Psalm 51:16-17 (NKJV)
For You do not desire sacrifice, or else I would give it; You do not delight in burnt offering.
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, A broken and a contrite heart--These, O God, You will not despise.
I've been reading through all the Levitical Laws detailing very specific instructions on how the Israelites were to bring their sacrificial offerings. These were peculiar and very bloody. It is not until we see Jesus on the cross that be begin to understand the incredible extent to which God went to make it possible for us to dwell with Him.
In these verses, we see what it is that God wants: a deep heartfelt brokenness over our sin and genuine repentance. He wants our devotion to Him, our surrender in obedience. He wants us to love mercy, to desire to know him and please him.
After a person comes to God through Christ, there is no longer the need for external ceremonies and rituals which act as roadmaps and disciplinarians. The sacrificial laws were an imperfect picture of the perfect sacrifice of Jesus Christ.
1 Samuel 15:22 (NKJV)
So Samuel said: "Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, As in obeying the voice of the Lord ? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, And to heed than the fat of rams.
Hosea 6:6 (NKJV)
For I desire mercy and not sacrifice, And the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.