“For Moses writes that the law’s way of making a person right with God requires obedience to all of its commands. But faith’s way of getting right with God says, “Don’t say in your heart, ‘Who will go up to heaven?’ (to bring Christ down to earth). And don’t say, ‘Who will go down to the place of the dead?’ (to bring Christ back to life again).””
Romans 10:5-7 NLT
Paul continues with his apparent obsession with the Law. He quotes a bit of Leviticus 18 , thought to have been written by Moses, – “You must obey all my regulations and be careful to obey my decrees, for I am the Lord your God. If you obey my decrees and my regulations, you will find life through them. I am the Lord” (Leviticus 18:4-5). There is no middle way for the Law-followers. All or nothing. To be made righteous through obeying the Law, all God’s “decrees” and “regulations” had to be followed. The Law’s content, as originally given by God through Moses, wasn’t difficult. Much of it was common sense. So it should have been easy to understand. But the trouble is that human beings start to make things difficult. The Rabbis, the Jewish leaders, started to introduce additional rules and regulations, and expanded on what God had said in the original Mosaic Jewish Law books. This made the Law more difficult to follow, and the intent of the Law, in terms of reconciling a person to God, was lost.
But before we pilgrims start to take the moral high ground and say that we would never get caught in such a trap, we need to look at our denominational liturgies and see how much they have strayed from the simplicity of the Gospel. For example, we have introduced prayer books, and a routine of worship by rote. The liturgy will have us bobbing up and down, and uttering pre-scripted responses and prayers, all the same, and repeated week after week. Before we know it we have replaced the spontaneity of relational worship to God with something that avoids us having to be engaged with the process. We sing the songs and hymns, enjoying the melodies, but not thinking about what we are singing. We sing songs with words like, “I will worship You with all of my heart (mind, strength)”. Really? Often our minds instead will be dwelling on yesterday’s football, or the meat in the oven. Or am I being too cynical?
Thankfully, God knows our feebleness. Our inability to keep our sin-soaked minds always focused on Him. Of course, we know how wonderful He is. We thank Him that His grace is unlimited. And we know that one day we will be amongst a great crowd of totally uninhibited worshippers. We read in Revelation 19:1, “After this, I heard what sounded like a vast crowd in heaven shouting, “Praise the Lord! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God”. What a time that will be! At long last we will be freed from the chains of humanity, able to worship God in the way that He deserves. But back to Planet Earth – by introducing spontaneity into our worship and prayers we get a brief glimpse of the wonders of Heaven. God doesn’t want us to be disengaged and so busy that we have no time for Him. Perhaps we need to look at our diaries and separate the essential from the indulgent. The last thing the enemy wants is for us to be close to our Maker. So he will load us up with busy-ness to keep us from true worship.
Jesus said to the Samaritan woman, as recorded in John 4:23, “But the time is coming—indeed it’s here now—when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. The Father is looking for those who will worship him that way”. God’s search hasn’t yet ended. He is always looking for faithful worshipers. Join me in reaching out to Him today, praying that we will indeed connect with our wonderful God in the way He desires.
Father God. You desire our worship, not because it is something You need but because it does something within us. Spirit to spirit we worship You today. Amen.