Monday, January 20, 2020
I’m still sitting at the roadblock I encountered on Friday. I’m contemplating the connection between me and the people of Israel who were offending God by offering Him insincere worship. I wonder how I may be guilty of insincere worship. Do I wear a mask of love for God on Sunday and then remove it to expose a face of love for self on Monday?
Let’s look at the challenges God gave the people of Israel and create a personal check list. After all, that’s how we do it in this day of self-help – we create check lists to validate our growth and accomplishments so we can proclaim worth upon ourselves and move on.
Isaiah 58:6,7,9 …the kind of [worship] I want calls you to free those who are wrongly imprisoned and to stop oppressing those who work for you. Treat them fairly and give them what they earn. I want you to share your food with the hungry and to welcome poor wanderers into your homes. Give clothes to those who need them, and do not hide from relatives who need your help. Stop oppressing the helpless and stop making false accusations and spreading vicious rumors!
So here we go. God says that sincere worship is identified by the following attitudes and activities:
- Free those who are wrongly imprisoned. Since I’m not a judge or a lawyer, I can’t do this, so this does not apply. CHECK.
- Stop oppressing those who work for you. The church pays them, not me. I asked the church to give them a bigger raise, but it wasn’t in the budget. Not my fault. CHECK.
- Share your food with the hungry. Drove past a guy yesterday who said he was homeless, but I didn’t help him because the police said most of them are scam artists. I believe I did him a favor by not giving him anything so he is forced to get to work. If it was a real need, I think I would have helped. In fact, I bought breakfast for a stranger at a restaurant recently. Never mind the fact that he was fully capable of buying his own, it still helped him, right? CHECK.
- Welcome poor wanderers into your homes. Wait a minute; I have a wife to consider. We have hosted people in the past, but we’ve always known them. We even had missionaries stay with us for three months. We have a ministry person living with us right now. But poor wanderers? We must be careful these days. CHECK.
- Give clothes to those who need them. I’m really good here. I take used clothes to Goodwill and Hope Gospel Mission all the time. I even sent used clothes to orphans in Swaziland and even payed for shipping. BIG CHECK.
- Do not hide from relatives who need your help. Um, this is tough. They just continue to use me and it seems like I am enabling them. They say they will pay it back but never do. The Bible says in Proverbs to not lend money to relatives. I’m choosing to obey that. CHECK.
- Stop oppressing the helpless. I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone who is helpless, let alone oppress them. CHECK
- Stop making false accusations and spreading vicious rumors. I would never! The things I share are prayer requests or personal hurts on which I need advice. CHECK.
“There, the checklist is done, and I passed. Now Lord, take down the barricade and let me proceed…Lord. Lord. It’s not moving. I’m not able to proceed. Lord. LORD! I’ve done what you asked. I am a true worshipper, right? Then why isn’t the barrier moving?”
Looks like I’ll be here a little longer. I wonder what I’m supposed to see?