Friday, June 25, 2010

2010 – June 25 – When True Religion Becomes Idolatrous

Study from God’s Word Micah, Chapters 1 – 2 … Passage for Reflection: Micah 1: 5 … NIV 5 All this is because of Jacob's transgression, because of the sins of the house of Israel. What is Jacob's transgression? Is it not Samaria? What is Judah's high place? Is it not Jerusalem?

My Journal for Today: Micah came to prophesy in the south to the divided Jewish kingdom of Judah as did Amos in the north to Israel; and they both prophesied of impending disaster but a hope for the future for any remnant of believers who had faith in a coming Messiah, which we, Christians, now know was Jesus, some 700 years later. And Micah railed against the sin and idolatry of God’s people, even in Jerusalem, the holy city of the day; but he also ultimately brought a message of the coming Messiah to be born in Bethlehem, as I said we can now see that our hope lies in the Babe Who was born in that little town on the hills outside of Jerusalem.

In those days Judah had elevated worship in the Temple to a high order; yet sin, especially greed and covetousness became prominent in Jerusalem. And Micah brought the word of destruction to God’s people; and after the prophesied raising of the Temple by the Babylonians and the time of enslavement to these northern peoples, we see that Temple worship was re-established at the time the Messiah was born into the into “worship” that has become idolatrous.

Have you ever noticed what happens on Sunday mornings when the Pastor or the Elders of the church decide to freshen the worship by changing the order of service? Almost predictably there will be scathing complaints that the church is not doing things the “right way.” And the “right way,” of course, is, according to the complainers, the “way we’ve always done it.” And maybe you’ve read about the so-called WORSHIP WARS, which are going on these days between those who think that more contemporary forms of worship are expressions of the devil. And how about those who wouldn’t be seen not wearing their cross around their neck; or how about the people who complain if a visitor in church on Sunday gets a bit too “charismatic” by raising their hands too exuberantly, maybe coming from a more expressive style or habit of worship? Or do you get uncomfortable when you come to church and someone is sitting in “your seat” near the back of the sanctuary?

My friends, when we focus on the form of worship more than the reason – i.e., the Person – we have come to worship, the style of worship has become idolatry; and when such attitudes of the heart are prevalent in God’s house, I can’t help but think our Lord grieves rather than rejoices as we have come on Sundays to give Him praise and to worship His Holy Name. I agree with Dr. Smith that we have to ask ourselves if we’re worshipping form and format more than our Savior and Lord. I do pray against any such attitude in myself as I pray you will do as well.

My Prayer for Today: Lord, convict and chastise me if I come to focus on styles and formats of worship more than on You and You alone. Amen

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