Day 18: It's the Thought that Counts... Isn't It?


The LORD said to Moses, "Speak to Aaron and his sons and to all the Israelites and say to them, 

"If any of you - either an Israelite or an alien living in Israel - presents a gift for a burnt offering to the LORD, either to fulfill a vow or as a freewill offering, you must present a male without defect from the cattle or sheep or goats in order that it may be accepted on your behalf. Do not present anything with a defect, because it will not be accepted on your behalf.'"

Leviticus 22:17-20, NIV 


If you have read every chapter thus far, it is quite possible that you are reading things that you have never read before, and therefore were previously unaware that they were even in the Scripture. If so, you may have been surprised to discover that when it comes to serving God that it is not merely the thought that counts, but it is also the action that accompanies the thought.


This may be particularly odd to those of us who grew up with the manta, "It's the thought that counts". Clearly, God expects something more than just good intentions.


Some will look at the idea that a sacrifice could be unacceptable as unfair or harsh, but it is really not when you think about it.


For example, How many of us would let an untrained "good Samaritan" operate on our heart just because they had good intentions? Or allow a novice to take us for a spin in an airplane?  Or let a well-meaning child of seven invest our life savings?


We might say that these things are different, that they involve our money, our safety and our very lives, but God is serious about doing His things His way, because His things have eternal consequences. Even in the case of a freewill offering, He expects the offering to be done right or not at all. 


One of the reasons that we read the Old Testament even though we are no longer under its rules and regulations and obviously do not sacrifice animals as offerings to Him anymore, is because it reveals to us eternal principles in regards to how God wants to be treated. And when it comes to the sacrifices that we make during our day and age, He still expects our very best or we don't even need to bother. And while the thought is, of course, of vital importance, our modern day sacrifices still need to be done in the right way. 


 Why? Because He is God and He is holy. God put it this way, when speaking to the people through His prophet, Malachi:


"When you bring injured, crippled or diseased animals and offer them as sacrifices, should I accept them from your hands?" says the LORDS. "Cursed is the cheat who has an acceptable male in his flock and vows to give it, but then sacrifices a blemished animal to the LORD. For I am a great King" says the LORD Almighty, "and My name is to be feared among the nations." Malachi 1:14, NIV


Today is the eighteenth day of the Thirty Day Challenge to read through the Books of Moses, with Leviticus 22-27 being the readings for the day. May God bless you richly as you seek to find what is pleasing to Him and then as you purpose in your heart to do it!


If this offends you, then consider this: He is God! We would not come before someone of great importance with a shoddy gift if we could do better, and God is the One of greatest importance that we will ever approach. Only the best will do, so let us learn this vital lesson of giving our best effort whenever we come before God!