When Abram first came into the land of Canaan we see him building altar after altar to Jehovah. This is both a sign of God’s kindness, and a warning of His wrath upon those who won’t receive this kindness. Some are offended when later on in history God commands Israel to go on a Holy War against the Canaanites. Before God set the hosts of Israel into those battles to conquer the Promised Land, He first marched a prophetic witness to these nations in the form of Abram’s worship. Many Canaanites were, in fact, converted and brought under the care of Abram’s community.
There is important instruction for us here. God fights culture wars with worship. When God’s people worship, they declare the downfall of pagan idols. Abram set up altars to the Living God. In so doing he summoned all the worshippers of sun, moon, wood, and stone to forsake their feeble gods and find glory in the presence of God Most High.
Our worship each Lord’s Day is an act of prophetic ministry. The worship of the saints compels men to leave their impotent idols or else face God’s swift wrath. Our worship defies the glory of man as we insist on lifting high the name above all names.
But this worship must be done in true faith. You cannot worship God with your lips while treasuring up evil in your heart. This worship will be potent only insofar as it springs from evangelical faith. Faith that Christ has cleansed you. Faith that Christ is King. Faith that all the idols & idolaters will soon vanish, and only those who worship in spirit and in truth shall remain. In other words, our worship sets up an altar which both invites men to come and warns men of judgment to come.
God doesn’t desire cold worship. He doesn’t need our half-hearted songs. He has no interest in the tunes of hypocrites. He will not abide double living. He desires our worship because He sought us and bought us. The church of our day is too often anemic in our worship because our hearts are lifted up unto vain idols. May the Lord grant us true faith, faith in Christ and Him crucified. May He open our eyes to behold the great glory of Christ’s face and in so doing, cast down all idols. By looking to the glory of God in Christ all our follies & vanities will be driven out. And then our lips will be loosed to praise God from hearts made alive.
You can’t bring false worship to God and expect Him to be pleased. You can’t pull a fast one on the Almighty. This is why we must humble ourselves, laying before Him the honest truth of our sin, and then lay claim to the righteousness & free grace which is given to us through the Gospel of our Lord Jesus.