Human beings are incurably religious.They must ever seek someone or something to worship, and whatever it is that they worship, that is their god. One of life’s most stern and unyielding lessons is that what we worship shapes us completely. We grow like what we worship. Where a man-made image is in the place where only God should be, then that is idolatry, and it is still the most common of all the broken commandments.If your idea of God is wrong, nothing can ever be right because your roots are planted in polluted soil.
Jesus said five things about worship to a Samaritan woman, yesterday we looked at the first, the second is quite clearly some knowledge of God is essential. Left to ourselves we know nothing of God.
You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. John 4:22
The Jews knew that all images of the one invisible God were inadequate, misleading and evil. Graven images are strictly condemned by the Ten Commandments. The Jews knew that God is just and righteous, personal and all powerful, and that he is Lord of history and creation, and has a purpose for every human being; and that only God can save men from themselves. The Samaritans, however, seven centuries before, had been focused in worship, for political reasons, on golden calves, (the gods of productivity). Consequently they knew little in their religious worship about the one real God, and even less about a personal spiritual encounter with him.
All our modern arguments about worship seem to concentrate on statistics; the numbers who go to church and the numbers who don’t. ‘I can worship God in the open air’, some say.Of course we can: the question is, do we ever? I have been on church parades where, as T.E.Lawrence observed and cringed in his day, at ‘foul-mouthed, smirking, blaspheming soldiers who would sing like angels ‘casting down their golden crowns before the glassy sea’.
Ignorant worship is blasphemy. If you don’t know God, you can’t worship him: that’s what Jesus said, and that’s why many Christians believe that pagans merely going to a church service in ignorance can do more harm than good! Before people can worship God they need to know who God is, what he has done and what he requires of us. In short, the Gospel must come first.
Once again, hear those profound words of Psalm 33 v.12:
Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord …..
I only know you Lord because you revealed yourself to me: for this I bless and praise your holy name.
Now read Isaiah Chapter 43.