Welcome to your morning coffee! As we said last week, each Monday our devotional will be looking back to Sunday's sermon, just collecting our thoughts and remembering again God's call in his word to make our remembrance full, by doing.
May our Heavenly Father call out to us, inviting us to worship him. Father expand our understanding of what it means to worship you, to submit our thinkings, doings, saying, and goings all to you. Father you are supremely worth our sincere singing, praying, reading, and thanking. In the name of Jesus, and by the power of the Spirit, he who lives within us, inspire us to worship you today, in all things, mindful of you and your love for us!
Your Morning Song: "No Longer Slaves" by Zach Williams
Your Morning Scripture: Revelation 4:4, 10-11
4 Around the throne (where Jesus sits) were twenty-four thrones, and seated on the thrones were twenty-four elders, clothed in white garments, with golden crowns on their heads.
9 And whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to him who is seated on the throne, who lives forever and ever, 10 the twenty-four elders fall down before him who is seated on the throne and worship him who lives forever and ever. They cast their crowns before the throne, saying,
11 “Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.”
If worship is doing or saying anything for the purpose of declaring and proving that God is "worth" it, then perhaps a more accurate word, however silly it might sound is "worth-ship." So what then could worship be? The answer is, of course, anything. Everything. God is worth singing to, praying to, reading about, listening to, working for, talking about, obeying, etc... Is there truly any area of our lives that could not and should not worship-full?
But why talk of worship's cost? Does it need to have a cost? And if so, why?
We covered several different areas of the Bible, starting in Genesis 4:1-10, 2 Samuel 24:10-24a, and Revelation 4 (esp. verses 4, 10-11 as quoted above).
In Genesis we see Cain's failure to worship God through a sacrifice. It's clear that Cain knew what to do and didn't do it. And it's clear that Cain's heart was not sincerely seeking worship, but was only paying lip service to God. And when his insincere worship failed, and was rejected, he did not repent and just try again, he murdered his brother.
The cost of worship is a sincere heart. God will accept nothing less.
In 2 Samuel we see the aftermath of David calling for a sinful census of the fighting men of Israel. This was a slap in the face to God, or perhaps even spitting in his face and trusting not in God's gracious divine deliverance, but in the "mighty" arm of man. And when David repents and places himself and the nation of Israel at the mercy of God's punishment (as opposed to man's), God calls for David to make a sacrifice, to worship him in repentant submission. The sacrifice calls for a specific building and specific things to be used, and the owner of the building and things offers them all to David for free. But David refuses the gift, and pays for all of it. Because a sacrifice without cost, true, repentant worship without cost, is worth-less. David, despite his sin, repented truly and fully, and worshiped God on God's terms, not his own.
The cost of worship is a submissive heart. God will accept nothing less.
In Revelation, in John's vision of Christ on the throne, we see twenty four elders sitting on their own thrones with their own crowns. And yet, when they worship Christ, they get off their thrones, they bow down, and they lay their crowns at the glorified feet of Jesus. Even then, even there, worship has a cost.
The cost of worship is a heart that holds God as supreme. And God will accept nothing less.
It is an uncomfortable thing, to be told that God might not accept our worship. But it is also an absolutely necessary thing, because God is not a bad father who will accept his children's behavior without question and call it all good.
No. God is a good father who is not so cruel as to give his pleasure to any one of us who does not treat him as supreme, deserving of our heart-deep submission and sincerity. Rejecting our worship for a time is good discipline. And who does God discipline? Those he loves.
God longs for our understanding for and delight in worshiping him to grow! And the deepest most abiding growth will come when we understand, accept, and embrace the cost of worship. Because the cost is worth the price to gain God's joy-full delight at our sincere, submitted hearts.