Authentic Worship

The Lord detests the sacrifice of the wicked, but the prayer of the upright pleases him. PROVERBS 15:8

(Teacher: Chris Tiegreen)
Read and consider Proverbs 15:8-11

•IN WORD
Several Bible passages tell us that the fear of God is where wisdom begins (Proverbs 9:10, for one example). If we are to be truly wise, we must understand who He is. All of creation was based on His character. His heart is written into the fabric of every part of this universe, even if sin obscures it. Those who find understanding will be those who can recognize the imprint of God in the depths and design of creation. They wil be ardent observers of the way He deals with humanity. They will take their cues from Him.

The proverbs point out numerous such clues. This one in 15:8 tells us something profound about our Creator. He desires the essence of worship more than its demonstration. In Old Testament times, the sacrifice would have most often an animal or a grain offering. Today, it comes from our finances at one level and our time and talents at others. In any case, it’s not the gift that matters most. God already owns everything anyway. What really matters is the heart of the giver. Why? Because things do not honor God nearly as much as does a devoted, living being.

Why does God hate the sacrifice of the wicked? Because it is superficial. It is an attempt to brush Him off and get on with the self-life. It bears the appearance of devotion, but there is nothing of relationship in it—no love, no honor, no passion. That tells us volumes about the One who made us. He is no distant force, a cosmic “first cause” who observes us from afar. He is deeply, intensely personal.

•IN DEED
Have you really considered the implications of that? That means that when you think He’s far off, He isn’t. It means that those deep longings in your heart—you know, the ones that leave agonizing, gaping holes when unfulfilled—are longings He wants to satisfy in the right way at the right time. It means that your soul is a place of warm communion, not cold solitude. It means that what you thought was too good to be true—His unconditional love and His enjoyment of your personality—is real.

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