What does God REALLY desire and require from us? “Sacrifice and offering You did not desire; my ears You have opened. Burnt offering and sin offering You did not require. Then I said, ‘Behold, I come; in the scroll of the book it is written of me. I delight to do Your will, O my God, and Your law is within my heart.’” (Psalms 40:6-8)
Psalms 40 is a psalm of individual thanksgiving, and verses 1–10 clearly express King David’s thanksgiving to God. David is especially grateful for God’s redemptive grace that had delivered him from disaster and had set him on a firm foundation (v. 2). As David was analyzing what God actually desires or requires from him in return, he arrived at the conclusion that God does not desire sacrifice or offering, nor does He require either a burnt or sin offering. Instead, what God desires is obedience to do His will as a result of hiding His Word in the heart (v. 8).
The above text verses are clearly messianic as the writer of Hebrews employs this passage as the language of Jesus Christ when He came into this world (see Heb. 10:5–7). Although God had instituted sacrifices and offerings for the nation of Israel, they never represented His ultimate intention. Recognizing the inherent weakness of burnt offerings and sin offerings, God instead opened the ears of His beloved Son, who was willing to hear and obey the will of His Father. This led Him eventually to His gruesome death on the cross (Phil. 2:5–8; Heb. 12:2). Jesus delighted to do His Father’s will because God’s Word was in His heart (John 4:34; 8:29). If we too will delight in God’s Word, then we will delight to do God’s will as well (see Ps. 1:1–3).
Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God (John 1:36), thus presented Himself as the body and blood sacrifice for humankind, an absolute necessity for the remission of sin once and for all (Lev. 17:11; Heb. 10:9-10). Jesus Christ is the sacrifice for sins that God had appointed, and in His death, He fulfilled all the Old Testament sacrifices. His one sacrifice has settled the sin question once and for all—forever! Jesus Christ offered Himself with wholehearted delight to do the will of His Father that was inscribed in His very heart!
Today, God takes great joy in those who cheerfully do His will. We should understand that the will of God means believing Christ (John 6:40), and includes sanctification (1 Thess. 4:3), giving thanks to God (1 Thess. 5:18), doing good (1 Pet. 2:15), and suffering for doing the right thing (1 Pet. 3:17). The Bible is God’s will for us today that must be applied practically to our lives (Deut. 29:29). The Bible has commands for us to obey, principles for us to follow, things for us to avoid, and people of faith for us to imitate (see Hebrews 11). We should have an attitude of delightful desire to do God’s will just as Jesus had during His earthly life!
Let us understand that even today, God speaks through His Word to those who care and prepare themselves listen to from their hearts. We should be able to hear from God as He will open our ears (v. 6). Our ears should be cleared from all the background noise of this world that comes to us in the form of the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life (1 John 2:15-17). We should turn our hearts to God in full devotion keeping our ears open to Him so that we are sensitive to hear His voice when He speaks to us. In fact, when He speaks, He will put His Word in our hearts so that we can learn from Him to delight in His will. When we know the will of God, we will live in conformity to His revealed will in His Word as well.
So, what does God really desire and require from us? It is our intense delight to do His will every day. We should obey God’s Word from our heart and choose to live a life of disciplined obedience as God’s servants. Above all, we should offer our bodies as a living sacrifice to God so that He will reveal His good, acceptable and perfect will in our lives.