Our weak efforts in worship
What is acceptable worship to God?
Let’s look at how Jesus makes our weak efforts into beautiful, acceptable worship.
The earthly High Priest of the Old Testament is a picture for us to understand the reality of worship now.
In Hebrews it says:
Every High Priest is selected from among men and is appointed to represent them in matters relating to God, to offer gifts, and sacrifices for sins.“Hebrews 5:1
Free will offerings
The High Priest offered throughout the year gifts, or free will offerings, which were brought to him by the people.
These gifts were offered for the glory of God, and to acknowledge that all we have is from God, and of His own do we offer back to Him.
This shows that all we bring to God must be free and not forced.
All our gifts which will include our praise and worship, pass through Jesus Christ the High Priest.
Our good deeds are presented by Jesus to God, so that all this is ‘worship’ and they are now acceptable to Him.
The High Priest inspected the offerings
What is acceptable worship?
The High priest in the Temple inspected these sacrifices first before he presented them to God.
He cut them through to the back bone, to see whether they were sound or not.
So the all-seeing Son of God now sees right through our actions, gifts and duties to God.
He now lays open our sacrifices.
And what cutting instrument does He use? In Hebrews it says:
For the Word of God is living and active sharper than any double edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.Hebrews 4:12-13
Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight.
Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of Him to whom we must give an account.“
This thought that all our actions, gifts and duties are inspected, would be unbearable if our High Priest was cruel.
But in Hebrews it continues:
Therefore since we have a Great High Priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess.Hebrews 4:14-16
For we do not have a High Priest who is unable to sympathise with our weaknesses, but we have One who has been tempted in every way, just as we are – yet without sin.
Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy, and find grace, to help us in our time of need.“
None of this speaks of a cruel High Priest, but One who is very willing to help, and provided we trust in Him, He will make our sincere gifts and duties acceptable to the Father.
What about our wrong attitudes during worship?
We can see something quite remarkable in regard to our worship when we see what the Lord said to Moses on how the Priests clothing should be:
Make a plate of pure gold and engrave on it as on a seal: ‘Holy to the Lord.’Exodus 28:36
Fasten a blue cord to it to attach it to the turban; it is to be on the front of the turban.
It will be on Aaron’s forehead, and he will bear the guilt involved in the sacred gifts the Israelite’s consecrate, whatever their gifts may be.
It will be on Aaron’s forehead continually so they will be acceptable to the Lord.“
There are multitudes of ways we can sin when we come to God in worship.
We can have wrong attitudes and motives.
Pride or jealously can rise up within us.
Or we can become lazy, or have wandering thoughts.
Even when we do good things, evil can be present in us.
Therefore God has provided an answer to this.
Our High Priest bears the guilt involved in our sacred gifts, so that they become acceptable worship to the Lord, provided we are sincere in what we bring before the Lord.
We may not know that our gifts to God are contaminated, but Jesus takes the guilt away, so that the worship is acceptable, and pleasing to the Father.
When we know we have sinned, we must go to our High Priest in faith.
The Apostle John wrote that it is the blood of Jesus which purifies us from all sin, and that if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just, and He will forgive us our sins, and purify us from all unrighteousness.
During the last supper with His disciples, Jesus poured out the wine and said:
This is My blood of the Covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.”Matthew 26:28
If we humbly go to Jesus to be forgiven, then any sin, and all sin will be washed from us.
And if we are humble in our worship then Jesus will make it into beautiful, acceptable worship.
See the next article: Jesus the Prayer Warrior Part 3
[i] The New York Public Library Digital Collections (opens a new window)
Sacrifice image: thanks to The Pictorial Dictionary published by The Educational Book Company, London.
Jesus image: thanks to GSP 100,000 clipart CD