Many attend church, but only a few worship. Worship is one of those things we may hear a lot in church but know so little about. Every Sunday we gather together for a “worship service” or worship experience. Have you ever thought why you come together with other believers to worship God? How would you define worship?
Worship (Webster) The act of showing respect and love for a god; reverence offered a divine being or supernatural power.
Holman Bible Dictionary: Worship is the human response to the perceived presence of the divine, a presence that transcends normal activity and is holy.
Worship is our response to God; we worship him because of who he is. Worship is translated bow down, reverent fear, prostrate as act of submission and reverence. “worship is a response to God. We can’t know God’s worth, much less declare it, unless God reveals himself to us. So God initiates worship by revealing himself to us. Then we respond, and the proper response is worship. The more we grasp his greatness, his power, his love, his character, the more we understand his worthiness, the better we can declare his worth – the better we can worship.” Michael Morrison
We should respond to God with all our being; mind, heart, body and strength. He knows when our response to him is not authentic. He examines the heart and knows our motivation. One thing that God doesn’t tolerate is irreverent worship. There were people who attempted to enter God’s presence ignoring the manner God has ordained to do so.
When it comes to worshiping God, you cannot worship whichever way you please. You must do it according to how he has commanded. Worship begins and ends with God; it’s about him and we must do it in a way that is pleasing and in accordance to his word, commands (statures, decrees). Any other way becomes irreverent.
During the time of the prophet Malachi. (5th century BC). Malachi prophesied during the time of Nehemiah, the Jews had rebuilt the second temple, but still struggled with being faithful to God; he condemned the corruption of the priests in their worship. Malachi called the Jews back to the covenant. This was God’s final words to his people until John the Baptist appeared in the Judean desert telling people to return to God.
God spoke through the prophet Malachi because his people had truly corrupted their worship; they were not honoring God as their Father and Lord. Those people knew how to worship God in a way that is honoring to him, but during this time they were disrespecting God in their worship. Could your worship be irreverent or disrespectful to God today? How could you be dishonoring God today? Let’s see how the Jews disrespected God in the 5th century BC. Malachi 1:6-14
The Jews were disrespecting God as their father and their Lord (v.6-7)
They had profaned (corrupted) the Great name of the LORD. God had spoken to them that His great name will be revered among the nations. God would swear by his own name because there is no one greater he could swear by. Gn.22:16; Heb.6:13. The name of the LORD is a strong tower (Ps.18:10). God had even made a command that people should not use His name in vain. (Det.5:11)
Disrespecting God with their offerings: (7-8)
– Offering defiled food on the altar (unclean food)
– Blind, crippled and diseased animals on the altar.
– By also saying that the table of the LORD is to be despised. This is what they were saying with allowing sick animals on the alter. (v.12)
These people were bringing God these offerings and God challenged them to offer the same offerings to their leaders to see if they would be delighted to receive rotten fruit, sick animals for their offerings.
They were asking God to bless them and this is the kind of worship and offering they bring to the King of Kings. (v.9) Do you think God will accept you with this offering?
It’s like someone who wants God to bless them, but they don’t want to offer God their best. Just left over; things they would not even offer to their ruling authorities.
It’s like a lady and the frozen turkey. She realized it had been in the freezer for a whole year. She called the company to make sure it was still good to eat. The person on the other hand told her that the quality of the flavor may not be the same because it had been frozen for a whole year. Then the lady replied, it’s ok I will give it to the church. We must understand that if it’s not good enough for you, then it’s not good enough for the church.
God wasn’t pleased with this worship. (v.10)
God wished the doors of the temple to be shut so they would not come to offer sacrifices.
Imagine that God would prefer a church be closed because of the kind of worship they offer to him.
When God is not please with your worship, you worship in vain. He would not accept it. Amos also addressed this issue of God not being pleased when his people disrespected him in worship. Amos 5:21-24
God does not tolerate when the people who claim to know him dishonor his name (v.11)
– My name will be great among the nations…pure offering should be brought before him. But you have profaned it by bringing crippled animals before God.
The priests profaned God’s altar (v.12) They knew people were bringing sick animals for the offering and rotten food and they went ahead with the sacrifices. God said to them “The Lord’s table is defiled and its food is contemptible (despised). The priests also viewed their service as a burden and sniffed at the sacrifices with displeasure.
Should I accept your worship in the way you are offering it? (v.13) Bringing crippled or diseased animals on the altar.
Curse is the cheat (who has an acceptable male in his flock and vows to give it, but then sacrifices a blemished animal to the Lord. (v.14) Curse is the person who vows to give God their best, but then offers God leftovers. How often do we do the same thing when it comes to our worship? We offer God the scraps, the leftover, not the best. We give God some attention, but not the best, not even some quality time.
For I am a great King says the LORD Almighty and my name is to be feared among the nations. If God is truly your king, your Father, your Master, shouldn’t you give him the best of what you must offer?
The more we grasp his greatness, his power, his love, his character, the more we understand his worthiness, the better we can declare his worth – the better we can worship.” Michael Morrison
We disrespect his name when we treat him less important than ourselves and others. We dishonor him when having the chance and opportunity of given him your best, you give him leftovers, scraps. God won’t accept disrespectful adoration. He won’t answer your prayers or hear your plea.
What are you offering your king today?