The Bible declares that without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sin (Heb. 9:22). Jesus confirmed this truth with His death on the cross. How, then, do we understand God’s admonition to Isaiah?
Even the most sacred acts become meaningless when we thoughtlessly perform them while living in open disobedience to God’s will. In Isaiah’s day, the sacrifices and feasts had come to be only outward forms, devoid of true devotion and righteous living. The ultimate issue in sacrifice is the attitude of the heart. Right relationship, not mere ceremony, is the goal of God’s covenant-making activity.
Nothing will ever diminish the completeness of Christ’s atoning sacrifice, but we can grieve the Holy Spirit by meaningless conformity to “performing” without genuine worship and enlightened service. Today, let us make sure our heart-attitude is right before the Father as we cry out with the psalmist, “You do not desire sacrifice … [but] the sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and contrite heart” (Ps. 51:16, 17).