“Oh, the unspeakable greatness of that exchange,—the Sinless One is condemned, and he who is guilty goes free; the Blessing bears the curse, and the cursed is brought into blessing; the Life dies, and the dead live; the Glory is whelmed in darkness, and he who knew nothing but confusion of face is clothed with glory.” Trailady

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A person God turned around many times.

Monday, June 09, 2008

When worship isn’t worshiping God

“Nevertheless they did flatter Him with their mouth, and they lied unto Him with their tongues. For their heart was not right with Him, neither were they stedfast in His covenant.” (Ps. 78:36,37).

Flattering God. The people of Israel mustn’t have known that flattery would get them nowhere. But do we flatter God with our worship? Is our worship true? Is our heart melted and humbled in our words of praise to Him? Are they an expression of an ongoing communion, faith in Jesus?

Are we experiencing the faith of Jesus? are we following the divine recipe, “Lord I believe, help my unbelief”? “Lord I worship You, help my gross lack of heavenly worship, of which You are worthy.”

“Jesus did not commit Himself unto them, because He knew all men, and needed not that any should testify of man: for He knew what was in man.” (Jn. 2:24,25).

“And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?” (Matt. 19:16). Although “Jesus beholding him loved him,”(Mk. 10:21) His answer dodged the aggrandizement and kindly cut to the chase, “Why callest thou Me good? there is none good but one, that is, God.”

“Nicodemus… the same came to Jesus by night, and said unto Him, Rabbi, we know that Thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that Thou doest, except God be with Him.” (Jn. 3:2). The cold propriety tinged his words with hypocrisy. Gently but firmly, Jesus’ answer faithfully sidestepped the flattery and went directly to spiritual things, “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God….”

At another time, “Then came to Him the mother of Zebedee’s children with her sons, worshipping Him, and desiring a certain thing of Him. And He said unto her, What wilt thou? She saith unto Him, Grant that these my two sons may sit, the one on Thy right hand, and the other on the left, in Thy kingdom.” (Matt. 20:20,21). Jesus didn’t answer the somewhat groveling woman, but His mild rebuke was to His two closest disciples, who had given in to her earthly ambitions. “Ye know not what ye ask. Are ye able to drink of the cup that I shall drink of, and to be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?”

“And when the ten heard it, they were moved with indignation against the two brethren.” (vs. 24). You know this must have set Judas on edge. Satan was making his mark in the show of his hellish fruit still implanted in Christ’s closest followers. So in spite of a show of obeisance from the mother, all this was the furthest thing from true worship. Love, inspired of repentance, was absent. Idolazation toward Jesus resulted.

Of the 7 things God hates the most are “a proud look, a lying tongue.” (Prov. 6:16,17).

To the multitude on the mount, Jesus cried, “Why call ye Me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?” (Lk. 6:46). Obedience to the Law, motivated by love, is the key to true worship of God. “He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be abomination.” (Prov. 28:9).

Follow the steps below that brought David to true worship.

1)“I waited patiently for the Lord; and He inclined unto me, and heard my cry. He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings.

2) “And He hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the Lord.

3) “Blessed is that man that maketh the Lord his trust, and respecteth not the proud, nor such as turn aside to lies. Many, O Lord my God, are Thy wonderful works which Thou hast done, and Thy thoughts which are to us-ward: they cannot be reckoned up in order unto Thee: if I would declare and speak of them, they are more than can be numbered.

4) “Sacrifice and offering Thou didst not desire; mine ears hast Thou opened: burnt offering and sin offering hast Thou not required. Then said I, Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of me, I delight to do Thy will, O my God: yea, Thy law is within my heart.” (Ps. 40:1-8).

First and foremost, David struggled to resist the devil and to submit to God. Something was warring to separate him from the Lord and faith and spirituality. But, like Jacob, “as a prince” he had “power with God and with men,” and prevailed. (Gen. 32:28). The result was firm faith and surrender. Out of that struggle his soul became God’s own fortress, and a new song flowed from David’s lips. Now his praise was divinely ordained, because he was a new creature in Christ.

Thus he saw that religious ceremony is empty and unacceptable to God unless the ears are opened to God’s will and the heart is enslaved by God’s love.

David also knew that his wonderful experience was written in the book of life, and he communicated to others of His God’s power to save from sin. “I have preached righteousness in the great congregation: lo, I have not refrained my lips, O Lord, Thou knowest. I have not hid Thy righteousness within my heart; I have declared Thy faithfulness and Thy salvation: I have not concealed Thy lovingkindness and Thy truth from the great congregation.” (Ps. 40:9,10). “For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” (Rom. 10:10).

In the Samaritan woman Jesus found a true participant in service to God. “But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship Him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth.” (Jn. 4:23,24).

Of one who sat at Jesus’ feet and learned of Him, He declared, “But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.” (Lk. 10:42). Jesus’ appeal to Martha’s heart won her to humility while He vindicated Mary’s true worship of God through His word.

“Nevertheless they did flatter Him with their mouth, and they lied unto Him with their tongues. For their heart was not right with Him, neither were they stedfast in His covenant. But He, being full of compassion, forgave their iniquity, and destroyed them not: yea, many a time turned He His anger away, and did not stir up all His wrath. For He remembered that they were but flesh; a wind that passeth away, and cometh not again. How oft did they provoke Him... and grieve Him...!” (Ps. 78:36-40).


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