Does God delight in or disapprove of burnt offerings?


Leviticus 1:9 (also Leviticus 23:27)

He is to wash the inner parts and the legs with water, and the priest is to burn all of it on the altar. It is a burnt offering, an offering made by fire, an aroma pleasing to the LORD.

Jeremiah 6:20

What do I care about incense from Sheba or sweet calamus from a distant land? Your burnt offerings are not acceptable; your sacrifices do not please me.

Jeremiah 7:22 (ESV)

For in the day that I brought them out of the land of Egypt, I did not speak to your fathers or command them concerning burnt offerings and sacrifices.

Psalm 50:9-13

I have no need of a bull from your stall or of goats from your pens, for every animal of the forest is mine, and the cattle on a thousand hills. I know every bird in the mountains, and the creatures of the field are mine. If I were hungry I would not tell you, for the world is mine, and all that is in it. Do I eat the flesh of bulls or drink the blood of goats?

Isaiah 1:11-13

"The multitude of your sacrifices - what are they to me?" says the LORD. "I have more than enough of burnt offerings, of rams and the fat of fattened animals; I have no pleasure in the blood of bulls and lambs and goats. When you come to appear before me, who has asked this of you, this trampling of my courts? Stop bringing meaningless offerings! Your incense is detestable to me. New Moons, Sabbaths and convocations - I cannot bear your evil assemblies."


God did approve of the Israelites' offerings, when they were offered properly and sincerely, not hypocritically. What God is most concerned about is people's attitudes and actions. As stated in 1 Samuel 15:22, obedience is more important to God than sacrifice. And Jesus quoted from Hosea that mercy is better than sacrifice (Hosea 6:6, Mt 12:7).

The context of Jeremiah 6 and Isaiah 1 reveals that God didn't accept the Israelites' offerings because they were sinning and were not repentant. Jeremiah 6:16-20 shows that the Israelites were disobedient and were rejecting God's teaching. Likewise, Isaiah 1:2-4 describes the Israelites' current sins and 1:15-19 makes it even clearer as God tells the Israelites what they need to do in order to be right with him again.

Psalm 50 doesn't present a contradiction, since it merely states that God does not depend on offerings for sustenance, and the Bible doesn't say anywhere that God is dependent on offerings.

Tekton Apologetics Ministry addresses Jeremiah 7:22.

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