To what purpose comes there to me incense from Sheba, and the sweet cane from a far country? your burnt offerings are not acceptable…
I. THERE ARE SUCH. (Cf. text; Psalm 1.; etc.)
II. THEY MAY HAVE MANY OF THE CHARACTERISTICS OF ACCEPTABLE SACRIFICES.
1. Costly "Incense from Sheba."
III. BUT YET THEY ARE ABHORRED OF GOD. "To what purpose," etc.? (Cf. our Lord's denunciations of hypocrites.) This because
1. They lack sincerity.
2. They yield no fruit in holy obedience.
3. They cause the Name and worship of God to be hated of men.
4. They render more hopeless the true repentance of the offerer.
IV. WHEREFORE ARE THEY OFFERED?
1. Conscience will not allow men to throw off all regard for religion.
2. Custom demands it.
3. Worldly interests are served by it.
4. There is a secret reliance upon them as furthering their good before God.
V. WHAT DO SUCH FACTS TEACH US? Not to throw aside outward forms of worship: many do this on the ground of insincerity often associated with them. But to see that whilst we worship outwardly we worship also in spirit and in truth. To measure the worth of our worship by its power over our conduct. To join on all our poor, marred offerings, which is all that at the best they are, with the perfect sacrifice which Christ has offered for us all. - C.
Parallel VersesKJV: To what purpose cometh there to me incense from Sheba, and the sweet cane from a far country? your burnt offerings are not acceptable, nor your sacrifices sweet unto me.