Wednesday, April 10, 2013

What is Your God Worth?

While visiting Cancun, Mexico in January, we traveled to the ancient ruins of Tulum. After looking at the entrance to the inner city and walking past crumbled domiciles, our guide stopped in front of the temple, looked across the group and singled out our 11-year-old daughter. He motioned her to the front of the group so he could demonstrate the Aztecs annual sacrifice. We refused. As he explained the horrible, pagan ritual, we were struck by their reasoning: their gods deserved the best so that is what they gave--their young, virgin daughters.
We cringe and shudder at the thought.  They probably did, too--those who hadn't grown calloused.
How very different is our God! 
"Thus says the Lord: ‘Again there shall be heard in this place… the voice of joy and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride, the voice of those who will say: “Praise the Lord of hosts, For the Lord is good, For His mercy endures forever” and of those who will bring the sacrifice of praise into the house of the Lord” (Jeremiah 33:12-11).
I was reminded of our visit to Tulum as I read the book of Nehemiah. The people of Judah left homes they'd lived in for nearly 70 years. They traveled to Jerusalem, worked to build a wall around the city, and settled into new homes and lifestyles. After the completion of the wall, they stood for hours, listening to the Word of God--and responded with confession and obedience. The reality of God and His true nature affected worship and honor. 
Show me your worship and I will show you your God. Follow the money. Follow the affection. Follow the time. Follow the focus of your conversation. Follow your thoughts. "Behold, your god!" 
Our worship reveals our god.
How easily we slip in and out of the pew on Sunday with no thought to how we reflected God's worth. Did we come in our best? Or did we simply crawl out of bed? Did we offer something costly? What was expected? Or nothing at all. Did we stand for the reading of the Holy Word, or distract ourselves with the mundane? How awful to think that we, like the Aztecs, would make abominable sacrifices because we do not know our God; that we would provoke His wrath rather than His pleasure because we lack an awesome fear and reverence for God. To think that we might enter the King's presence dressed in our own filthy righteous rags rather than the royal robe provided through the death and resurrection of His only Son! By faith we have access to the throne room of the Father, with bold confidence and thanksgiving.
Worship and rejoicing and giving result from knowledge. Knowledge of The Holy. What does your worship say about your God? Need God? Read His Word. And, perhaps for the first time in a long time, you will experience the scent of your carpet, the feel of the ground, as you fall on your face--a living sacrifice, the giving of your life, a reasonable act of worship.

"Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out!
“For who has known the mind of the Lord?
Or who has become His counselor?”
“Or who has first given to Him
And it shall be repaid to him?”
For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen.
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God" Romans 11:31-12:2.

"For You do not desire sacrifice, or else I would give it;
You do not delight in burnt offering.
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit,
A broken and a contrite heart—
These, O God, You will not despise" Psalm 51:16-17.

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