#DailyDevotion Worshipping The Lord From The Heart
Mark 7:5 And the Pharisees and the scribes asked him, “Why do your disciples not walk according to the tradition of the elders, but eat with defiled hands?” 6 And he said to them, “Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written, “‘This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; 7 in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’ 8 You leave the commandment of God and hold to the tradition of men.”
So the Pharisees and scribes are getting on Jesus for allowing his disciples to eat with unwashed hands or hands that are common, profane. Now you will not find anywhere in the books of Moses a commandment for all Israel to wash their hands. Now what is true is the Lord gave a number of commands to the Israelites to distinguish themselves from their neighbor and be holy. Washing hands before meals was something the elders of the Jews made up to make themselves distinct, holy, separate from the nations around them.
But you see, we aren’t allowed to make up stuff to make ourselves holy unto the Lord. In many ways the traditions of the elders either made up something wholesale, subtracted from the commandments of God or added to them in order to keep the Law of the Lord. But the Lord strictly forbade doing this sort of thing. As Jesus said, they left the commandment of God and held to the tradition of men.
Jesus tells them they fulfill the prophet’s word, “you honor me with your lips, but your heart is far from me.” They had an appearance of godliness but denied the power of the Lord and his word. It is a trap we all may fall into. We may make up things to do thinking it is pleasing to God and holy but if God did not give it to us to do, it is not holy. There is nothing wrong with traditions, as long as we keep them in their place, as human ordinances to help keep order but not to make us holy or as if we were serving God with them.
The heart of the matter is the heart. Not our little muscle pumping away blood so that we may live but the center of our being, the seat of our mind and emotions. It is whence everything about us that makes us us abides. That is what the Lord wants devoted to him. From the heart the Lord Jesus wants to be feared, loved and trusted. Many times we go to corporate worship and we don’t pay attention to what we do or what we say or what we are listening to. In those times when we are just going through the motions and our heart is not in it. Jesus calls us to pay attention. It’s not an excuse to cast aside everything we do by rote because a lot of so called from the heart worship is just as rote and mechanical. It takes some work on our part to listen to God word, believe that word and live that word out in our lives. It takes some efforts to truly give thanks and praise to the Lord from the heart. Yet with the gift of the Holy Spirit we make a beginning of it. The Good News that Jesus reconciled us to the Father, forgives our sins and gives us new life by the power of the Holy Spirit gives us hearts that fear, love and trust in God above all things. Use that faith that trusts Jesus to worship God from your heart.
Heavenly Father, you desire us to worship you from our hearts. Break our hearts of stone and give us hearts that worship you in spirit and in truth by the power of the Holy Spirit. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.