Product Recall: Worthless Worship
What if you opened your church bulletin next Sunday morning and saw this across the top: "WARNING: Product Recall — Worthless Worship!"
When the prophet Malachi put down his pen after writing the last book in the Old Testament, the Holy Spirit fell silent for 400 years. A look at what worship had become in Malachi's day may tell us why.
6A son honoureth his father, and a servant his master: if then I be a father, where is Mine honour? and if I be a Master, where is My fear? saith the LORD of hosts unto you, O priests, that despise My name. And ye say, Wherein have we despised thy name? 7Ye offer polluted bread upon Mine altar; and ye say.... The table of the LORD is contemptible....11For from the rising of the sun even unto the going down of the same My name shall be great...saith the LORD of hosts. 12But ye have profaned it, in that ye say.... Behold, what a weariness is it! and ye have sneered at it, saith the LORD of hosts...."- Malachi 1:6-7,11-13
May we never come to the place where the joy, wonder, and enthusiasm goes out of our worship. What we do for the Lord Jesus Christ should never be "a weariness."
Perhaps you've heard people complain, "Are we going to church again? Do we have to sit there and be bored?" No matter how large the crowd, it's sad to see a full church with empty people trying to overflow.
Weariness in Worship
One of the worst insults to God is half-hearted worship. Dr. G. Campbell Morgan said, "Lukewarmness is the worst form of blasphemy." Lukewarmness says, "I believe, I'm just not excited about it." Jesus said to the church at Laodicea, "Because you are neither cold nor hot, but lukewarm, I will spew you out of my mouth." (Revelation 3:15-16) That's not a place we want to find ourselves!
Have you become weary in your worship? We are to worship to the Lord with enthusiasm, not weariness. In fact, the word "enthusiasm" has the word theos (God) as its root. We should be excited — enthousiasmos — about serving the Lord Jesus Christ. Every day should become sweeter.
Wonder in Worship
How do we keep the wonder in our worship?
Recognize the awesome nature of God. In this Malachi passage, God says He is a father and a master. Jesus refers to God as "father" seventy times in the New Testament. Fathers are to be honored.
"To honor" means to give weight to — to take seriously. Do you take God seriously? Are you serious about your worship? Or do you come into His presence with a yawn and a sigh? God asks these worshippers, "Where is my honor? Where is My fear?" (the reverential awe due Me) Does today's generation recognize His awesome nature?
Masters are to be obeyed and given respect. Respect doesn't mean our worship must be quiet. The Bible says, "Be still and know that I am God," but it also describes drums, cymbals, leaping and dancing, praising God with all one's might, and shouting unto the Lord. This is not irreverence but joy-filled, overflowing worship.
Reverence the name of God. His name represents His character, yet He says these worshippers have actually despised His name and profaned it with half-hearted worship and imperfect offerings. Some of the worst profanity takes place in the house of God.
"You offer polluted bread upon My altar...and say the table of the Lord is contemptible...and ye brought...that which was torn, and the lame, and the sick"
The Old Testament offerings represented Jesus, the perfect, sinless offering, the "lamb without spot and without blemish." (1 Peter 1:8-9) When you offer castaways to God, when you're not enthused, singing without thinking, wondering, "When will this service ever be over?" you profane His name with worthless worship.
Respect the nobility of God.
"...for I am a great King, says the LORD of Hosts, and My name is dreadful among the heathen." (v. 14)
Our God is a great King. If we knew that the President or an earthly king planned to visit our worship service, what might we do differently? Would we
- Make sure to be there?
- Sing with more feeling?
- Engage mentally in all that was said and done?
- Totally focus on our honored guest?
- Would there be a buzz of excitement in the air?
The King of Kings will be present in our worship. May our praise rise to heaven like sweet incense, an offering worthy of our God — a great King.