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  • Writer's pictureFirst Christian Church of Chicago

What Is Wrong With Our Worship?

What is wrong with our worship?

I imagine that was the immediate response of the Jews to Isaiah 1:10-15. Who told us to do all of this stuff? You did, YHWH. You commanded the sacrifices in the first chapters of Leviticus. You gave instructions of festivals in the latter chapters.

However, this response overlooks several components of these verses:

1) The problem isn't the ritual observance, as much as it is the dishonoring "trampling of my courts". As a contemporary parallel think how people might see disrespect in stomping on the American flag. The other two components define what this disrespectful trampling entailed.

2) The pronoun used to describe the worship ritual is "your". It is used repeatedly. Their worship is about themselves. God isn't the object of worship.

3) The terms worthless and meaningless have idolatrous shading. The reason these worship ritual were without value is that they forced a pagan mindset of manipulating God onto the ritual.

What does all of that mean? The worship of Judah was flawed because it dishonored God by treating him as a vending machine. Instead of giving themselves in worship TO the One who blesses, they are giving themselves FOR the blessing. God simply becomes the tool to get what I want.

Do we have a problem with that distorted mindset in the American church? I believe we do. Worship often devolves into a personal seeking of fulfillment of our own entertainment desires. Prosperity Gospel treats God as a gumball machine. And worship can become a ritualistic practice that doesn't seek to do anything more than appease the gods whole we go on with life. Meanwhile, God grows disgusted because our worship is shown to be inauthentic because of our untransformed lives.

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