The Heart of Worship
If someone were to say, "Jack of all trades." It might make a person pop up in your mind; you could have said that about the handyman that is working on your house. But do you know the meaning behind the statement?
The Collins dictionary states, "If you refer to someone as a jack-of-all-trades, you mean that they are able to do a variety of different jobs. You are also often suggesting that they are not very good at any of these jobs." That last portion may make you rethink calling a good friend that term.
What about the statement from Psalms 50:10? "For every beast of the forest is mine, and the cattle upon a thousand hills." I have heard this several times as a way to comfort another believer. Still, the question should be raised "Is this really a comforting statement?"
This Psalm is written by Asaph, who is painting the picture of a court scene for the readers. At the beginning of Psalms 50, we can see that the Almighty God of Israel using words that show that He is taking His people to court to sue them. In Verse 4 we read, "He shall call to the heavens from above, and to the earth, that he may judge his people." He summons the heavens and the earth as His witness against the nation of Israel. Not only will He be the judge in this trial, as stated in verse 6, but as we continue reading on to verse 7, we see that God will also testify against the nation of Israel.
When we are reading through those beginning verses, it may make us start to rethinking verse 10, right?
What did Israel do that God would take the Nation of Israel to court? In verse 7, we read, "Hear, O my people, and I will speak; O Israel, and I will testify against thee: I am God, even thy God." This statement is similar to Deuteronomy 6:4; it's a call that begins with the imperative ( שִׁמְעָ֤הšim·ʿā(h) to Hear or listen. Closing with the statement, "I am God, even thy God." (אֱלֹהֶ֣יךָʾělō·hêʹ·ḵā) instead of the more common "I am the Lord."
Was it because Israel was not doing their job, were they not sacrificing? Actually, God wasn't rebuking them over their sacrifices at all! Instead, it was how the nation of Israel would give to God. He points out in verse 8 that the sacrifices have been placed before Him continually.
God makes the statement in verse 10. "For every breast of the forest in mine, and the cattle upon a thousand hills." Does this mean that we need not worry about life, or that God is blessing us with the cattle of the field? No, this verse is given to remind the nation that He doesn't need their sacrifices. He created and owns all things dwelling on the earth. God becomes more vocal about this point as Israel was "preparing a meal" for God- in verse 12-13, we read, " If I were hungry, I would not tell thee: for the world is mine, and the fullness thereof. Will I eat the flesh of bulls, or drink the blood of goats?" He is not looking for breakfast, lunch, or dinner from the Israelites.
In verse 14, God signals what He is looking for in worship "Offer unto God thanksgiving."
God gives a list of sins that the nation is doing to break their covenant with God. They made friends with thieves, and partakers with adulterers (vs. 18) they use their mouths for evil, and their tongues fathomed deceit (vs.19). They speak against their brother, and they slander their mothers' son (vs. 20)
I'm sure by now you would say well, of course, God doesn't want worship from those sinful people! What does this have to do with me? In verse 22, it states, "ye that forget God," but did they really forget God? Looking back at verse 5, if you remember, the sacrifices were always before Him. In the Far Eastern region, it was common for people to believe it was their obligation to serve their gods three meals a day. It would appear that they adopted such an idea that meeting the needs of God would allow humankind to manipulate Him in some way.
Ouch! That steps on a few toes. For many believers, the thought is, I attend church, sing in the choir, I give my tithe, and even work in the nursery, so how many blessings can I get from God by serving Him? We need to ask when we worship God, what is the underlying cause of such worship? Are we honoring God in our worship, or do we worship to gain or manipulate God into getting what we want?
"Whoso offereth praise glorifieth me: and to him that ordereth his conversation aright will I shew the salvation of God." God desires your heart; He wants you not your money, time, or goods.
The final question remains, are you giving your goods, money, and time to God to gain favor or blessing, or are you giving Him your heart?