4 Minute Read + Scripture readings


Ezra 10:1-44
1 Corinthians 6:1-20
Psalm 31:9-18
Proverbs 21:3


Proverbs 21:3 (CSB) “Doing what is righteous and just is more acceptable to the LORD than sacrifice.”


The Old Testament is filled with accounts of animal sacrifices.

It’s appalling and it should rightfully be so. It was never intended to be a thing of beauty.

It was always intended to remind the worshiper of how serious their sin was in God’s eyes and that their sin required a death sentence.

Yet, it also reminded them that a gracious God made it possible for a substitute to die in the place of the sinful worshiper.

Now that Jesus, the ultimate and final sacrificial Lamb (John 1:29), has come and died for sin once and for all, “there is no longer a need for sacrifice” (Hebrews 10:18). In fact, God was so determined to end animal sacrifices that He led the Romans to destroy the Jewish temple in A.D. 70.

Yet, when Solomon penned Proverbs 21:3, the practice of slaughtering animals was essential to Jewish life.

Proverbs 21:3 (CSB): “Doing what is righteous and just is more acceptable to the LORD than sacrifice.”

However, did you notice in that verse that the LORD places a higher priority on something other than sacrifices? What did He value more?

“Doing what is righteous and just.”

Essentially, Solomon was saying that God values the act of worship (OT sacrifice). Yet, He values much more the act of pursuing holiness (being set apart for Him by complying with His words).

This wasn’t the only time God said this. In 1 Samuel, 15:22, God spoke through His prophet Samuel to a sinful King Saul:

1 Samuel 15:22 (CSB): “Then Samuel said: ‘Does the LORD take pleasure in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the LORD? Look: to obey is better than sacrifice, to pay attention is better than the fat of rams.’”

Again, while God values the act of worship (OT sacrifices), He much more values the actions of obedience and holiness (being set apart for Him).

So, let’s end by fast-forwarding to the New Testament era in which we live. The principle is the same: God values a life of obedience and holiness much more than our external, ritual acts of worship.

In fact, if we show up for worship and are going through the motions but realize that there is unconfessed, unresolved sin in our hearts, then we are to immediately stop worshiping, work to resolve the sin situation, and only then can we resume our worship. Otherwise, our worship is utterly distasteful to the Lord.

Matthew 5:23-24 (CSB): “So if you are offering your gift on the altar, and there you remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled with your brother or sister, and then come and offer your gift.”

Friend, God wants you and me to worship Him. He is actively looking for people to worship Him (John 4:23). Yet, our worship is utterly abhorrent to Him if we have unresolved sin in our hearts.

So, determine to make things right with Him today. And then, offer up your worship to the God you serve and love.