I am sure that Solomon, who probably authored these wise words, had heard the contrite prayer of his father David, who confessed that the sacrifice that God so desires is a broken and contrite spirit, for the king had learned that God will not reject a truly penitent and repentant heart, a heart that in turning from sin changes direction to look to the Lord.
King Saul exercised the opposite of this vital truth and learned this important lesson through the loss of his kingdom to David, as well as the loss of his life, for Samuel the prophet chastised him with the words: “To obey is better than sacrifice and to do what is right is more acceptable to the Lord than to give Him offerings and oblations.”
I am sure Solomon remembered these words passed down to him from his father, when he penned the words: “Every person’s way is right in his own eyes, but the Lord examines the hearts. To do righteousness and justice is preferred by the Lord more than sacrifice.”
There is much in Scripture that adheres to this truth, for the inner motive of a truly broken heart that recognises its own lack, poverty, insufficiency, and helplessness before the Lord, is of far greater value to the Father that the outward trappings of the life that appears to be so beautiful to the outward eye, but which can so often conceal an unclean motive and hypocritical heart.
Indeed, it is not the sacrificial acts of a man or woman who desires to be pleasing to the Lord that delights His heart, but the one that walks in spirit and truth, the one that dies to the self-life and lives to Christ, the one that looks to Jesus, the one that abides in Christ, the one that can say: “Nothing in my hand I bring, simply to Thy cross I cling.”
As we make our way in this world that is increasingly corrupt and self-serving, let us take to heart these wise words. Let us honour the Lord with our thoughts, words, and actions, from this day forth.
Loving Father, I do want to please You, but I recognise that simply trusting Your Word, applying it in my life, and looking to Jesus, is of far greater worth than anything I myself can offer You. Keep me low at the Cross, I pray, and keep me broken before You all the days of my life. In Jesus’ name I pray, AMEN.