TRUE WORSHIP IS ACCEPTABLE TO GOD
WHEN IT COMES FROM A RIGHTEOUS HEART
A good place to begin the study of TRUE WORSHIP is with the first example of worship found in the Bible, the story of Cain and Abel. In this account we learn that these two sons of Adam and Eve were different, not only in age and occupation, but also in character.Abel was a submissive shepherd (Genesis 4). This fact in itself, however, did not give him any natural advantage with God over his brother. Abel did not please God more simply because he was a keeper of sheep, and Cain was a tiller of the soil. Yet shepherding had been Abel's chosen profession, a choice that was based probably on a desire and ability to work with animals. It seems likely that Abel was quite satisfied that shepherding placed him in God's will.
What was obvious from Genesis 4 is that Abel understood God's requirements regarding sacrifices and offerings. "And the Lord respected Abel and his offerings" (Genesis 4:4). When it was time to bring an offering to God, it appears there was no argument from him - he was submissive to God's will and purposes.
In contrast to Abel, Cain was a farmer. When it came to pleasing God, Cain was not at a disadvantage simply because of his occupation. The farmer was then, as it is now, good and honest work. The prophet Amos was a farmer too - God certainly did not condemn Cain for his line of work. The Bible does not say why God rejected Cain's sacrifice.
1) TWO DIFFERENT KINDS OF HEARTS
2) TWO DIFFERENT KINDS OF WORSHIPS
"And in the process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought an offering of the fruit of the ground to the Lord. Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat. And the Lord respected Abel and his offering, but He did not
Even though their outward offerings of worship seemed very similar, Cain and Abel offered different expressions of worship - because their HEARTS were different. Of course, it was to be expected that the outward expressions of their worship would be similar, since both men were aware of God's requirements:
1) Both Men brought their offerings to God at a set time
2) Both also engaged in worship in the same place
- The words "brought
3) Both Cain and Abel were engaged in acts of worship
- The simple
The distinction is an important one, and it applies to everything we see in the world of religion today. Not all expressions of worship are truly worship. Abel's worship proved that he had a HEART of submission to the Lord: he understood God's Words and trusted them, and he acknowledged God's authority to prescribe worship. He also expressed his submission by giving God the BEST he had to offer. "Abel also brought of the FIRSTBORN of his flock and their fat." (Genesis 4:4) - these terms always indicate a sacrifice of the BEST!
By contrast, Cain's worship was
THE DIFFERENCE LAY NOT IN THE OFFERING
BUT RATHER IN THE OFFERERS!
3) GOD ACCEPTS ONLY TRUE WORSHIP
What was the difference? Cain and Abel worshiped at the same time, at the same place, and through the same outward actions. But God "had respect" for Abel's expression of worship; the phrase means that He regarded it favorably and accepted it kindly. In other
However, God "did not respect" Cain's expression of worship. Why not? What was wrong with Cain's worship?
Cain proved by his response to God's disapproval that
Cain became angry, and then he compounded his problems by refusing to do well. "If you do well, will you not be accepted?" the Lord asked; "and if you do not do well, sin lies at the door" (Genesis 4:7). When God rebukes us, as He did Cain, for failing to have a RIGHT HEART
In conclusion, THE ESSENCE OF TRUE WORSHIP - is expressed by those who have RIGHTEOUS HEART - those who are intimately acquainted with and has a daily relationship with God exhibited through OBEDIENCE.