Verse of the Day Devotion: Hebrews 13:16
“And do not neglect doing good and sharing, for with such sacrifices God is pleased. – Hebrews 13:16
In this section, the writer of Hebrews speaks of acts that are pleasing to God. First, the sacrifice of animals does not bring delight to our God. Previously, the writer of Hebrews put it this way. “For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins. Consequently, when Christ came into the world, he said, “Sacrifices and offerings you have not desired, but a body have you prepared for me; in burnt offerings and sin offerings you have taken no pleasure.” Hebrews 10:4-6. The writer declares these two ideas in this section. One, animal sacrifices cannot take away any sins, for they were only a picture of the coming Messiah as the perfect lamb who would take away their sins. And two, God took no pleasure in them. They did nothing regarding divine justice, they only fulfilled the law as though they could atone for their own sins.
So, if a sin offering is not pleasing, what is? “He has told you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God?” Micah 6:8. Micah mentions three things God requires of us. To do justice, that is, at a minimum give everyone what is due them. To love kindness, or mercy as other translations put it, that is to show mercy, benevolence and love to others. And lastly, to walk humbly with God. These are the things that please God.
Now, these three things are found in Hebrews. First, we see the following. “Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name.” Hebrews 13:15. We are to continually offer up praise to God. This is a sacrifice from the fruit of our lips. We are to thank Him for all He has done, is doing, and will do for us. We are to express this with a thankful and humble heart for He provides all good things which we cannot provide for ourselves, especially the remission of our sins through the actual sacrifice alluded to in the Law. This is what Micah intended by walking humbly with your God. True worship and praise is done humbly and with thanks before our almighty God, recognizing His Lordship and goodness to us.
Now, notice the first four words in our focus verse. ‘Now do not neglect’. Yes, we are to give all of our thanks, praise and worship to God. However, we are not to neglect doing good to others. We are not to neglect providing for the needs of others when we have plenty. This may require giving more than we ever thought of giving, for this may be what God calls us to do. But, as the end of this verse tells us, these sacrifices offered freely are what God is pleased with. In the sacrifice of praise, we are showing our love for God. In do good and sharing with others, we are showing our love to our fellow man. In both, we are fulfilling the most important commandments God has given us. “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:29-31. These are what truly pleases God.
William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries.