A Voice in the
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Re: False Praise

"And a very great multitude spread their clothes on the road; others cut down branches from the trees and spread them in the way. And the multitudes who went before and those who followed cried out, saying: Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest! And when He had come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved, saying, Who is this? And the multitudes said, This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth of Galilee." (Mt21:8-11)

"Serpents! Offspring of vipers! How will you escape the condemnation of hell? O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her, how often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing! Behold, your house is left to you desolate. For I say to you: You shall see Me no more till you say, Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!" (Mt23:33,37-39)

Notice how both passages include the same expression: "Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!"

"Praise the Lord! Bless You Jesus! Hallelujah! Glory be to God!" It almost feels blasphemous to type those words, knowing their context which follows...

Ever since the "Jesus people" movement of the 70s, there have been segments of christendom whose characteristic seems to be the uttering of -words- of 'praise'. They do it in what they call "worship". If another might be giving words of exhortation, doctrine or judgment, they would exude their air of superiority over those being so 'judgmental' as to proclaim 'doctrine', as they would drown out what they called "divisiveness" with vocal utterances of, "Amen! Praise you Jesus! Praise the Lord!" as they would overtly turn a deaf ear to the words of Scriptural exhortation. You see...they are spiritually superior; after all, if you don't believe it, just listen to them "praising God"! And doesn't the Bible say, "Praise is becoming to the upright." (Ps33:1) ?? As the group "Love Song" of that era would sing, that the preacher was no longer "preachin' no more", but he "just wants to PRAISE THE LORD!"

Please read those two opening passages again, and then take note of their chapter references; the 'order' of events. Notice that in ch23 Jesus is decrying the hypocrisy and sin of the Scribes and Pharisees, and bewailing Jerusalem. Notice how He prophesies that, after their judgment, that even though they were rejecting Him 'now', that at a 'future' time they would be welcoming Him by saying, "Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!"

But, hadn't they -already- welcomed Him in ch21 with just those same words? Well, the scribes and pharisees hadn't, but 'Jerusalem' did. But a few days later, what were those same non-scribe and non-pharisee people yelling? "Crucify Him! Crucify Him! (Lk23:21) and again... "His blood be on us and on our children." (Mt27:25)

Of what use was their praise on Sunday, when on Thursday morning the same people were yelling out to "Crucify Him!" ??

How many today "Praise the Lord" on Sundays, and during the week proclaim, "Away with Him! We have no king but Caesar!" (Jn19:15) Jesus had taught "Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar‘s, and to God the things that are God‘s." (Mt22:21) He also taught that "No one is able to serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will hold to the one and despise the other. It is not possible to serve God and mammon." (Mt6:24)

Oh but, you say, I don't say "Away with Him!" like -THEY- did!

Jesus also asked/chided: "But why do you call Me Lord, Lord, and do not do what I say?" (Lk6:46) and again: "Not everyone who says to Me, Lord, Lord, will enter the kingdom of Heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in Heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many works of power in Your name? And then I will declare to them, I never knew you; depart from Me, you who work out lawlessness!" (Mt7:21-23)

If a person refuses to "be doers of the Word" (Ja1:22), is that not the same as saying, "Away with Him!" ?? Jesus said, "If you love Me, keep My commandments" (Jn14:15) If a person doesn't obey Him, he is a "liar" when he claims to love Christ. (1Jn2:4,4:20) What's the difference if a person turns away from the Lord in disobedience, or tells Jesus to "go away"? In other words: "Away with Him!" ?? I don't see any difference.

What does God want from us?

While He certainly set up "praise" as part of Israel's worship, most of the "praise" recorded in Scripture is what man utters in response to God's goodness and mercy.

We don't see so much of God sitting in Heaven yearning for man's praise, as much as... "Has Jehovah as great a delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in to obey the voice of Jehovah? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed than the fat of rams." (1Sa15:22)

God did not include in the Law a commandment #11: "You shall praise Me" But rather, through Moses (and others) says to "Love Jehovah your God" (De6:5) and of the "statutes and judgments, for you to do them" (De4:14)

"O man, He has declared to you what is good. And what does Jehovah require of you, but to do justice, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God." (Mic6:8)

And so...
when worship and praise is done in the context of disobedience, God says, "Take away from Me the noise of your songs; for I will not hear the melody of your lutes." (Am5:23) (lute, the granddaddy of the guitar)

The "sweet psalmist of Israel" (2Sa23:1), the one who wrote most of the Psalms, when facing God for his own sins acknowledges: "For You do not desire sacrifice, or else I would give it; You do not delight in burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise." (Ps51:16-17)

God wants our hearts: "My son, give Me your heart, and let your eyes take pleasure in observing My ways." (Pr23:26)

You see, the lyrics of the worship music as God ordained it was of the order: "to give thanks unto Jehovah, because His mercy is eternal" (1Ch16:41) 'Mercy' having to do with atonment and forgiveness...not giddy emotional feel-good sentiments and mantras...because we think 'we' are so wonderful and happy. The great hymn (one of my favorites) "Great is Thy faithfulness" comes from the context, not of man's goodness and innate joy, but of God's mercy in not "consuming" us for our sins. "Through Jehovah’s kindness we are not consumed, because His compassions never fail." (Lam3:22-23)

"But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will do homage to the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father seeks such to do homage to Him. God is Spirit, and those who do homage to Him must do homage in spirit and truth." (Jn4:23-24)

Amen!