Worship with a clean heart

1 Samuel 1:3

Here is the story of Hannah but, we’re only going to look at one verse here. Her husband regularly went up before the Lord of Hosts of Shiloh to worship and sacrifice. Here there is a distinction between worshiping and sacrifice. In Genesis, it was implied that the sacrifice was the worship of Abraham. But actually the worship was obedience, or
actually more at submission, by Abraham. Elkanah was obedient to God’s ordinances. It wasn’t that he could not worship God within his own house, but that was not where God wanted the people to sacrifice unless it was a hardship to travel to the Tabernacle. Therefore, sacrifice by itself is not worship. The reason that sacrifices had to be included in worship was because the remission of sins required the shedding of blood. We find that in Hebrews.

Heb 9:22 And almost all things are purified by blood according to the Law; and apart from shedding of blood no remission occurs.

The sacrifices pointed toward Jesus and had a purpose of softening or tenderizing hearts; making them look toward Him. This meant more to God than all the burnt offerings or sacrifices.

And in Mark …
Mar 12:33 "and to love Him from all the heart", and from all the understanding, "and from all the soul, and from all the strength;" (Deut. 6:4, 5) and "to love one's neighbor as oneself" (Lev. 19:18) is more than all the burnt offerings and the sacrifices.

That is the crucial lesson here. God points out the heart must be involved in worship of Him.

Psalm 32

Have you ever taken a cat to the vet?

We had to take our cat to the vet a few weeks ago and the caterwauling he set up all the way there and all the way back! “Ooooooooooout, out, I want ooooooooout,” was his plaintive cry. (This must be where that word comes from… CAT—er—wailing)

I was grateful it was only a 30 minute drive.

I can imagine David’s misery which he describes in this Psalm. Unconfessed sin makes the body sick.

Look at verse 3…

It is like borrowing money from a friend knowing you can’t pay it back. After awhile you start avoiding your friend. Soon, you’re ducking down hallways and going the long way around just so you won’t bump into your friend. Then you want to avoid your friend at all costs because you have built a wall. (Can you tell this happened to me?) The person you borrowed from doesn’t care about the money, never did care about it. Your friend loves the fellowship with you. That’s how God is. He wants that relationship with you, but sin breaks the fellowship on your part, not His. David finally understood this.

Psalm 32 – the ungodly can be reinstated into godliness. David is prostrate in repentance and worship. This was after Nathan had confronted him about his sin with Bathsheba. We get a peek into his heart in this Psalm.

His bones became old. Now, I’m growing older and I have more aches and pains than I ever had when I was younger. Just to get out of bed sometimes sounds like a tool box being turned over with all the clanks and grindings.

He was howling all day. Imagine that. King James translates it roaring. The word means literally “a rumbling or moan”, so I translate that as CAT-er-wailing.
He says in verse 5:

Psa 32:5 I confessed my sin to You, and I have not hidden my iniquity; I said, I will confess over my transgression to Jehovah; and You forgave the iniquity of my sin. Selah.
Glory! There is something so incredibly important here. First we see David angry at the injustice, then he is deeply repentant when he recognizes his own sin. (2 Samuel 12:13), Then he is prostrate (2 Samuel 12:16) for his son, fasting, seeking God in the hope God may have mercy and let his son live. David understands the deep necessity of confession in order to be right with the Lord and how God forgives. It is essential that we know beyond doubt that God forgives our transgressions.

Without that knowledge, we cannot worship from our heart. Without that knowledge, Satan builds a web of guilt and shame around us to keep us from Worshipping God.

Psalm 32:11 Be glad in Jehovah and rejoice, you righteous ones; and all the upright in heart, shout for joy.

David addresses it again in Psalm 51. He tells us Who to go to to get right with God. We can't do it on our own. God can.

Psalm 51:10 Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a steadfast spirit within me. 11 Do not cast me out from Your presence, and do not take Your Holy Spirit from me. 12 Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit.

We have established that there is much more to worship than singing and praising, although that is part of worship. The word Worship means to bow low and to serve. In actions, it means, Obedience regardless of the apparent cost, as Abraham obeyed. Sacrifice as ordained by God. Confession and repentance is crucial to experience worship as God would have us experience it... with a clean heart and a right spirit. It can be done from a distance as the Children of Israel did when God came to the Tabernacle, but is that how we should worship? It involves the heart (will), the ears (understanding).
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