Ever wonder why there are more accounts of false worship in the Bible than true worship? Flip through the Law and the Prophets and you'll encounter some pretty enlightening stuff, especially in terms of worship offerings and the consistent failure of the children of Israel to please God. The language of abomination and hatred fill these pages of how God feels toward the sacrifices of His people. We don't need to read for very long before encountering Cain's unacceptable offering to God in Genesis 4. Or how about what God has to say in Amos 5:

"I hate, I despise your feasts, and I take no delight in your solemn assemblies. Even though you offer me your burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them; and the peace offerings of your fattened animals, I will not look upon them. Take away from me the noise of your songs; to the melody of your harps I will not listen. But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream."

And why else would King David identify a pure heart as one which is humble and contrite, out of which comes sacrifices God "will not despise" (Psalm 51)? He was obviously conscious of another kind of worship, the kind God hates.

But even David's definition of God-pleasing worship is not enough for us to really engage God in true worship. Indeed, all of the popular, contemporary talk of the "heart of worship" only brings us half way down to the root of true worship. If worshipers are left only with the admonition to "worship from your heart," where will that take us? What does that even mean? And yet more Contemporary Praise and Worship songs use this abstract, half-rooted, heart language rather than the language of what, or Who, really makes our offerings of worship acceptable to God...Jesus Christ.

The story of the Old Testament is easy to tell: God creates, man fails to worship God. God re-creates, man fails to worship God. God establishes another covenant (Abraham) and chooses a nation for His own (Israel), man fails to worship God. God gives His people the Law, man fails to worship God. God builds a Temple, man fails to worship God. Do you see the pattern? God sends his people into exile, man fails to worship God. God brings them back and builds a new Temple, but man still fails to worship God. I hope you see the impossibility of man to worship God, because it is only in the knowledge of this that we see the necessity of the person of Jesus Christ. God came down (incarnate) to do for us what we could never do for ourselves, namely worship God: love and adore and serve and live for Him and not ourselves.

Any other offering, any projection of our heart to God apart from Christ, is despised by God, no matter how contrite we appear to be. It is idolatrous, self-seeking nonsense. Jesus Christ, who He is and what He's done, is the only way by which we can humbly worship our Creator. Our songs should be filled with this truth, and we should be filled with joy, knowing our worship is not an abomination to God through Jesus Christ. He is our Mediator, our Intercessor, the True Worshiper. He is the High Priest and the Lamb that was slain. He is our everything, without Whom we could not possibly please God.

It is of highest importance for us to understand this even today, especially today, when so much of our worship is unitarian and ultimately displeasing to God. You may think that simply living in A.D. church times, the New Covenant, assures you rightstanding with God, in worship and being, but I assure you, unless you are participating by the Spirit in Christ's sacrifice to the Father, you are not truly worshiping God. Can we be participants without this knowledge? It seems to me this knowledge is the very heart of the Gospel. Jesus Christ does for us what we cannot do for ourselves. The waters of justice have rolled down to us in the death of Christ, making right our sacrifices to God; the ever-flowing stream of righteousness is the blood of Jesus, making the worship of us sinners pleasing in the ear of God.

Woe is me for I am lost and full of sin
Take the burning coal and touch my unclean lips

Jesus, Savior
Took my sin that I might live forever
Ever worshiping God

Sacrifices please You only if they're right
Place upon my lips, Lord, praise You won't despise

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