Under the Law covenant, God’s people offered acceptable sacrifices to gain his favor. “In case you should sacrifice a communion sacrifice to Jehovah,” says Leviticus 19:5, “you should sacrifice it to gain approval for yourselves.” In the same Bible book, we read: “In case you should sacrifice a thanksgiving sacrifice to Jehovah, you should sacrifice it to gain approval for you.” (Lev. 22:29) When the Israelites offered up proper animal sacrifices on Jehovah’s altar, the smoke that drifted up was like “a restful odor” to the true God. (Lev. 1:9, 13) He felt soothed and refreshed by those expressions of love from his people. (Gen. 8:21, ftn.) In these features of the Law, we find a principle that applies today. Those offering acceptable sacrifices to Jehovah receive his approval. What sacrifices does he accept? Consider two areas of life: our conduct and our speech.
In his letter to the Romans, the apostle Paul wrote: “Present your bodies a sacrifice living, holy, acceptable to God, a sacred service with your power of reason.” (Rom. 12:1) Gaining God’s approval requires that a person keep his body acceptable to God. If he were to defile himself with tobacco, betel nut, illicit drugs, or alcohol abuse, that offering would have no value. (2 Cor. 7:1) Moreover, since he that “practices fornication is sinning against his own body,” immoral conduct of any kind renders his sacrifice offensive to Jehovah. (1 Cor. 6:18) To please God, a person must ‘become holy in all his conduct.’—1 Pet. 1:14-16.
Another sacrifice that Jehovah delights in has to do with our power of speech. Those loving Jehovah have always spoken well of him in public and in the privacy of their homes. (Read Psalm 34:1-3.) Read Psalms 148-150, and observe how often these three psalms encourage us to praise Jehovah. Truly, “on the part of the upright ones praise is fitting.” (Ps. 33:1) And our Exemplar, Jesus Christ, stressed the importance of praising God by preaching the good news.—Luke 4:18, 43, 44.
By preaching with zeal, we give evidence of our love for Jehovah and our desire for his approval. For example, consider how the prophet Hosea exhorted the Israelites who had taken up false worship and had lost God’s favor. (Hos. 13:1-3) Hosea told them to plead: “May you [Jehovah] pardon error; and accept what is good, and we will offer in return the young bulls of our lips.”—Hos. 14:1, 2.
A bull was the costliest animal that an Israelite could offer to Jehovah. Hence, “the young bulls of our lips” referred to sincere, well-thought-out words spoken in praise of the true God. How did Jehovah respond to those making such sacrifices? He said: “I shall love them of my own free will.” (Hos. 14:4) To those offering such sacrifices of praise, Jehovah granted his forgiveness, approval, and friendship.
Praising Jehovah publicly has always been a prominent part of true worship. Glorifying the true God meant so much to the psalmist that he beseeched God: “Please take pleasure in the voluntary offerings of my mouth, O Jehovah.” (Ps. 119:108) What about today? Speaking of a large crowd of people in our time, Isaiah prophesied: “The praises of Jehovah they will announce. . . . With approval they [their gifts] will come up upon my [God’s] altar.” (Isa. 60:6, 7) In fulfillment, millions are offering God “a sacrifice of praise, that is, the fruit of lips which make public declaration to his name.”—Heb. 13:15.
What about you? Are you offering God acceptable sacrifices? If not, will you make needed changes and begin praising Jehovah publicly? When faith moves you to start preaching the good news, your offering will be “more pleasing to Jehovah than a bull.” (Read Psalm 69:30, 31.) Be assured that “the restful odor” of your sacrifice of praise will reach Jehovah and that he will grant you his approval. (Ezek. 20:41) The joy that you will then feel has no equal.