August 8, A Surrendered Heart

Today’s reading: Psalms 36-40

“Sacrifice and offering you did not desire—but my ears you have opened—burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not require. Then I said, ‘Here I am, I have come—it is written about me in the scroll. I desire to do your will, my God; your law is within my heart’” - Psalm 40:6-8.

The sacrifice mentioned in today’s passage is not doing something you don’t want to do or giving something you don’t want to give. It refers to the animal and plant offerings made as part of the worship experience of an Old Testament. You can feel spiritual when you go to church, of when you do make a “sacrifice” — something that you designate as holy that is for God’s use or purpose. Yet the psalmist was clear that isn’t what God desires. He wants all of you and not some part of who you are or what you have. He doesn’t require external pious acts, but rather a heart condition of surrender that leads to willing, righteous acts. When that is present, the dynamic explained in Isaiah 50:4 is also present: “The Sovereign Lord has given me a well-instructed tongue, to know the word that sustains the weary. He wakens me morning by morning, wakens my ear to listen like one being instructed.” Do you delight in religious acts that are under your control — doing them when you want as you want? Or is your goal a surrendered heart that leads to daily instruction of what to do today based on what you hear from the Lord? Lord, I like the concept of waking up every morning to hear Your voice. From this time forward, that will be my goal. I will listen for Your instructions for the day ahead of me. What’s more, I will journal what I hear so I don’t lose track of it as I engage my day.