There's Nothing Like the Real Thing
Scripture: Ecclesiastes 11:7-12:14, 1 Kings 12:1-20, 2 Chronicles 10:1-19, 1 Kings 12:21-24, 2 Chronicles 11:1-4, 1 Kings 12:25-33, 2 Chronicles 11:5-17
"And Jeroboam instituted a religious festival in Bethel, held on the fifteenth day of the eighth month, in imitation of the annual Festival of Shelters in Judah." 1 Kings 12:32b (NLT)
My heart is grieved for the Lord after reading today’s scriptures. It’s as if the recorded events were taken directly from a page of modern day news. Look around and you’ll surely see many of God's children offering an imitation worship because it is more convenient rather than giving Him the real thing.
Our key verse uses the word imitation. An imitation is designed to counterfeit a genuine or superior article or thing. Jeroboam didn’t want the people to make the trip to Jerusalem to offer sacrifices and attend the Festival of Shelters. He decided to make worship and sacrifice convenient by creating an imitation festival. The people fell for it hook, line, and sinker. I thought to myself, "How gullible." How quickly I was convicted.
There have been many times in my life that I’ve desired and settled for giving God an imitation. Rather than taking time to study His Word, I sleep in and read a short devotion as I’m brushing my teeth in the morning. Instead of praying to Him and listening for His voice in return, I mutter a quick SOS and go about my day. Even though I’m physically able to attend worship at my church, I opt to sit on my couch and watch a service on the TV.
Please hear me on this, there is nothing wrong with a quick Bible verse reading, hurried prayer, or staying home from church. What is a problem is when the Holy Spirit asks us to spend time in the Bible or in prayer or with other believers and we don’t because it doesn’t feel convenient. That’s giving Him a half-hearted form of worship.
The real thing costs more. Think of it like cake ingredients. Real vanilla extract is more expensive than imitation vanilla extract, but gives baked goods a more vibrant flavor. The rich, smooth taste of chocolate chips made with cocoa powder is superior to chocolate flavored chips. When you put real in, the outcome is better, richer, and more satisfying.
Our genuine worship is sweet to the Lord and refreshing to our souls. Though it may not always feel convenient, when God asks us to give Him our time, let’s do so. There is no substitute for the real thing: real time, real devotion, real worship. The real thing costs more, but is a worthwhile investment. He is worthy.