They worship me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules. Matthew 15:9
Every nation on the earth has thousands of rules to govern how the people are governed. Regardless of how much some may like or dislike rules, people desire them, because they want to always know exactly what they can and cannot do.
As good as some rules may be, they are not able to completely change the heart of a person. People seek to find ways around the rules, or break them anyway, expecting to not get caught.
The Pharisees had come to Jesus about the disciples not following a traditional rule made by man, trying to appear righteous. Jesus said that their worship of God was in vain, because all they were doing was following man-made rules.
Every week people all over the world go to a church to worship God. On the surface it appears that they are being good Christians in worshipping God. However, many are going only because that is what a ‘good’ Christian does.
In the same way many believers, and churches, come up with many rules on what a person must do or not do. There can be rules on dress, appearance, political beliefs, and more governing what they do or don’t do. The heart of the people is in looking good to others, not in pleasing and worshipping God. When the heart is like that, worship is worthless to God and a waste of time.
True worship of God will seek to please God in every area of one’s life in gratefulness for what Jesus has done for the believer. His life becomes one of worship of God, not just following some rules of man. It will never be about pleasing others or looking good, but about worship of God from the heart.
Today I pray that you will know Jesus as your Savior; that you will seek to please God with all of your life; that you will follow God’s ways over man’s; and that you will worship God from your heart with all of your life.
Whoever does not fall down and worship will immediately be thrown into a blazing furnace. Daniel 3:6
Everywhere a person goes there is always pressure being applied to get him to do something. Advertisements bombard a person daily to get one to purchase some item that he ‘needs’ to really live life. Pressure for a person to vote a certain way. There is pressure to like or accept certain things or lifestyles.
When a person does not give into those pressures, there is often some type of consequence. Unwritten, unofficial punishment occurs, a shunning, a push-back.
King Nebuchadnezzar had built a statue of gold of himself and wanted everyone to bow down and worship it. Several Jews chose not to bow down. Pressure was put upon them to bow down. The pressure was that if they chose not to bow down, they would be thrown into a furnace to be burnt alive.
While there are many things that are put upon a person to do that are not directly sinful, such as purchasing a new car, or buying a certain type of soda, there is a lot of pressure to do things that go against God’s word. Pressure is put upon a person to choose and accept sin in his life.
Most will not tell a person to lie, but pressure will be put on a person to ‘bend the truth’ a little. Or they will be asked to hide a situation, rather than call it out. In the individual life, one often feels pressure to overlook the ‘little’ sins in his life.
Although most won’t have to pay with their life in a furnace, there is a cost to compromising God’s holy standards. Sin is sin and leads to death.
Every believer must be willing to stand up for the standards of God in his own life and not give in to the pressures of this world to sin.
You will have pressure come against you to sin. Threats will be made that if you do not live, act, or speak a certain way there will be consequences against you.
In your heart you have to make a choice as to who you will serve and obey. Will it be God or will it be self and this world?
Allow yourself to be filled with God’s Holy Spirit and power to overcome the pressure to sin. Be willing to go into the furnace, rather than sin against God.
I pray today that you will know God’s holy standards to live by; that God will give you strength to stand up to pressure to sin; that you will seek God when being pressured to sin; and that you will trust God to preserve you when punished by this world.
for they have committed adultery and blood is on their hands. They committed adultery with their idols; they even sacrificed their children, whom they bore to me, as food for them. Ezekiel 23:37
Everyday people all over the world are seeking ways to make their own lives better. They want to be happier and have more things and a better life. In order to make this happen, they are often willing to do just about anything and everything.
In the process of seeking happiness, people will bow down to many different idols and are willing to sacrifice just about anything it takes. It is all about pleasing self.
God speaks to Ezekiel and gives a picture of what Israel had been doing. They are described as two sisters who were to be married to God, but had prostituted themselves to idols and sacrificed children to those idols.
In many parts of the world, most people would say that they refuse to worship idols or make human sacrifices. However, the reality is that many people bow down to worship their jobs, positions, titles, money, and things. As they bow down to worship these things, giving their lives to these things, they also begin to be willing to sacrifice whatever is necessary to get them.
Abortion is the modern way of saying that one is sacrificing to an idol. Worshipping the idol of self, money, job, or nearly anything else, people are willing to sacrifice a baby by abortion and think nothing of it.
While most in the church do not agree with abortion, there are many who do allow themselves to bow to other idols and sacrifices outside of God. They sacrifice time with their children to raise them in a God-fearing way of living. Do not sacrifice what is not yours to sacrifice.
Believers are to sacrifice their own lives to God and to God alone. God is the only one that anyone should be worshipping and sacrificing to.
Examine your life and determine who are you really worshipping and married too. What you give your life’s energy and focus to is what you worship.
Be willing to lay down your life for God and die daily to yourself. God will give you His life that will last for eternity. Sacrifice your life on the altar before God and allow Him to raise you up to eternal life.
I pray today that you will know Jesus as your Savior; that you will dedicate your life to worshipping and serving God; that you will only sacrifice to God; that you will serve God alone; and that you will not commit spiritual adultery against God.