Worship 20

John 4:24 “God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”

Psalm 51:17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; A broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise.

Isaiah 57:15 For thus says the high and exalted One Who lives forever, whose name is Holy, “I dwell on a high and holy place, And also with the contrite and lowly of spirit In order to revive the spirit of the lowly And to revive the heart of the contrite.

Amos 5:21 “I hate, I reject your festivals, Nor do I delight in your solemn assemblies. 22 “Even though you offer up to Me burnt offerings and your grain offerings, I will not accept them; And I will not even look at the peace offerings of your fatlings. 23 “Take away from Me the noise of your songs; I will not even listen to the sound of your harps.

Hebrews 12:28 Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe;

Matthew 15:8 ‘THIS PEOPLE HONORS ME WITH THEIR LIPS, BUT THEIR HEART IS FAR AWAY FROM ME 9 ‘BUT IN VAIN DO THEY WORSHIP ME, TEACHING AS DOCTRINES THE PRECEPTS OF MEN.'”

While it appears that men think of worship as when they say good things (in their own minds) about God and can sing with some degree of shouting and/or near ecstasy. That can be nothing but the worship of self in doing all for exalted feelings. That can also be nothing but the proud heart seeking things for self and being proud that it can worship. However, in order for worship to be from the heart the heart must be broken from pride and self. It is God who must be sought in worship rather than self. It is God who must be exalted in worship rather than self.

It is true that Psalm 51 is of David’s confession for his sin with his dealing with Bathsheba and Uriah her husband. However, there are some powerful theological points that he makes there as well. What is it that pleases God? Is it the sacrifices of thousands of animals? Is it the human being making something of a sacrifice in order to do things for God? Not according to David in Psalm 51. The only real sacrifice is that of a broken spirit which he says is a broken and contrite heart.

In the Old Covenant sacrifices were commanded, which was animal sacrifices. The Israelites thought that by offering up the sacrifices that they were doing what was commanded. However, if we follow David in Psalm 51 with Amos 5 in the background, we can see that there is only one true sacrifice. That sacrifice is the heart. We can see something of that in Hebrews 13:15 as well: “Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name.” Praise is said to be a sacrifice. How is praise a sacrifice? It is a sacrifice when the heart is broken to the things of the world and the things of self and is given over to God and to the praise of God. As long as the heart is unbroken or full of self and pride, all the praise is really for the purposes of self and is not a sacrifice of praise.

As we move a little deeper into this line of thinking, as we look at what happened in the Old Covenant we can see that it was the animal that died and as such was the sacrifice. The human being did not really make a sacrifice as such. The human only became a sacrifice when his or her heart was a sacrifice to God. A sacrifice to God was when the thing offered was given over completely to the purposes of God. This is what our hearts are to be like if we are to truly worship. True worship of the true God cannot happen unless our hearts are irrevocably given over to Him to do with as He pleases much as the animals were in the Old Covenant. It is only when the hearts of the Israelites were broken were their sacrifices then acceptable to God.

As we move into the modern times we can see where we have gone astray in our thinking about worship. We have focused on the way things are done rather than the state of our hearts. Our praise is not acceptable to God regardless of how well it is done or how biblical we are in our words and practices apart from a broken spirit. We can follow the most orthodox bulletin in the most orthodox prayers, singing, and preaching and yet without those broken hearts all of that orthodoxy is in vain. Apart from a broken heart there is no sacrifice (as defined and set out by David) and as such our praise is nothing but awful noise in the ears of God. Apart from broken hearts there can be no acceptable sacrifice and as such no true worship. Can it be that all of our efforts at “worship” are despised by God if we don’t have a broken heart from which all true worship comes? If so, perhaps the times that the church comes together should be a lot different. Would that be uncomfortable? Of course, but it might lead to true worship.

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