I finished reading Exploring the Worship Spectrum and it left me with more questions than answers. So I go to the Scriptures to see what I can glean there.
Genesis 4:3-5 – In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the Lord. But Abel brought fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The Lord looked with favor on Abel and his offering, but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast.
Cain and Abel decided to bring offerings to the Lord. Could this have been the first time offering was initiated by mankind? If so, it required desire, planning, sacrifice, time, place and some guesswork. What would God like?
Somehow God let them know that he was pleased with animal sacrifice and he was not pleased with vegetable sacrifice. Who would have guessed? Yet, worship is about pleasing God, is it not?
Nature proclaims loudly that God is a rewarder of those who diligently seek him. So we seek what pleases him. We don’t just do what suits us.
Cain’s response showed his heart. He wanted God to accept him the way he was. It hadn’t crossed his mind that he might need to go out of his way to please God.
Maybe it seems unfair, since what came easy for Abel was accepted by God and what came easy for Cain was not accepted. Well, unfair or not, that’s the way God is. Let’s commit ourselves to worshiping him. Let’s find out what pleases him. Let’s give of our best intent, planning, sacrifice, timing, places and guesswork to tell him we love him.
I write this on Valentine’s Day. I sing baritone in a barbershop quartet and this is our big day. Many people pay for us to present a “singing Valentine” to their sweethearts. It takes planning, costs $30, and involves a little risk. (What if she doesn’t like it or is embarrassed?) Part of expressing love is risking, learning what pleases our beloved, and then expressing love better in the future.
I pray that we will initiate worship that is ever more responsive to what pleases God.