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  • Writer's pictureRMB

Who Has Given to God?

What do you get for the person who has everything?


This is the problem whenever world leaders get together. Say the president of the United States has hosted the prime minister of Canada for a few days of high-level talks. When the PM leaves, it would be discourteous not to give the president a thank-you gift. But what’s a suitable present for the most powerful person in the world, someone with no shortage of earthly resources? 

We experience a similar problem when thanking God.

We ought to worship God for all He has given us in Christ. But what worthwhile thing could we ever present? The almighty God doesn’t need our prayers, songs, or gifts. So how should we regard our gratitude to the Lord



In Psalm 50 Asaph instructs us about the true spirit of thanksgiving. In the psalm’s background is the Israelite practice of bringing a variety of gifts to God at the temple. God wanted these sacrifices, for He told His people to bring fellowship offerings, sin offerings, thank offerings, and guilt offerings.


And for their part, Israel had been scrupulous in worship. God says,


I will not rebuke you for your sacrifices

Or your burnt offerings,

Which are continually before Me. (v. 8)

 

He takes no issue with the outward form of their worship. Today, we might compare it to our liturgies being carefully fashioned, our songs well selected, and the offertory collection overflowing.

 

But something is amiss. The people think that God needed these sacrifices, that He was eager to see what they brought Him. If the people impressed Him at the temple, surely He would give success in the home, on the fields, or at war.


Yet the Lord rebukes His people. He actually has no need for human worship and does not depend on our contributions. After all, the bulls and goats that Israel brought were already His (vv. 10–11). It was all His blessing. Romans 11:35 asks,

Who has first given to Him and it shall be repaid to him?

 When God’s people thank Him, He wants more than first-rate animals or produce. He also wants more than on-key singing, faithful tithing, or copious prayer. God wants our grateful heart!

 

Think of Acts 17:24–25—“God, who made the world and everything in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands. Nor is He worshiped with men’s hands, as though He needed anything, since He gives to all life, breath, and all things.”


God here teaches us to view our acts of worship rightly and realistically.

 

Asaph therefore highlights just one sacrifice as essential: “Offer to God thanksgiving” (Ps. 50:14). Literally, he says, “make a thank offering.” According to OT law, a thank offering was offered in the context of a believer’s gratitude, when a person was grateful for deliverance from enemies or for healing or for some other answered prayer. A thank offering acknowledged to God that you were indebted to His generosity and kindness.

 

Still today, that is what God seeks: a people who are moved by His great love in Christ, and who want to love Him in return.

 

Peter says that our calling is “to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 2:5). Humbly acknowledge that you are indebted to God for all His generosity and kindness in our Lord Jesus.

 

You received a gift, you didn’t earn it—so you simply want to thank the Lord.



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