"By Him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to His name" (Hebrews 13:15).
What is this "sacrifice of praise" that harks back to the offerings of old? David wrote, "I will offer to thee the sacrifice of thanksgiving, and will call upon the name of the Lord" (Psalm 116:17 and 107:22). Our offering of praise and thanksgiving to God consumes our time and attention. But God is pleased when we turn from other activities to such a sacrifice. Revelation 5:8 pictures the saint's prayers as a perfuming incense wafting through the courts of heaven. "Let my prayer be set forth before thee as incense; and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice" (Psalm 141:2).
However, a sinful and unrepentant heart cannot bring forth the sacrifice of praise. Psalm 51 is a song of contrition and repentance. David, in asking forgiveness for his sin of adultery pleads, "O Lord, open thou my lips; and my mouth shall shew forth thy praise. For thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it: thou delightest not in burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise" (Psalm 51:15-17). When, like the disobedient prophet of old, we turn from our rebellion, we can again proclaim, "But I will sacrifice unto thee with the voice of thanksgiving" (Jonah 2:9).
The prophet Hosea reproved a backslidden people of God. He suggested that they repent and pray for God to "Take away all iniquity, and receive us graciously: so will we render the calves of our lips" (14:2). Jeremiah spoke of a day when