Laws of the Sanctuary
12 “These are the statutes and the judgments which you shall carefully observe in the land which the Lord, the God of your fathers, has given you to possess [a]as long as you live on the [b]earth. 2 You shall utterly destroy all the places where the nations whom you shall dispossess serve their gods, on the high mountains and on the hills and under every green tree. 3 You shall tear down their altars and smash their sacred pillars and burn their [c]Asherim with fire, and you shall cut down the engraved images of their gods and obliterate their name from that place. 4 You shall not act like this toward the Lord your God. 5 But you shall seek the Lord at the place which the Lord your God will choose from all your tribes, to establish His name there for His dwelling, and there you shall come. 6 There you shall bring your burnt offerings, your sacrifices, your tithes, the [d]contribution of your hand, your votive offerings, your freewill offerings, and the firstborn of your herd and of your flock. 7 There also you and your households shall eat before the Lord your God, and rejoice in all [e]your undertakings in which the Lord your God has blessed you.
8 “You shall not do at all what we are doing here today, every man doing whatever is right in his own eyes; 9 for you have not as yet come to the resting place and the inheritance which the Lord your God is giving you. 10 When you cross the Jordan and live in the land which the Lord your God is giving you to inherit, and He gives you rest from all your enemies around you so that you live in security, 11 then it shall come about that the place in which the Lord your God will choose for His name to dwell, there you shall bring all that I command you: your burnt offerings and your sacrifices, your tithes and the [f]contribution of your hand, and all your choice votive offerings which you will vow to the Lord. 12 And you shall rejoice before the Lord your God, you and your sons and daughters, your male and female servants, and the Levite who is within your gates, since he has no portion or inheritance with you.
13 “Be careful that you do not offer your burnt offerings in every cultic place you see, 14 but in the place which the Lord chooses in one of your tribes, there you shall offer your burnt offerings, and there you shall do all that I command you.
This reminds me of something I’ve heard and read before, which is this: that one can do all sorts of things in “service to God”, without actually loving, serving, and believing in Him.
It also reminds me of Cain’s offering back in the beginning. He wanted to be like his brother Abel and get God’s blessing, but he didn’t really want to do it God’s way, so he just brought some of the produce from his fields instead.
God reminds us that when we ask for something good, he isn’t going to give us a rock or snake, so why, when we serve him, do we bring him half-hearted gifts. He wants our whole heart, and when we give him that, it shows in our giving.