Worship of the Heart

As For Me, I will Worship......

You must not have any other god but me. Exodus 20:3

One thing I noticed as I was reading through Revelation….the main theme seems to be about worship. In other words, who or what you worship. No matter what’s going on throughout the book, there is a ton of worship going on.

Look at some of these examples:

Day after day and night after night they keep on saying,
“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God, the Almighty—
    the one who always was, who is, and who is still to come.”
Whenever the living beings give glory and honor and thanks to the one sitting on the throne (the one who lives forever and ever), 10 the twenty-four elders fall down and worship the one sitting on the throne (the one who lives forever and ever). And they lay their crowns before the throne and say,
11 “You are worthy, O Lord our God,
    to receive glory and honor and power.
For you created all things,
    and they exist because you created what you pleased.” Revelation 4:8-11

More of this worship is repeated in Chapter 5.

“Fear God,” he shouted. “Give glory to him. For the time has come when he will sit as judge. Worship him who made the heavens, the earth, the sea, and all the springs of water.” Revelation 14:7

Then I heard again what sounded like the shout of a vast crowd or the roar of mighty ocean waves or the crash of loud thunder:

“Praise the Lord!
    For the Lord our God, the Almighty, reigns.
Let us be glad and rejoice,
    and let us give honor to him.
For the time has come for the wedding feast of the Lamb,
    and his bride has prepared herself.
She has been given the finest of pure white linen to wear.”
    For the fine linen represents the good deeds of God’s holy people. Revelation 19:6-8

No longer will there be a curse upon anything. For the throne of God and of the Lamb will be there, and his servants will worship him. And they will see his face, and his name will be written on their foreheads.And there will be no night there—no need for lamps or sun—for the Lord God will shine on them. And they will reign forever and ever. Revelation 22:3-5

There are other texts about worship - worship of Satan. In the latter part of the Book it is very clear that some will not worship God. They are choosing to worship their idols instead. We look at that and think that we are not idol worshipers but I bet we all have an idol. An idol is anything that is more important to us than our relationship with Jesus. It could be our work, our play, our image, our stuff, another person….think about it. I know there are things in my life that I need to move off the throne of my heart so I can one hundred percent follow God.

In the end, the battle is going to be over your heart. Who are you worshiping?

O Lord Jesus, teach us to worship you and you alone. Amen.

What Does Your Heart Worship?

But Jacob replied, “My son will not go down with you. His brother Joseph is dead, and he is all I have left. If anything should happen to him on your journey, you would send this grieving, white-haired man to his grave. Genesis 42:38 (NLT)

Many years before, Jacob lost his son Joseph. He believed he was dead. His heart never healed and he grieved his entire life for the loss. I have not lost a child but I know this is a very real scenario.

Jacob did something else though. He put Benjamin on the throne of his heart. Benjamin was Joseph’s brother. Jacob protected him at all costs and refused to let him out of his sight. It literally took an act of God to get Jacob to relinquish this control.

What about you? What sits on the throne of your heart in place of God? To what would you say “absolutely not” if you were asked to give it up? You see, it doesn’t matter how it got there or what it is, there is room for only One on the thrones of our hearts. God does not share the throne.

As we take a look around us this Thanksgiving and contemplate all that we are thankful for, take note. Is there something on your list that needs to be put in its proper place so God can reign where he belongs? Is there something you are holding so tightly that it would take an act of God to pry it from your hands? If there is, let go of your grip.

God wants to be your number One. He wants you to depend on and trust him. He wants to be in relationship with you. That is always his first and last goal. Stop saying “I can’t” and help him make it so.

Doesn't That Stink?

Then slaughter the young bull in the Lord’s presence, and Aaron’s sons, the priests, will present the animal’s blood by splattering it against all sides of the altar that stands at the entrance to the Tabernacle. Then skin the animal and cut it into pieces. The sons of Aaron the priest will build a wood fire on the altar. They will arrange the pieces of the offering, including the head and fat, on the wood burning on the altar. But the internal organs and the legs must first be washed with water. Then the priest will burn the entire sacrifice on the altar as a burnt offering. It is a special gift, a pleasing aroma to the Lord. Leviticus 1:5-9 (NLT)

Is it just me? Does anyone else wonder why this would be a pleasing aroma to the Lord? All throughout the first few paragraphs of Leviticus it talks about organs and fat and body parts and how burning them is a pleasing aroma to the Lord. As I listened to that, I thought - there has got to be something I'm missing because that does not sound pleasing.

So, I started looking into it.  The sacrificial process in Leviticus was put in place so the people could come to God and say "I'm sorry" and "Thank you." There were other sacrifices but these were two at the beginning of the book. When you come to God wanting to say those two things, your heart has to be in the right place, right? 

Of course, you can get side-tracked and just go through the motions of saying "I'm sorry" or "Thank you." I bet we do this more than we'd like to admit. As a matter of fact, the Israelites did. In Isaiah 1 God chastised them for it. 

“What makes you think I want all your sacrifices?” says the Lord.
“I am sick of your burnt offerings of rams and the fat of fattened cattle.
I get no pleasure from the blood of bulls and lambs and goats.
When you come to worship me, who asked you to parade through my courts with all your ceremony?
Stop bringing me your meaningless gifts; the incense of your offerings disgusts me!
As for your celebrations of the new moon and the Sabbath and your special days for fasting—
they are all sinful and false.
    I want no more of your pious meetings. (v 11-13)

They had gotten so used to the routine that they were making it about them. Not about their heart with God. The pleasing aroma in Leviticus was God's pleasure in hearts that were willing; in hearts that were open to a relationship with him. It wasn't in the actual smell of the burnt offering. And this is still what he wants from us today.

We are not going to go out and slaughter an animal to tell God we're sorry or thank you. But our hearts can tell him. When we say it, we can mean it and I know that this is still a pleasing aroma to the Lord

Gift From The Heart

Tell the people of Israel to bring me their sacred offerings. Accept the contributions from all whose hearts are moved to offer them. Exodus 25:2 (NLT)

I was listening to my Bible the other day and I heard today's text. Made me think....the Bible is pretty clear that we are to give God our tithe (Malachi 3:10). And it notes that tithe is ten percent. We are also told to give offering above what we give in tithe. But there really isn't a set amount.

And there is the rub. There isn't an amount so it's easy to forget about what this really is. Our offering is the amount we give to God from our heart.  It says in Exodus 25:2 that God only wanted the contributions of those whose hearts were in it.  It also says that again in Exodus 35:5.

"Take a sacred offering for the Lord. Let those with generous hearts present the following gifts to the Lord." And in 1 Chronicles 29:9, "Then the people rejoiced because they had given willingly, for with a whole heart they had offered freely to the Lord." and "You shall give to him freely, and your heart shall not be grudging when you give to him, because for this the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and in all that you undertake." Deuteronomy 15:10. 

The New Testament continues the thought. 

"Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver." 2 Corinthians 9:7

There are so many texts about giving and sharing, taking care of others and trusting that God will provide. The thing that amazed me is that with all God gives us, what he wants in return is for our hearts to be in it. He wants us to be so in love with him that we willingly give to him and his people. And from that overflowing of worship, all the needs would be cared for.

If this is how we are supposed to give and if we love God as much as we say we do, why do we have such poverty in our world?  Makes you wonder......