Silence for 2-5 minutes:
If your mind wanders, silently pray a simple prayer again and again, such as, "I surrender to your love" or "Jesus, son of David, have mercy on me" until the Holy Spirit gives you a sense of peace and focus.
Psalm 40:6-10 6 In sacrifice and offering you have not delighted, but you have given me an open ear. Burnt offering and sin offering you have not required. 7 Then I said, “Behold, I have come; in the scroll of the book it is written of me: 8 I delight to do your will, O my God; your law is within my heart.”
9 I have told the glad news of deliverance in the great congregation; behold, I have not restrained my lips, as you know, O Lord. 10 I have not hidden your deliverance within my heart; I have spoken of your faithfulness and your salvation; I have not concealed your steadfast love and your faithfulness from the great congregation.
David says something very odd in this Psalm. He says that God does not delight in sacrifice and offerings. That should come as some surprise since the law is filled with instructions about all kinds of sacrifices and offerings. What in the world is God up to?
All of the sacrifices and offerings of the Old Testament are but a preparation for the one great offering of Jesus Christ. The writer to the Hebrews states that the priests under the old covenant daily and repeatedly offered the same sacrifices. Because of the repetition of the offering, it was clear that something more definitive and different was coming. All of the sacrifices of the old covenant are but shadows of the perfect sacrifice that is coming. All of the repetition of these sacrifices intensifies our longing for the coming Messiah. At just the right time, Jesus comes to us in a body, made like us, and offers Himself. Case closed! Sin is eradicated once and for all. All the sacrifices now must end.
The Father now shows us what really brings delight to his heart. It is Jesus whose ears are attuned to every word the Father speaks. It is a Son who delights to do the will of God. It is the only begotten of the Father who proclaims the good news of the kingdom.
Now the Father delights in you and me as we have been made part of the family through the sacrifice of Jesus. We emulate the Son’s life, with open ears, hearts in which his law is inscribed, mouths filled with the good news of the gospel. Our lives are not ones of the drudgery of religious repetition, but rather the delight of sonship and joyful obedience.
Are there things in your life that you are doing as part of your walk with God that he does not require? (verse 6) Ask the Lord to help you dispense of the things that are superfluous to a life of joyful obedience and delight.
O Lord, I give you thanks for coming into this world and showing what the Father desires. I give you thanks for your great sacrifice, which once and for all has eradicated sin. Jesus, I want to follow you, not in the drudgery of religious repetition, but in the delight of obedience to your will and proclamation of the good news. Amen