friend to a man who gives gifts and a nicely chosen present, given at the right time can harden even the stoniest of hearts…
But there is One person for whom it will never work…have you ever tried to guilt gift God?
In Isaiah, we read how God grew tired of sacrifices. He was actually full. There was no desire to receive what He describes as ‘vain oblations’ from the Children of Israel, because the people were full of sin.
How many times have we been guilty of this? We often ignore God’s word but think we can compensate by sowing a seed or giving an offering in church.
Our hands may not be bloody, but let us check that it is not full of idolatry, pride, anger, lasciviousness, unforgiveness and rebellion.
I speak as someone who is constantly checking herself in this area, so I want to encourage you to do the same.
God doesn’t want, and neither does He need your sacrifice. If you do give to God, let it not be to compensate for some sin you are caught up in. Let it be done in liberty, with love, joy and appreciation.