"He who sacrifices thank offerings honors me, and he prepares the way so that I may show him the salvation of God." - Psalm 50:23
Although the death of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ has fulfilled for all time the animal sacrificial system, yet the principle of sacrifice still remains foundational to our life of daily worship to the Lord. All of the patriarchs were in the regular habit of offering costly sacrifices to the Lord, rising early to lay their gift on the altar. Noah, when coming off the ark, offered some of the clean animals as a fragrant offering to the Lord. We should never underestimate how costly this was for Noah, for the animals that were with him on the ark were the only ones alive on the face of the earth. So also David, when bringing the ark of the Covenant into Jerusalem, sacrificed a bull and a fattened calf every six steps! I can hardly imagine how costly that must have been. It was King David himself who taught us that a sacrifice is personally costly or it means nothing (2 Sam. 24:24).
The Old Testament sacrificial system provided for a wide variety of animal sacrifices, and each one teaches us an important lesson about our relationship with God. Leviticus 7:12-15 mentions “thank offerings,” which were to be given as an expression of gratitude to the Lord for all His goodness to the people. The Psalmist in Psalm 50 picks up on this concept and speaks of the powerful impact of a sacrifice of thankfulness to God: He who sacrifices thank offerings honors me, and he prepares the way so that I may show him the salvation of God (Psalm 50:23). First and foremost, it honors God to thank him for the blessing we have. It’s a way of acknowledging dependence on God, of realizing that everything we have in life comes from Him. It closes off the idolatry of Romans 1:21, which states that "Although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him…” Instead, a Christian who brings a sacrifice of thanks to God honors God as the giver of every good and perfect gift. It honors God as a loving Father, who has richly provided us with everything for our enjoyment. More than that, the Psalmist says sacrificing a thank offering also prepares the way for God to show him His full salvation. The salvation journey is a long one, an ongoing work. As the Christian keeps coming back to God in a spirit of humble thankfulness, he is prepared to see more and more of the grace of God at work in his life: For God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble (Jam. 4:6).
"As the Christian keeps coming back to God in a spirit of humble thankfulness, he is prepared to see more and more of the grace of God at work in his life: For God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble (Jam. 4:6)."
So how can we offer a sacrifice of thanks to God? First, realize that it is a sacrifice to do so. You have to stop what you’re doing, focus your mind on the blessings of God, remember them, then order your thoughts and prayers up to God for His many blessings. This takes labor of mind and body, and some people don’t really want to put in that labor. Secondly, set aside a set time to do this. Daily, in quiet times, thankfulness for God’s rich blessings should be a central part of your morning habits. Fill your minds with His many blessings—physical and spiritual, temporal and eternal. Use the Scriptures to express your thanks to God. Pour out your heart in prayer to Him.