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Trying to bribe God

"If I were hungry, I would not tell you, for the world and its fullness are mine. Do I eat the flesh of bulls or drink the blood of goats? Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving and perform your vows to the Most High, and call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify Me." (Psalm 50:12-15)

God is not at all dependent on His creation, including us. He doesn't feel hunger, but even if He did, He would not need to ask us to provide Him food. It all belongs to Him. The sacrifices that the people of Israel offered were not for the benefit of God. The sacrifices were to atone for the sins of the people and to be in right relationship to God. But if the sacrifices were given as bribes, as if God could be bought off, not only were they not pleasing to God, but they were offensive.

No, God was not interested in sacrifices for the sake of sacrifices. Instead, He wanted thanksgiving from His people, genuine thanksgiving and not just lip service. He wanted them to devote themselves to Him. He wanted them to call out to Him in times of need. And He would deliver them for their good and for His glory.

We, too, need to recognize that God is not One with whom we can bargain. We see this kind of thing all the time: "God, if you do this, then I will do this for You." You can give nothing to God that didn't come from Him to begin with. Nothing you can do for Him could add anything to Him. Thus, we can't bargain with God, bribe God, or blackmail God. We could try, but we'd look quite foolish indeed.

God wants our hearts. He wants our thanksgiving, our devotion, our dependence. He wants to deliver us, and He wants us to glorify Him.

We fall short of this all the time, and thus we deserve God's judgment. But there is One who did not fall short of this. There is One who served His Father wholeheartedly and perfectly. His name is Jesus Christ. And after living this perfect life of thanksgiving, devotion, and dependence, giving all glory to His Father, He died on the cross for sinners like you and me. And whoever believes in Jesus will not perish for their sins, but instead be given eternal and abundant life with God.

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