Friday, 21 August 2020
"You are not to sacrifice to ADONAI your God a cow or sheep that has a defect or anything wrong with it; that would be an abomination to ADONAI your God." (Deuteronomy 17:1, CJB)
This verse really jumped out at me. Okay, so we don't make animal sacrifices anymore, but let's look at the principle here. What does the text say? A cow or sheep that "has a defect or anything wrong with it" is an "abomination" to the L-rd. Why?
Because we are to give of our best to the L-rd - we are not to offer second-rate things that we know aren't good. Abomination is a strong word, so this tells us how strongly G-d feels about this: this isn't advice about something He doesn't really care about, this is a command because it is important!
So how can we apply this to our lives today? We still make sacrifices and offerings and give things to the L-rd. Do you only give tz'dakah if you happen to have some money left in your wallet at the end of the month? Do you only talk to the wealthy and influential people at congregation? Do you only pray when you are slipping off to sleep at night after spending hours on the Internet?
Or do you set aside time and money for G-d before you do anything else? Do you look about for who you can help most, regardless of what they can give you in return? Do you give of your best when it's your turn on the serving and cleaning rota at shul? This Shabbat, let's think about what our priorities are and ask the L-rd to show us if there are defects in our offerings.
"Likewise, good deeds are obvious; and even when they are not, they can't stay hidden." (1 Timothy 5:25, CJB)