The foolishness of man perverteth his way: and his heart fretteth against the LORD.
There is a great example in the Bible of those who greatly prepared for worship involving the children of Israel and it can speak volumes to us today. The worship service was to be unmatched and unparalleled. There were several key things they did to get ready that all should consider:
1. There was special preparation for worship. No expense was spared and only the best would do. The place had to be perfect for the worship that was to commence the next day. The entire town was involved with the preparations! What might happen if God’s people prepared in advance to meet him in worship?
2. They greatly advertised the event. The Bible literally says that they made a proclamation of worship. They called everyone and made many invitations. Guest speakers may even have been named and placed on the announcements.
3. The people all gathered together at a central location of worship. It almost reads like the scripture in Acts 2 that says the people were all in one place and one accord. What could possibly be any better?
4. Their offerings were the best they could give. There was no prodding or promising of better things by the priest if they would give until it hurt. No! The people gave in abundance. They gave gold, the best of their calves, and much, much more. Their giving was so extravagant that there was plenty left over for another day of worship.
5. Their emotional outbursts of praise were legendary! The worship was so loud that it could be heard for miles. Group after group broke out in spontaneous praise. They danced, and sang, and shouted with no sense of shame. What a service!
Yes! Every key element of worship was considered. Every available means necessary to a successful service was incorporated. It was a service for the ages. Yet, God was strangely disappointed.
There is not a pastor nor worship leader who would not like for all of the above listed things to take place each week as church members anticipate joining together to bless the LORD. So why was God angry? The service above is outlined in Exodus 32 and each of the items mentioned can be found in the text. They prepared in the first four verses. Verse five mentions their proclamation of worship. They all met at the foot of the golden calf, a calf built entirely of their freewill offerings. The cacophony of worship was so loud that Moses and Joshua could hear it miles away. Yet, it was all devoted to a self styled idol. All of the outer things of worship can be in place but unless God truly is the focus all is in vain. Worship for the sake of experiencing worship is unacceptable!
Just because the offering plate overflows with funds doesn’t mean that God was pleased. One can sing with the voice of an angel and yet not impress his Maker. All the preparation in the world for an experience cannot replace issues of the heart. It is the heart of man that God wants, not self directed, self infected worship meant to make the worshipper feel good. God wants all of the above, but it is vain if He is not the centerpiece. God wants more than a big noise—He wants us wholly!
The verse above reminds us that flesh stained worship is unacceptable. Ask Cain. Did he not fret against the LORD in anger when his expression of worship was rejected? God sees passed the placation that takes place in houses bearing His name. His grace should both remind us of how unworthy we truly are while simultaneously causing us to break forth in heart felt, thunderous adoration as we consider what great price was paid for us in Christ and His cross.
Honor Him truly! Jesus Christ is Soon2Come…