Clean Hearts and Acceptable Sacrifices
Isaiah 1:11 "What are all your sacrifices to Me?" asks the LORD. "I have had enough of burnt offerings and rams and the fat of well-fed cattle; I have no desire for the blood of bulls, lambs, or male goats. .....15 When you lift up your hands in prayer, I will refuse to look at you; even if you offer countless prayers, I will not listen. Your hands are covered with blood. 16 "Wash yourselves. Cleanse yourselves. Remove your evil deeds from My sight. Stop doing evil. 17 Learn to do what is good. Seek justice. Correct the oppressor. Defend the rights of the fatherless. Plead the widow's cause. 18 "Come, let us discuss this," says the LORD. "Though your sins are like scarlet, they will be as white as snow; though they are as red as crimson, they will be like wool.""
God cares not for our sacrifices, our prayers and our fasting. He cares most for our hearts and soul. If our hearts be evil, then our sacrifices, prayers, and fasting will also be evil as they all flow from our inner man. If our heart be right, then these practices will also be right and pleasing to the Lord.
Therefore, before I enter into a time of sacrifice and prayer and fasting, and before I offer my sacrifice unto the Lord I must first spend time in personal examination. I must honestly examine myself from any sin and wicked way, and then judge it for what it is: sin against God. I must call it by name as I confess it to myself and then to God. If I do, then He has promised me that I will be cleansed from all of my sin (1 John 1:9). Our Lord and Savior has made it clear time and time again in Scripture (Isa. 1:11-18; 58:1-8; Matt. 5:23-24) that He does not want my sacrifices but a pure heart that results in loving Him and loving others. Without a clean heart my sacrifice, prayers and fasting are futile and even dangerous as they deceive me into a false assurance that my fleshy offerings are pleasing to God. With a clean and pure heart my prayers and sacrifices are precious to my Lord as they are pictures of my dependence on Him and are acts of true worship.
Let us each take time to examine our hearts that we may come to Christ with clean hearts and acceptable sacrifices.