John 5:1-18; 1 Chronicles 18-19; Zechariah 7
People checked with the priests to find out just how they should do their “religious thing” after the Exile. The big question was whether or not they were supposed to fast and mourn during the Fifth month as they did during the Exile. The word of God was simple and direct. He let them know that when they were doing that, it didn’t mean much anyway – they were doing it for themselves. While it’s good to be involved in worship, the form isn’t as important as the effect. What effect should come from worship? “Thus says the Lord of hosts: ‘Execute true justice, Show mercy and compassion Everyone to his brother. Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless, The alien or the poor. Let none of you plan evil in his heart Against his brother.’” (Zechariah 7:9-10) In short, it doesn’t matter how we worship God; it doesn’t matter what the style of music is; it doesn’t matter if we have three sermons or one; it doesn’t matter if we fast or feast if there is no heart change. Worship of God should inspire a justice that doesn’t take financial status into consideration. Worship of God should cause us to love people as He loved us. Worship of God should make us more merciful and compassionate – even to those who “don’t deserve it.” Remember, those same people might think the same about us. Worship of God does not take advantage of those without advocates or protectors – specifically widows and those without fathers; specifically aliens and the poor. Worship of God should cause us to stop desiring and planning evil against our brother. Revenge is no longer an option. Too often it’s easy to go to a time of “worship” where we focus on God for an hour or two and then leave, having done the “God thing,” without making any changes in our lives. True worship should affect our lives and mold us into the people that God wants us to be throughout our lives.
Lord, so often I go to a worship service and focus on the trappings without letting You work in my heart to make the changes that need to be made. Help me by stripping away my selfish pride and arrogance and create a new heart in me – a heart humble and ready to serve You by caring for the people You care for.