Monday, April 11, 2016

Heart WorshipI praise You seven times each day for Your fair decisions.”  (Psalm 119:164 IEB).

“I praise you.”  Who would fault the Psalmist for praising Yahweh?  Would a Christian fault the Psalmist for praising God seven times each day?  How can praising God be wrong regardless of the number?

Some might think the number is too shallow.  Seven?  Why not ten?  Someone else might think seven isn’t a magic number that must be met before one is “spiritual.”  What if a person only praised the Lord four times each day?  Does that make his faith inferior to the one who praises God seven times?  If another praised God ten times, would the seven times individual be inferior in faith to him?  Will the ten times person be the only one saved because ten is better than either seven or four?

Is it possible for the praise of all three to be acceptable?  On the other hand, could all three be unacceptable and the number be unimportant?

When our worship becomes a matter of, “I’ve completed my “x” number of praise for today, so that obligation is out of the way,”  there is a misunderstanding in our faith!

Under Judaism, three o’clock in the afternoon was one of the times for prayer at the Temple (Acts 3:1).  Peter and John were Jews.  They were going to the Temple at three o’clock because it was time for prayer.  They weren’t going because they wanted to disturb a Jewish prayer session.  The healed lame man did that, but not Peter and John.  When the session was over, it would give them an opportunity to speak to a large crowd, but if the lame man had not been present, would Peter and John have prayed?  Would they have prayed to keep up appearances?  Would they have prayed because they felt obligated to do so?  Would they have prayed because it was a good habitual thing to do, like going to church?  When one’s heart is not involved, how worthy are his actions?

The seven times of praise had meaning for the Psalmist.  If his actions brought criticism, the judgment would fall on the judge.  However, if the seven degraded into an unconscious habit, then what is its worth?  When one’s worship is primarily habitual, it has no meaning.  Israel did all the right actions, but without heart (Isaiah 1).

God doesn’t put a number on our praise.  What matters to Him is, “Where is our heart” (Matthew 15:8; Mark 7:6)?