Numbers 8:1-9:3; Mark 13:14-27; Psalms 50:7-23; Proverbs 15:4
Psalms: “Listen, my people, and I will speak; I will testify against you, Israel. I am God, your God. I do not rebuke you for your sacrifices or for your burnt offerings, which are continually before me. I will not take a bull from your household or male goats from your pens, for every animal of the forest is mine, the cattle on a thousand hills. I know every bird of the mountains, and the creatures of the field are mine. If I were hungry, I would not tell you, for the world and everything in it is mine. Do I eat the flesh of bulls or drink the blood of goats? Offer a thanksgiving sacrifice to God, and pay your vows to the Most High. Call on me in a day of trouble; I will rescue you, and you will honor me. But God says to the wicked: What right do you have to recite my statutes and to take my covenant on your lips? You hate instruction and fling my words behind you… You have done these things, and I kept silent; you thought I was just like you. But I will rebuke you and lay out the case before you. Understand this, you who forget God, or I will tear you apart, and there will be no one to rescue you. Whoever offers a thanksgiving sacrifice honors me, and whoever orders his conduct, I will show him the salvation of God.” (Psalms 50:7-17, 21-23 CSB)
God had a message for the whole earth. First He delivered His message to His people. His people had made the worship of God to be all about external ritual instead of an expression of the heart. He did not rebuke them for their practice of worship. He rebuked them for the heart, or lack thereof, in which they were offering worship. God doesn’t require worship from us because He needs it. He requires worship from us because we need it. Otherwise, we would forget God and go our own way to our own demise. Sheep without a Shepherd will get lost and die. God doesn’t need anything from us. What we need is to maintain an attitude of humble thanksgiving and to trust the Lord completely. Then God had a message for the unbelieving. He said, what right do you have to quote my scriptures and claim that you know My ways when you actually hate My ways and treat My words as rubbish. How many times do ungodly people justify their actions by taking God’s words out of context… or try to manipulate people into following them by claiming they follow God. To those people, God says that they have deceived themselves into believing that God actually agrees with them, but they will eventually be indicted and found guilty. God’s final words contain a warning and a promise: If you forget God and ignore His words, you will eventually get torn apart, and no one will be there to rescue you. But, if you come to Me in an attitude of authentic worship, and follow My word, My will, and My ways, I will save you. What do we take from this? Are we truly worshipping God or are we just going through external ritual? Do we truly honor God’s word, will, and ways, or do we just pay lip service to the Lord and use portions of His words to serve our own agendas? Lord, search me, know me, show me.