Season 2, Episode 15
For Friday, November 20, 2015
“True Worship Is That Which God Desires”
HOST: Wade Webster
It is a great joy to be able to give someone what they want. In worship, we get to experience this joy firsthand. Although God doesn’t need our worship, He does desire it (John 4:23-24). In this study, we want to examine a number of verses that show God’s deep desire for us to worship Him in spirit and in truth.
It is a great delight to be able to give someone what they want. Just think of how it feels for a parent to give a child what they have been wanting for months. The parent probably derives as much joy from the gift as the child.
In worship, we get to give God what He wants. To the woman at the well, Jesus declared, “But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth” (John 4:23-24). The word “seeketh” means “to desire” (Strong’s #2212). God desires true worshippers. He desires for men and women to worship Him in spirit and in truth.
Please understand that worship is not giving God what He needs. It is giving Him what He wants. God does not need anything. The Psalmist declared, “Hear, O my people, and I will speak; O Israel, and I will testify against thee: I am God, even thy God. I will not reprove thee for thy sacrifices or thy burnt offerings, to have been continually before me. I will take no bullock out of thy house, nor he goats out of thy folds. For every beast of the forest is mine, and the cattle upon a thousand hills. I know all the fowls of the mountains: and the wild beasts of the field are mine. If I were hungry, I would not tell thee: for the world is mine, and the fulness thereof” (Psa. 50:7-12). Although God does not need our worship, He does want it. Isn’t it wonderful to know that God desires our worship? Isn’t it wonderful to know that God derives great pleasure from our worship?
The Bible makes clear that man was created for God’s pleasure. In the book of Revelation, John pictures the following scene of worship: “The four and twenty elders fall down before him that sat on the throne, and worship him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying, Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power : for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created” (Rev. 4:10-11). Notice that all things, including man, were created for God’s pleasure.
Think of the pleasure that God derives when the eagle soars hundreds of feet above the ground. Think of the joy that God feels when the cheetah turns on a burst of speed on the African plain. Think of the delight that He feels when a whitetail flags and bolts for cover at the sight or the sound of a hunter. God made them to do these very things. Yet, the pleasure that is derived from these creatures must pale in comparison to the pleasure that God feels when man, made in His own image, humbly bows in worship. After all, that is what He created man to do.
Just as a father delights in the good actions of his children, God delights in the good actions of His sons and daughters. Over and over again, the inspired writers speak of the delight that God derives from His people. No doubt, this delight includes their worship as well as their service. Let’s consider a few of the passages:
- 1 Chron. 29:17 – “I know also, my God, that thou triest the heart, and hast pleasure in uprightness.As for me, in the uprightness of mine heart I have willingly offered all these things: and now have I seen with joy thy people, which are present here, to offer willingly unto thee.” David knew that God found great pleasure in the offerings of the upright.
- Psa. 45:11 – “So shall the king greatly desire thy beauty: for he is thy Lord; and worship thou him.” As a man desires to see his bride, God desires to see His people. They are beautiful to Him.
- Psa. 132:11-14 – “The LORD hath sworn in truth unto David; he will not turn from it; Of the fruit of thy body will I set upon thy throne. If thy children will keep my covenant and my testimony that I shall teach them, their children shall also sit upon thy throne for evermore. For the LORD hath chosen Zion; he hath desired it for his habitation. This is my rest for ever: here will I dwell; for I have desired it.” Notice that God desired Zion for His dwelling place. Today, God desires the church as His dwelling place (Eph. 1:22-23). He derives great pleasure when His people gather to give glory and honor to His great name.
- Psa. 147:9-11 – “He giveth to the beast his food, and to the young ravens which cry. He delighteth not in the strength of the horse: he taketh not pleasure in the legs of a man. The LORD taketh pleasure in them that fear him, in those that hope in his mercy. Praise the LORD, O Jerusalem; praise thy God, O Zion.” God takes great pleasure in those that fear or reverence Him.
- Psa. 149:4 – “For the LORD taketh pleasure in his people: he will beautify the meek with salvation.” Where does God find pleasure? The psalmist answers, “In His people.”
- Hag. 1:8 – “Go up to the mountain, and bring wood, and build the house; and I will take pleasure in it, and I will be glorified, saith the LORD.” If you are familiar with the time of Haggai, then you know that the people had built themselves nice houses while the house of God was in ruins. The prophet was sent to get them to consider and to change their ways. God promised that if they would build His house, and put Him first, that He would take pleasure in it and be glorified.
- Prov. 15:8 – “The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD: but the prayer of the upright is his delight.” While the Lord hates the worship of the wicked, He loves the worship of the righteous.
- Lk. 22:15 – “And he said unto them, With desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer.” The Lord greatly desired to be with His disciples before His death to commune and to worship with them. In like manner, He greatly desires to be with His disciples today to worship and commune with them (Mt. 18:20).
These passages make clear that God takes great pleasure in the actions and adoration of His people. Surely, we should want to offer that which delights our Maker, Sustainer, and Redeemer.
Obviously, not all worship or all worshippers are pleasing to God. The context makes clear that God desires worshippers who worship in spirit and in truth (John 4:23-24). God derives no pleasure from false or vain worship. In fact, in the days of the prophet Malachi, God expressed His desire for someone to close the doors to His house because His people were not worshipping Him in spirit and in truth. We read,
A son honoureth his father, and a servant his master: if then I be a father, where is mine honour? and if I be a master, where is my fear? saith the LORD of hosts unto you, O priests, that despise my name. And ye say, Wherein have we despised thy name? Ye offer polluted bread upon mine altar; and ye say, Wherein have we polluted thee? In that ye say, The table of the LORD is contemptible. And if ye offer the blind for sacrifice, is it not evil? and if ye offer the lame and sick , is it not evil? offer it now unto thy governor; will he be pleased with thee, or accept thy person? saith the LORD of hosts. And now, I pray you, beseech God that he will be gracious unto us: this hath been by your means: will he regard your persons? saith the LORD of hosts. Who is there even among you that would shut the doors for nought? neither do ye kindle fire on mine altar for nought. I have no pleasure in you, saith the LORD of hosts, neither will I accept an offering at your hand. For from the rising of the sun even unto the going down of the same my name shall be great among the Gentiles; and in every place incense shall be offered unto my name, and a pure offering: for my name shall be great among the heathen, saith the LORD of hosts. But ye have profaned it, in that ye say, The table of the LORD is polluted ; and the fruit thereof, even his meat, is contemptible (Mal. 1:6-12).
If you are familiar with the Old Testament, then you know that the same problem existed in the days of Isaiah and Hosea (Isa. 1:10-17; Hos. 6:6). Sadly, it still exists in various locations among God’s people today.
As we get ready to worship this week, let’s make sure that we give God what He desires. Let’s make sure that we worship Him in spirit and in truth.
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