October 6, 2022

What Does God Delight In?

Written by Tripp Prince

It is possible to keep all the rules and still entirely miss the point.”

Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – October 6, 2022

For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it;
    you will not be pleased with a burnt offering.

The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
    a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise. Psalm 51:16-17, ESV

In the Old Testament, Jewish sacrificial practices were an elaborate system through which they sought the favor and protection of God, hoping to turn him back from his anger and instead receive an outpouring of mercy and grace. As generations passed and these habits became more and more engrained in their way of living, so too did they learn to relate to God in a distant and transactional way. We do this for you, you do that for us.

This sacrificial system reminds us today of a great truth of the spiritual life: it is possible to keep all the rules and still entirely miss the point. 

As Christians who no longer observe the sacrificial practices of the ancient Israelites, we do not run the risk of thinking a burnt offering is the key to favor with God. Yet when we replace that burnt offering with rigid perfectionism or a moralistic heart, we continue in that very same spirit of old. It is all too easy to fall into the trap of thinking that the primary thing God desires from us is perfection in thought, word, and deed. Here David’s witness of old is most illuminating. 

David, by no means a model of perfection, still understood something of the true nature of God’s heart towards humanity. “A broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise” (Psalm 51:17). Though we are called to be like God in our words and actions, our Lord knows that we are weak and frail creatures who will daily fail to live the lives we long to live. This is not a surprise to God! Yet the true failure is found in our inability to see our sickness and call it by name. 

As a dad of young children, I have countless times encountered them at their worst: deceiving, lying, and raging toward a sibling, a parent, or both! And though not as frequently as I’d hope for, I have at times seen my kids in these moments become suddenly aware of their actions and the impact they are having on those around them and upon themselves. While not dismissing or excusing their behavior, a child’s sincere contrition and sorrow over their sins is enough to immediately melt even the hardest parental heart!

This childlike sorrow over sins is an attitude of the heart that I long to cultivate in my own life. Not shame, mind you, but sorrow that leads to repentance, sorrow that knows the loving heart of God. This is a humility that leads to healing and a contrition in which God delights.


Father, give me sorrow for my sins, not for my shame or condemnation, but a sorrow that teaches me to return to you, for in you alone do I find my rest and true home, through Christ our Lord. Amen.


Pray this simple prayer throughout the day today: “Lord, give me sorrow for my sins.”

Related Reading

Isaiah 35:10; 2 Corinthians 7:9-10; Revelation 21:4

Worship Resource

Phil Wickham and Matt Maher: Lord, I Need You


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