Today’s Psalm reminded me of yet another hymn I sang as a kid: “He owns the cattle on a thousand hills.”
The song talks about God’s greatness and I still quote it when speaking about fundraising for the ministry (after, all, if God owns the cattle AND the hills, He can deliver the finances we need!).
But reading the phrase in the context of Psalm 50, I get a different feel:
I will not accept a bull from your house
or goats from your folds.
For every beast of the forest is mine,
the cattle on a thousand hills.
I know all the birds of the hills,
and all that moves in the field is mine. Psalm 50: 9-11
God is saying that he doesn’t need sacrifices since he basically owns the whole enchilada. Why would he say that?
Because Israel used sacrifices – and we use religion – to negotiate with God.
“So, God, if we sacrifice to you, we’ll have good crops, right?” or “If I put you first, you’ll give me the desires of my heart, right?” or “If I tithe, you’ll bless me with more money, right?” or “If I’m a good Christian, you’ll accept me, right?”
No, can’t negotiate with God.
He doesn’t need anything we bring to the table AND He gives love without strings, mercy without need for return, and grace free of charge. We honor him when we accept his good gifts and count all his gifts (even the tough circumstances) as good.
Because, want he ultimately wants to give is Himself. And that price was paid at the Cross.
Dear Lord: Help me to open my hand to receive your gifts and stop trying to be something in order to get from you. Let me simply relax in being known by you. That’s enough. Amen.