Psalm 50:9-10
I will not accept a bull from your house
or goats from your folds.
[10] For every beast of the forest is mine,
the cattle on a thousand hills.

You cannot give what you do not own or possess. To do so is to be a thief and a liar. What would be even worse lying and thievery and no small amount of hubris would be to give something to someone that was his. And the very height of this lying, thievery and pride would be to give back to someone as a gift what he had loaned to you to use for him. Suppose he wanted his lawn mowed and gave you his lawn mower to get the job done and afterwards, in an act of great charity, you offered to let him use your lawn mower some time. Or a friend lends you money and when you pay him back you tell him that this is a gift to him because you value his friendship so much. He might just be excused for pointing out to you that this is not a gift, because it is his money, his lawn mower. It would really add insult to injury if we wrapped it up and made it look pretty and told others about how to do this kind of thing really well. Most of us cannot imagine ever being so thoughtless and selfish as to do such a thing as pretend that what someone else owns is really ours and then have the gall to make ourselves look generous by offering it back to the owner as a gift. But we do it with God all the time. We “give” him our time, our money, our talents. Well how nice. We must be very mature in our faith to part with our things so willingly for the Lord. Except that we have no time, or money, or talents. They all belong to Him.

This is what Psalm 50 is getting at when God speaks in verses 9 and 10 when God says

[9] I will not accept a bull from your house
or goats from your folds.
[10] For every beast of the forest is mine,
the cattle on a thousand hills.

God is not impressed by what we offer Him. It’s His. Money? He gave us whatever money we have, for our health, the health of those we are responsible for, the good of the needy, the glory of God. The gifts we have are, well, I think they are gifts. They are not earns. He gave us whatever talents and abilities we have. They are in fact, His. He gave them to us to be used for Him. We do not “give” them to God as a gift from us. We use them for God because neither the gift or us are ours. We offer them up to God understanding that He is the reason we have whatever we have.

1 Cor. 4:7 – For who sees anything different in you? What do you have that you did not receive? If then you received it, why do you boast as if you did not receive it?

We belong to Him. We are His servants, His bond slaves, His possession.

Acts 17:24-25 – The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man,  [25] nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything.

In Psalm 50, what the people are trying to give to God and which God says He will not accept, are the animals they bring for sacrifice. Of course bringing animals for sacrifice was not their idea. It was God who set the whole sacrificial system into place. (All, as a picture of Christ).

So then we have a God who commands they sacrifice and when they do He refuses to accept them. What kind of God is that? It’s the kind of God who said from the very beginning that the form should never be confused with the reality. Israel has gotten to the point where they are confusing the two.

It is one of the most common mistakes made in Christian circles. We think we have gone to church simply because we have entered a building. Or that we have worshipped because we sang and prayed and listened. Going through the motions is easy. Having the right heart as the driving force is quite something else. From Cain to Laodicea we encounter the problem of heartless worship. It does what it does, thinking that it has something to offer to God. “This is mine and I am giving it to God.” But that is not what God wants. He frees us from such idolatrous thinking and then tells us what is really required

[14] Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving,
and perform your vows to the Most High,
[15] and call upon me in the day of trouble;
I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me.”

This is stunning. While we are so busy trying to give things that are not ours to God, He comes and says – be thankful, keep your vows (be truthful, give me your heart), and ask me to help you. Now there is real worship. Thankfulness, the giving of the heart, and dependence upon a lavishly giving and all powerful God. This is so much better than the performance mode we so easily fall into. It is liberating. It feeds the soul. It leads to real service free of fear and competition, judgmentalism and self righteousness. It takes the focus off us and puts it where it belongs.

Look at the cycle here – thank God for what He does for us; serve God in the grace and power He supplies; and in the day of trouble call upon Him to help you. When He helps us what will we do? We will thank Him. Thanks, obedience, dependence. What God calls us to do is simply so much better than what we ever will devise ourselves.

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