“If I were hungry, I would not tell you, for the world and its fullness are mine. Do I eat the flesh of bulls or drink the blood of goats? Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving, and perform your vows to the Most High, and call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me.”
(Psalm 50:12-15 ESV)
it shouldn’t surprise us that we can’t really conceive of God as anything more than a glorified man. But “God is not a man that he should lie, or a son of man that he should repent.” (Numbers 23:19)
Here’s the main problem with the idea that we somehow have to sacrifice to God in order to placate him: God doesn’t need. We can’t really add the next word and say, “God doesn’t need.., anything.” That would lessen the reality. God doesn’t NEED. When we make an offering to God, it isn’t because of some lack in him. It can’t even be that we are making an offering to pay for our sin, because that has been taken care of by Jesus.
So the Psalm makes a suggestion I doubt most of us have thought of: offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving. Give to God simply out of gratefulness for what a wonderful God he is. The suggestion comes with an admonition that we be careful to do what we’ve told God we’re going to do. Have you ever told someone, “I’ll pray for you,” and then totally forgotten to pray? Or worse, are you in the habit of saying you’ll pray for a friend just because that’s what Christians say?
I’m not sure there’s an if-then here. “IF you offer a sacrifice of thankgiving, THEN I will deliver you.” I think God delivers us and then we glorify him. Sometimes he delivers people and the deliverance itself glorifies him.
The core of what Psalm 50 is telling us is this: God isn’t hungry. We are.