While reading in my Bible yesterday I came across Jeremiah 7:21-23, and, while God is talking to the children of Israel, it essentially says that God doesn’t want your sacrifices and rituals, He wants you to obey His voice. This reminded me of other instances in the Bible where God says something like this.
In 1 Samuel 15, Saul decided to keep part of what God told him to destroy for the purpose of sacrifice. Saul only partially obeyed, and you might even say he was giving God the leftovers. Whether Saul meant to sacrifice or not, God was not pleased with his disobedience.
On a larger scale, there are quite a few times in Israel’s history where they worshiped idols while also “worshiping” God. They would perform the required rituals and sacrifices for both. But to truly worship God you must worship Him only – He is the only God. To truly worship God, you don’t perform rituals. God doesn’t care about your rituals. God doesn’t care about your fake righteousness. God wants your obedience. God wants your heart. God wants you to love Him because He loves you.
If you want to hear something convicting about all this, go listen to a song by Keith Green called “To Obey Is Better Than Sacrifice.”