I often ask God to help me do those things that will please Him.  I encourage my kids to act in such a manner to their authority, their friends, and one another that they please God.  I want our church to be a covenant family that pleases God.  But, what pleases God?  It is not first and foremost our outward actions.  It is a humble heart that is broken over sin and rejoicing in our merciful Savior to the point that all we can do is sing aloud of His righteousness, declare His praise, and tell other sinners of His grace.

In Psalm 50, God tells Israel that He is not rebuking them because they are failing to bring Him sacrifices.  Rather, His judgment is on those who bring Him sacrifices like they are an end in and of themselves.  No, God says, for He could get any bull or goat that He wanted.  Rather, the sacrifice He is concerned about is a sacrifice of thanksgiving and a people who glorify Him by seeking His salvation.  On the other hand, He is sickened by the ways of those who  recite His statues and take covenant with their lips, but who hate discipline and cast off His words; who keep company with the wicked; and whose tongues are used for evil, deceit, and slander.  (I encourage you to read Psalm 50 this week)

I read this and I think how far off base I often am in the way I think about what pleases God.  How many of us are guilty of reciting God’s words with our lips, but despising His discipline in our lives, and using our tongues during the week to speak evil?  Do we think we can please God by speaking and singing His Word on Sunday and then living with a self-seeking heart of pride during the week?

God delights in humble hearts that desire to exalt His name,  whether in times of corporate worship, in our workplace, or in the solitude of our home.  This is the testimony of His Word:

For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it; you will not be pleased with a burnt offeringThe sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.

With what shall I come before the Lord, and bow myself before God on high?  Shall I come before Him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old?  Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousand rivers of oil?  Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the in of my soul?  He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of  you but to do justice, and to love kindness [steadfast love], and to walk humbly with your God. (Micah 6:6-8)

But He gives more grace.  Therefore it says, God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.  Submit yourselves therefore to God.  Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.  Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.  Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.  Be wretched and mourn and weep.  Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom.  Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will exalt you. (James 4:6-10)