THE SERVANT GENERAL
A SACRIFICE OF PRAISE
Today’s reading: Psalm 40:7-11
Today’s reading from Psalm 40 affords us an interesting
exposition on our proper posture in worship.
and offering you do not want; but ears open to obedience
you gave me. Holocausts and sin-offerings you do not require;
so I said, ‘Here I am; your commands for me are written
in the scroll. To do your will is my delight; my God, your
law is in my heart!’” (Ps 40:7-9)
the Old Testament, we see that when the Israelites came before
the Lord in worship, they would offer animal sacrifices. The
priests would burn these offerings on the altar as a holocaust,
a sweet-smelling oblation to the Lord. The primary purpose
of the holocaust was to give glory and praise to God.
here in the psalm of David, God does not want such offerings
and holocausts. God says through Jeremiah, “Your holocausts
find no favor with me, your sacrifices please me not.”
(Jer 6:20b). Why? “Because they heeded not my words,
because they despised my law.” (Jer 6:19b).
to come before the Lord purportedly to worship Him, but to
not be obedient to Him, is hypocrisy.
What is our proper posture in worship? There are three aspects,
in ever deepening levels.
is obedience. We are God’s children.
We are Jesus’ servants. We are the Holy Spirit’s
instruments. In all cases, we simply need to obey. Children
obey their parents, servants obey their masters, instruments
are simply tools in the hands of the wielder. What good is
it to profess God as the Almighty when we worship, to proclaim
Jesus as Lord and Master, but not to obey? It is unthinkable.
on a higher and deeper level, is a self-sacrificial offering.
We not only obey, but we actually offer ourselves: “Here
I am!” Obedience is good, but not enough. Jonah
eventually obeyed God in being told to preach to Nineveh,
but he first tried to evade the responsibility. Only after
he had been thrown into the sea and swallowed by a giant fish
did he obey. We can come before the Lord in worship and resolve
to be obedient, but it might be done grudgingly. It cannot
be that way. God should not have to chase us or to force us.
We must willingly present ourselves before Him.
again on an even higher and deeper level, is delight
in worship. We not only are obedient, we not only present
ourselves to God, but we delight and have great joy in the
opportunity and privilege of coming before our God. We might
present ourselves before God in our community assembly, but
we could still be lethargic, distracted, uninspired, not eagerly
open to what the workings of the Spirit might be for that
time. The proper posture is to eagerly look forward to what
God has in store for us, delighting in being in the very holy
presence of God, deeply grateful for the privilege. It is
having childlike anticipation of how the Spirit of God will
act. It is bursting with zeal and enthusiasm for the great
event that is about to unfold, when the people of God come
before Him in worship.
Notice something further in the psalm. David speaks about
ears open to obedience. Then he says that
God’s commands for him are written in the scroll, thus
something that is to be seen and read by his eyes.
Finally he says that God’s law is in his heart.
worship we hearwhat God says in the silence of our hearts
or through the spoken word in prophecy and inspired scripture
reading, the mighty praises of God shouted out by the brethren,
the music we sing that glorifies God, the exhortation and
prayers of the leader and others. In worship we see how God’s
presence animates us allhands raised, dancing to the
music, giving each other a greeting of peace, reading words
written in the scroll (the Bible), united hand in hand as
one. And in worship our hearts are touched by God.
eyes, heartthe fullness of our being! The Biblical understanding
of “heart” is the seat of intelligence and decision.
In English we would use “mind” or “will.”
The heart is the symbol of the core of man, who the man truly
is. So we worship with our all. We present ourselves whole
to Godbody, mind, spirit. All that we are is offered
as a sacrifice of praise.
There are practical implications to the above.
do not miss community assemblies unless you have a very good
and valid reason. It is not just one of the many activities
that you do as a Christian. Worship is the proper manifestation
of our relationship with God. God is God and we are His people.
So we worship.
live out a life of obedience to God. “Does the Lord
so delight in holocausts and sacrifices as in obedience to
the command of the Lord? Obedience is better than sacrifice,
and submission than the fat of rams.” (1 Sam 15:22).
Obey God’s commandments. Further, we in CFC-FFL have
a covenant with God; live that out. God has given us our Core
Values; live that out. If we are not obedient, then our coming
before God in worship is meaningless and certainly not pleasing
offer yourself as a living sacrifice to God. Live only for
God. Do only what is pleasing to Him. Have Him alone as your
priority. Walk in the very footsteps of Jesus. That means
a path of holiness. That means embracing the cross.
rejoice in the Lord always. Delight in the Lord and His ways.
Even when you do not understand, trust in Him. Rejoice even
in affliction and suffering, for the redemption that these
bring. “Find your delight in the Lord who will give
you your heart’s desire.” (Ps 37:4).
Worship is an awesome event. Jesus says, “For where
two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I
in the midst of them.” (Mt 18:20). Jesus our Lord and
Savior is with us! The angels and saints, with Mary our mother,
worship with us. What an awesome privilege and blessing for
let us bow down in worship” (Ps 95:6a).
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Worship (Part 6) [PDF]