“Whoever sacrifices to any god other that the Lord must be destroyed.” (Exodus 22:20)
In its essence sin perverts good things. Real and genuine worship an be perverted into false worship. We are always in danger of placing some person or object in the place of supreme worship that belongs only to God. That is precisely why God told Abraham to sacrifice Isaac. Abraham’s obedient response revealed that God was more important to him than even his only son Isaac. In Scripture, worship always has God as the object. The manner and attitude of worship is to be reverential. False worship is worship done in an improper way, with an improper attitude, or to an improper object.
PRAYER FOR THE DAY:
Precious Abba, worship is to be intentional, not just something we do and then run off and live our lives in another way. If we need to wake up 30 minutes earlier to start our day focused on You, then we need Your help to do just that; in doing so, our prayer lives will be stronger and more meaningful that they may be already. Help us to strengthen our attitudes towards meaningful prayers to You, fully recognizing that You hear our prayers. We also offer up prayers for those who are suffering in body, mind, and/or spirit, with friends, family, for those we don’t know, especially the people in Ukraine, as they are fighting for their very lives. Amen
THOUGHT OF THE DAY:
“The best surprises often come when we keep our hope in You alive and in the forefront of our minds.”
“So he said, ‘Bring me the burnt offering and the fellowship offerings.’ And Saul offered up the burnt offering. Just as he finished making the offering, Samuel arrived, and Saul went out to greet him. ‘What have ou done?’ asked Samuel. Saul replied, ‘When II saw that the men were scattering, and that you did not come at the set time, and that the Philistines were assembling at Micmash, I thought, ‘Now the Philistines will come down against me at Gilgal, and I have not sought the Lord’s favor. So I felt compelled to offer the burnt offering.’ ‘You acted foolishly. Samuel said. ‘You have not kept the command the Lord your God gave you; if you had, he would have established your kingdom over Israel for all time.’” (1st Samuel 13:9-13)
In worship, God is always the focus of his worshiping troops. Saul made a wrong decision not to wait, but to offer up the burnt offerings to his troops, but had he been impatient, Samuel would have been there in plenty of time to offer the burnt offerings up to the troops. Saul was more worried about being captured, than in keeping his belief in God focused on proper worship. He needed to offer up to God his fears and unbelief’s, and had God respond to him, to forgive him, too offer a blessing upon him. It is not a sin to have fears, but it is a sin to withhold them from God. Our relationship with Him means more than anything else. This is why God directed Abraham to offer his only son Isaac to Him as a sacrificial offering to God. Abraham did exactly as instructed, but God stopped him before he killed Isaac, because he knew his love and belief in God was more meaningful that anything else. Beloved, this is what each one of us must do within our own lives. If we can’t spend a few minutes to start our day in prayer to God, then He is not in the forefront of our minds and we are susceptible to sin that distraction, such as what Saul fell into. I pray this is clear to you all.
“Hear the word of the Lord, you rulers of Sodom; listen to the law of our God, you people of Gomorrah! The multitude of your sacrifices—-what are they to me? Says the Lord. ‘I have more than enough of burnt offerings, of rams and the fat of fattened animals; I have no pleasure in the blood of bulls and lambs and goats. When you come to appear before me, who has asked this of you, this trampling of my courts? Stop bringing meaningless offerings! You incense is detestable to me. New Moons, Sabbaths and convocations—-I cannot bear your evil assemblies. Your New Moon festivals and your appointed feasts my soul hates. They have become a burden to me; I am weary of bearing them. When you spread out your hands in prayer, I will hide my eyes from you; even if you offer many prayers, I will not listen. Your hands are full of blood; wash and make yourselves clean. Take your evil deeds out of my sight! Stop doing wrong, learn to do right! Seek justice, encourage the oppressed. Defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow.” (Isaiah 1:10-17)
Israel had become satisfied with outward observances without inner character. God hates sham and will not hear prayer as mere form, if the character of the one praying betrays God’s purposes.
To pray is to sin—when the person praying is hypocritical. To do evil and destroy other people does not qualify you to go to worship and offer prayers of praise and gratitude. Sin puts a barrier between people and God, making proper worship impossible until the sin barrier is removed through repentance and forgiveness. People must stop being wicked, causing others to suffer, if they want to be counted among God’s people.
2ND THOUGHT OF THE DAY:
“I hate, I despise your religious feasts; I cannot stand your assemblies. Even though you bring me burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them. Though you bring choice fellowship offerings, I will have no regard for them. Away with the noise of your songs! I will not listen to the music of your harps. But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream! Did you bring me sacrifices and offerings forty years in the desert, O house of Israel? You have lifted up the shrine of your king, the pedestal of your idols, the star of your god—-which you made for yourselves. Therefore I will send you into exile beyond Damascus., says the Lord, whose name is God Almighty.” (Amos 5:21-27)
The people of God should not neglect assembling for religious activity, but such activity does not please God unless the people are involved in righteous living that produces and maintains justice in all human affairs and relationships.
God’s people must live according to His standards before we can expect God to accept our gifts as proper expressions of worship. He expects righteousness to precede rites of worship. In truth beloved, if we have an issue between us and another member, we should not go to worship, until you have met together and reconciled whatever your differences are, and then you may both return to worship, so that it is not a stumbling block to your relationship with God. I pray these comments give you pause to think and consider what worship truly means to yourselves, and remember that God does not even want us to worship if we have not resolved differences between our fellow worshipers, much less someone outside of our worship services. The best gift we can ever offer our Lord, is our full and open relationship with Him. He gives His all for us, and we can only offer ourselves in return.