Christianity 201

February 21, 2014

Jesus, What Can I Give, What Can I Bring?

I will offer up my life
In spirit and truth,
Pouring out the oil of love
As my worship to You.

In surrender I must give my every part;
Lord, receive the sacrifice
Of a broken heart.

Jesus, what can I give, what can I bring
To so faithful a friend, to so loving a King?
Savior, what can be said, what can be sung
As a praise of Your name
For the things You have done?

Oh my words could not tell, not even in part
Of the debt of love that is owed
By this thankful heart.

You deserve my every breath
For You’ve paid the great cost;
Giving up Your life to death,
Even death on a cross.

You took all my shame away,
There defeated my sin
Opened up the gates of heaven
And have beckoned me in.

Jesus, what can I give, what can I bring
To so faithful a friend, to so loving a King?
Savior, what can be said, what can be sung
As a praise of Your name
For the things You have done?

Oh my words could not tell, not even in part
Of the debt of love that is owed
By this thankful heart.

Matt Redman’s song, I Will Offer Up My Life has been one of my all time favorites since I heard it the first time at a Christian summer camp. But I hadn’t thought of it lately until I found this verse, the first part of Micah 6:6:

What offering should I bring
when I bow down to worship
    the Lord God Most High? (CEV)

What must I bring when I come to meet with the Lord?
    What must I do when I bow down to God above? (ERV)

 Wherewith shall I come before the Lord, and bow myself before the high God? (KJV)

How can I stand up before God
    and show proper respect to the high God? (Message)

What can we bring to the Lord?
    What kind of offerings should we give him? (NLT)

With what should I approach the Lord
        and bow down before God on high? (CEV)

I’ve included several translations of the one phrase this time, each slightly different and each gives us pause to think about this rhetorical question. Of course, there is nothing of earthly value — things that would have worth to us — that is not already his to begin with.

The passage continues to ask questions,

6b 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 olive oil?
Shall I offer my firstborn for my transgression,
    the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? (NIV)

and then answers the rhetorical question,

Human being, you have already been told
what is good, what Adonai demands of you —
no more than to act justly, love grace
and walk in purity with your God. (CJB)

No, O people, the Lord has told you what is good,
    and this is what he requires of you:
to do what is right, to love mercy,
    and to walk humbly with your God. (NLT)

In another song, The Heart of Worship, the same songwriter, Matt Redman writes these lines:

I’ll bring You more than a song
For a song in itself
Is not what You have required
You search much deeper within
Through the way things appear
You’re looking into my heart.

God doesn’t want our material offerings, he wants us to do justice, love mercy, walk humbly; all of these are attitudes of the heart. Dare I say that if our righteousness is as filthy rags, sometimes our offerings may not be much better. Our best may be pursuing justice, pursuing mercy, striving to attain humility.

At this point, someone will ask, ‘Then where is God’s own justice satisfied?’ The answer is, simply, ‘Jesus.’

Heb. 10:11 Under the old covenant, the priest stands and ministers before the altar day after day, offering the same sacrifices again and again, which can never take away sins. 12 But our High Priest offered himself to God as a single sacrifice for sins, good for all time. Then he sat down in the place of honor at God’s right hand.

Really, if you want a test case, the best one is this: If you can bring it to God, carrying it in your hands, it’s probably not what he wants. As to satisfying the requirements of the law, the test case is: Your standing before God is not based on anything that you do, but is based on what he has done for you.