Give to the LORD the glory due to his name: bring an offering, and come into his courts.…
Oriental custom demands that every person seeking an audience with a king shall offer him a present. An Eastern traveller writes, "It is counted uncivil to visit in this country without an offering in hand. All great men expect it as a kind of tribute due to their character and authority, and look upon themselves as affronted, and indeed defrauded, when this compliment is omitted." For illustration, reference may be made to Saul, anxious about a present for the man of God; to the gifts, gold, frankincense, and myrrh, offered by the Magi to the infant Saviour; and to the Malagasy custom known as making "hasina." Offerings to the gods involve the heathen, oftentimes, in ruin, so exorbitant are the demands made by the priests. The psalmist is full of the idea of God as the actual, present, though unseen, King of the nation, and he is thinking of the offering as the acknowledgment of allegiance, the outward sign of loyalty. There is no idea of God's needing offerings; the psalmist thinks only of what is fitting on the part of the people. Distinguish between taking an honourable share in the support of Christian worship, and making offerings as a sign of loyalty. See under what conditions offerings are still acceptable, showing first how far the King-figure for God may be used by us.
I. OFFERINGS FOR GOD MUST BE REASONABLE. That term includes two distinct things:
There may be times when an impulsive gift is acceptable; but as a rule no proper gift can be made to God save upon due consideration of all our claims. God asks but a proportion of our time, our land, or our labour. Our care should be to get and keep an honourable proportion. There is some danger in our over-valuing mere impulsive acts. They "loom large" to our view. Whereas the man who, thoughtfully estimating his means, sets aside his offering for God, lays a far nobler gift on God's altar. It is a gift of mind, and not of merely excited feeling.
II. OFFERINGS FOR GOD MUST BE MADE TO MATCH INDIVIDUALS. Two young pigeons for a mother if she be poor. Two mites for a widow; but gold for the rich. The gift should match means and good will.
III. OFFERINGS FOR GOD MUST BE EXPRESSIVE OF OFFERED SELF. To God there can be no value in things. What he asks for, and can alone accept, is the spiritual offering of the man himself - his will, his love. This can find expression in a material offering. God will only receive the offering when it is the voice of the man. - R.T.
Parallel VersesKJV: Give unto the LORD the glory due unto his name: bring an offering, and come into his courts.