False opposite true worship which exalts the God of Israel

In the Faith Alive issue for August 2017 the Christadelphians explore the theme of worship: how, when, where, why and whom do we worship? Whose example should we follow? Whose should we not? What was worship like in the time of Abraham? And what might it be like in the kingdom?

The Bible is full of examples of true and false worship. True worship exalts the God of Israel, whereas false worship exalts other things or other people above God, often to the extent of denying His power and existence altogether.

Throughout the Bible, we are warned to avoid such false worship, often called idolatry. For millennia, it was common practice among the nations to devise gods who ruled over specific things like the harvest, fertility, rain or sun. Although these gods were said to have power over the elements, worshipping them was ultimately about a human desire for power and control. If a nation wanted rain, they offered sacrifices to the god of the rain. If they wanted to win a battle, they offered sacrifices to the god of war. Far from seeking a personal relationship with their gods and serving them in love, the question on their minds was:

“What can this god do for me?”

Our idols do not live on Mount Olympus, and we do not build household shrines for them into the walls of our living rooms. They are less obvious, more subtle, more insidious. They are hobbies and money, work and friends. They are the things that distract us from putting God first. Often, our biggest idol is our pride and our ego:

“What makes me feel happy? How can I look after number one?”

True worship takes the focus off self and directs our attention towards God. The God of Israel, whom we love and serve, asks for a humble attitude of mind, a gentle spirit and a heart willing to seek out the truth. True worship exalts God and acknowledges that He is in control. Rather than demanding things of God, true worship is about thankfulness and praise for the gifts He gives us.

God is not asking you to build an altar and burn animals on it. Instead, He asks for your commitment, loyalty and love. So let us offer our lives as living sacrifices, and honour our God by trying to imitate Him in all that we say and do.

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