The God far off comes near in fire and smoke and tempest to judge those who think their sacrifices will keep the righteous judge at bay. It is a common complaint of God. “These people honor me with their lips but their hearts are far from me.” (Isaiah 29:13) God is done with the sacrifices that have no heart and is tired by those who recite the statutes but fail to live the covenant. So God rebukes those who hate discipline and live without a concern for the consequences of deceitful lives. But “the Gospel is always bad news before it is good news” (Friederich Buechner) and for the sake of the creation gone horribly wrong the perfection that came out of Zion was abandoned by the faithful and disfigured by the cross only to shine forth from the empty tomb. Because of God's self sacrifice our sacrifice that is pleasing to God is a contrite heart and a life of thanksgiving that honors the God of salvation.