Have you ever realized that Google isn’t as good as it used to be? There was once a time where you could type in something very specific, and the search engine would hunt out that exact thing that you were looking for and present you a list of relevant findings. Nowadays, if you type something specific into Google, you’re more likely to be presented with something vague and mainstream with suggestions of what other people searched for, and a host of other useless bells and whistles, not to mention – advertising. I’ve actually noticed, that sometimes you can drastically change the search criteria, and get exactly the same results. Needless to say, I have been feeling the frustration.
Throughout his word, God tells us what he wants – the kind of worship that pleases him. He goes to great detail in the books of Moses, and scattered throughout the New Testament also. But I’m afraid that like Google, many professing Christians, don’t give to God the worship he requested. Either they’re ignorant of what God has said, or they can’t assimilate it, one way or another the voice of God fails to register. Then, whatever comes next is false worship – worship God did not request. Whether it be icons, architecture and candles, or stages, screens and mixing desks, or organs, suits and pews, or even poverty, fasting, and self-mutilation – if God didn’t request it, He didn’t request it.
In Leviticus 10, Nadab and Abihu present an offering of incense to the Lord – one he did not request. What happens? Fire comes out from the Tabernacle and incinerates them both. No warning, just death. Suddenly and swiftly they are burned to ashes. Oh they had good intentions. Oh they loved the Lord. But even still there was no mercy for either of them.
Now this is not just a record of a time when God lost his temper back in the Old Testament. No no. God never changes. If that’s how he feels about false worship back then, then that’s how he feels about false worship right now. The only reason we don’t see anyone burned alive now is because God is patient, waiting and pleading with people to abandon their false worship and worship him in spirit and in truth (John 4:24).
This emphasis on truth is essential. Only through the scriptures can we ascertain what God wants, who God is, what he’s done, for what kind of people, and at what cost. In short – we need to know the gospel. Then, and only then, will we be led to true worship. Any deviation from this will always result in false worship – worship God did not request.
So let’s not be neglectful of the things of God, but take up his word, listen carefully to what he says, and then go and put it into practice.