Sunday, March 8, 2009

Worship with your heart, not your actions.

Studying the book of Hosea has reaffirmed the biblical reality that outward actions and rote repetition earns no ‘brownie points’ with God. In fact, the contrary is true. God vehemently despises hypocritical worship—let’s call it for what it really is. Heartless worship is hypocritical worship. And that’s precisely what the book of Hosea condemns.

To be sure, Hosea chastises Israel for their harlotries and chasing ravenously after pagan gods. But when their harlotries are combined with the outward worship of Yahweh, Yahweh declares his hostile hatred of this syncretism.

I’m studying Hosea 8-9 this week and God’s Word confronted me anew with the simple truth that I must ask myself before I preach: “Is my worship before Almighty Yahweh genuine?” If so, praise God! If not, I had better do some repenting!

But Israel didn’t repent. They didn’t confess. They didn’t change. They didn’t return to Yahweh. They continued to rebel and run after fake gods and nonexisting deities. So should we bear this truth in mind. Let us not attempt to worship God while focusing on fake gods and nonexisting deities. Don’t go to church and outwardly worship God when your heart is focused on football or thinking about lunch or contemplating the work week. Pray and ask God to strengthen you and give you the ability (which he will give) to worship him genuinely from the heart. This is the kind of worship that God accepts. If one's heart is properly oriented, then I presume that proper actions and corporate worship will inevitably follow. Therefore, I say it again, worship with your heart, not your actions.

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