“For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it; you will not be pleased with a burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.” Psalm 51:16-17 (ESV)
“I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.” Romans 12:1 (ESV)
Seeing this got me thinking about worship… “Worship isn’t about performance. He just wants you there,” is such an amazing truth about worship that we so often overlook and take for granted. So I thought I would write down some of my recent meditations on the subject.
David was God’s chosen and anointed leader in Israel, unlike any before him. When Samuel took the horn of oil, “… the Spirit of the LORD rushed upon David,” but unlike any other figure in the Old Testament, it remained with him “from that day forward” (1 Samuel 16:13b). We read later that, David’s sin with Bathsheba “displeased God”, which arguably is one of, if not the biggest, understatements of entire the bible when read in context with David’s rule as Israel’s king and as God’s specially anointed. It was with great displeasure that God sent Nathan to rebuke David, and to pronounce judgment upon him. But even with God’s great displeasure, God’s spirit was still with David. We see that not only in David’s repentance but also in the Psalm that David wrote which followed this confrontation, Psalm 51(cf. 2 Sam 12:13).
Psalm 51, illustrates for us a model for our own repentance. David shows us in this profound Psalm that our sins are not inclusive to the ones we hurt or ourselves, but ultimately they are rooted in our rebellion against God; “against you, you only have I sinned” (v.4). What does this have to do with worship? Everything.
The laws and tabernacle service for Israel were how God had prescribed worship to be conducted. These acts involving sacrifices of animals and grain that prefigured Christ’s ultimate sacrifice on the cross, were how Israel performed temporary sacrifices to mediate, that is to make reconciliation, with God, just as Christ has done and continues to do for us. Here though David tells us that God doesn’t delight in those sacrifices, and takes no pleasure with those offerings (v.16). David tells us that “the sacrifices of God are a broken spirit,” and in doing so shows us what is required to offer sacrifices that God will not “despise” (cf. v. 17).
Our situation today may seem very different from David’s. We no longer have a tabernacle, and we have a greater connection and a greater mediator with God the Father, than the tabernacle could have ever provided. We have God the Son, our Lord, very God of very God, Jesus Christ who is our perfect Prophet, King, and High Priest. Paul tells us that in light of the Gospel we our to present our bodies as “living sacrifices” and that is our spiritual act of worship (Rom. 12:1). We are urged then to present ourselves as sacrifices but what we are faced with the challenge of how to, in our self-sacrifice and in serving God, do we present ourselves “holy and acceptable” to Him? This condition then, truly is not met based on your performance, but on the position of your heart. It is with a “broken and contrite heart,” that you sacrifice to God (Ps. 51:17).
Truly my friend, God wants not performance; He won’t accept bulls or burnt offerings, He doesn’t want your dollar bills, He doesn’t accept praise from the arrogant or the proud but it is in humility, in weeping, and in solemn lament over sin that God wants you to come and worship him. He wants YOU, as broken as you are to come and rejoice (cf. Luke 18:9-14).
God is not interested in your performance driven worship; he wants you “there” as you truly are, to see your sin and in brokenness and come before His throne. Then will he “delight” in your sacrifices and in your “offerings”, for “a broken and contrite heart, O God, You will not despise” (Ps. 51:19, 17b).
We have such a tremendous advantage over David. The Spirit that dwells in us, the Mediator we have, the King we serve is far greater than what David had. How much more then should our brokenness bring us to sing praise to our God? Do we come to worship to, sing songs and praises to him, feeling good about ourselves?
“Have mercy on me, O God,
according to your steadfast love;
according to your abundant mercy
blot out my transgressions.
Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
and cleanse me from my sin!”
-Ps. 51:1 (ESV)
Worship isn’t about your performance, because then that’s all it is, a “performance” and “act”. He just wants you “there”; as you truly are, with a “broken and contrite heart”. #everyday #everynight
Much love to all my CHMC brothers and sisters, I miss you Joe, I miss you all…
Love seeing God’s people in the front bowing in worship. What an amazing God we come before in prayer and praise, for the throne that judges and reveals the sin in us, the Prophet who like Nathan convicts us of our sin, and sovereignly judges over us, has turned that seat of perfect judgment in the throne of perfect grace (cf. Heb. 4:16, Heb. 7).
Hallelujah what Savior!