Daily Readings & Thought for August 12th . “IN VAIN DO THEY WORSHIP”
Although atheism is rife in our country, is not an even greater disaster those who go to places of Christian worship and yet, in God’s eyes, fail to offer to him the heart-felt worship he seeks. The wide variety of Churches must surely indicate this. But we must avoid a judgmental attitude, that is God’s prerogative, however we cannot help seeing some of the differences between first century Christianity and that which exists today. .
Our first aim must be to make sure we ourselves are approaching God and His Son in the way he desires.
Our second aim should be to try to help others whom we fear are failing in their approach to effectively worship God. Now Jesus, in confronting this failure, bluntly said that the type of worship he was seeing was ”in vain.” How tragic that any worship is in vain. One cannot totally blame the atheist and agnostic when they turn their backs on Christianity as they see such a contradictory mix of churches .
A major reason why we read the Bible every day is to get a right understanding of what God and his Son Jesus, require of us. Only through God’s word do we learn how they should be served and worshipped.
In today’s reading (Mark 7) Jesus calls the Pharisees and Scribes “hypocrites”[v.6], that is, people who put on a false front. He quotes what God caused Isaiah to prophecy (as in his 29th chapter v.13); for God declared, “This people honours me with their lips, but their heart is far from me, in vain do they worship me; teaching as doctrine the commandments of men.”[v.7]
How much worship today is pleasing to God? Only God knows, but the above quotation shows there are two aspects we must get right. Our attitude of heart, worship is not just a ritual, it must reflect the desires we feel in our heart. Secondly, that the things we teach and believe are truly confirmed by God’s word.
Words we read a week ago in the last chapter of Romans spring to mind, “watch for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine you have been taught; avoid them. For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites …” [v.17,18] Let us make sure our appetite is fed every day by the word of God, the words of Jesus ringing in our minds, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.” [John 6 v.35].