Of Cakes and Peace Offerings

So the intern’s been plying us with cakes and chocolates. Not just any old pandan sponge cake from the neighbourhood bakery, but  jazzed-up pieces from his kitchen. Tiramisu, matcha cream cake, chocolate cream cake with a thin wafer base, chocolate shell filled with ganache and caramel… All very delicious, all very complex. And very unwanted.

We simply couldn’t understand it. Here he was, following recipes to the T (bake stuff needs absolute precision), but unable to perform simple tasks at work. And when his mistakes were found out, he’d come in the next day with cakes. It was nice to receive the peace offerings at first. But he made little effort to improve and was still turning in sloppy work riddled with mistakes. We started to loathe the cakes. All we wanted was for him to say sorry and make an effort to do better.

God’s like that too. When we do things that upset Him, that are at odds with His holy nature, God wants true repentance. He does not want us making it up to Him by promising to give bigger gifts, more tithes, or spending more time at church. It’s not about the activities – it’s about the heart. I like how Psalm 147: 10-11 puts it, “His delight is not in the strength of the horse, nor his pleasure in the legs of a man, but the Lord takes pleasure in those who fear him, in those who hope in his steadfast love.

Those verses don’t mean God doesn’t like horses or has something against human beings’ legs. God made horses. God made human legs. He made the horses mighty, fearless, an asset in battle (Job 39:19-25). He made Adam and Eve, gave the earth to their care, and then Creation went from “good” to “very good”. So it’s not that God hates these things. Rather, God wants us putting our trust in Him, in having a relationship with Him – not giving more, bigger and better offerings.

It’s easy to fall into the bigger, more, better peace offering trap. But even as humans, we understand that appeasing someone has to be done on their terms. Any child could tell you that just giving Mum a hug after breaking the vase isn’t going to make her any happier. You still got to say you’re sorry, and sit through her rants / grumbling / philosophical musings.

That makes me think. How do I respond to sin, to the things that displease God?


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