Saturday, September 24, 2011

Where Is Our Heart in Worship?

In the course of time Cain brought to the LORD an offering of the fruit of the ground, and Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat portions. And the LORD had regard for Abel and his offering, but for Cain and his offering he had no regard. So Cain was very angry, and his face fell. The LORD said to Cain, "Why are you angry, and why has your face fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it." (Gen. 4:3-7)

What is our attitude in worship? Is it something we 'must' do as in an obligation? Do we worship out of convenience when it suits our plans? Or do we worship God because we are in love with Him alone and cannot do anything but worship Him who gives us life?

The story of Cain and Abel is about two men from the same family. One labored the ground bearing fruit and the other tended sheep. The text only tells us that God had regard for Abel’s offering and not for Cain’s. It really does not say why. Mosaic law did require grain offerings so we cannot say God does not desire the fruit of the land. (Lev. 2) The clue maybe in the description of the offerings themselves. Abel brought forth the ‘firstborn’ and fat portions whereas Cain brought ‘an offering’ perhaps as an afterthought. And Cain did not take his rejection likely. Jealously ensued, murder and lying followed. In other words, we saw the true heart of Cain. (1 John 3:10) It is our true heart that God sees. (1 Sam. 16:7) Even a warning from God could not keep Cain from killing. So, when we gather for worship, let us ask ourselves, where is my heart in relation to my Maker? Is it centered on me and what I‘m doing, or is it totally centered on God alone and what He has done for me through His Blood upon the Cross?

The heart is the part of man which God chiefly notices in religion. The bowed head, and the bended knee–the grave face and the rigid posture–the ritual response, and the formal amen–all these together do not make up a spiritual worshiper. The eyes of God look further and deeper. He requires the worship of the heart. “My son,” he says to every one of us, “Give me your heart.” ~ J.C. Ryle