We've all heard of the "Proverbs 31 Woman", the woman who fears the Lord. Well, as it turns out, Proverbs 21 reveals much about the worshiper who fears the Lord, a true worshiper. So today and for the next series of posts I would like to talk about the "Proverbs 21 Worshiper". Let's look at Proverbs 21:2-4.

2. Every way of a man is right in his own eyes,
but the Lord weighs the heart.
3. To do righteousness and justice
is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice.
4. Haughty eyes and a proud heart,
the lamp of the wicked, are sin.

The ESV Study Bible comments, “People are not vindicated by their own consciences but by God’s judgment (v. 2), which cannot be averted simply with sacrifices and religious rites (v. 3). The thing most likely to bring divine judgment on one’s head is pride (v. 4).”

Verse 2 reveals that despite our good intentions, believing our actions to be truly good doesn't necessarily mean they are good. God alone judges what is good. So the worship implications are obvious: The Lord searches the heart of every worshiper, and if He does not find denial of self and faith in His Son Jesus at the very core, he does not accept the worship.

Then we see in verse 3 that the evidence of true worship is doing righteousness and justice. This truth has been particularly convicting to me lately. I am finding all throughout God's Word that acceptable sacrifice is going to require leaving the comfortable setting of the local church and ministering the mercy, love and justice of God to the world, especially the poor. This "is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice", that is, more than the small amount of room, time and visible worship we give to God in our lives. True worship has nothing to do with giving God a mere piece of your life. That is proud worship, or false worship.

The truth is that any act of worship, or any action at all for that matter, apart from the work of Christ is wicked and sinful. The false worshiper is proud of his sacrifice and sees it as the part of his life, his attainment, that sets him above everyone else. He even does it publicly so that others can see how "worshipful" he is. And he is worshipful, but only insofar as he worships himself.

Bottom line: If we are going to be true worshipers, true followers of Jesus, we must get off our high horses and surrender our lives entirely to the mission of God (Luke 4:18-19).

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