Thought for the Lord’s Day

Posted on · Posted in Worship

The Danger of Worship Words


God is the heart knower. In fact, he is the only one who knows the content of your heart. But, even with this knowledge, you and I can be foolish enough to come before God with words that mask the thoughts of our hearts. We can speak and sing words that make us acceptable, even pleasing to others, while we hide the reality of our troubled heart.


Israel had this same problem.  They honored God with his Psalms. They said Hallelujah when they heard his truth.  But their hearts were distant. Their hearts were busy with their own desires.


Too often we do these same things today. We sing hymns and Psalms that claim that we have forsaken all others for God. We confess The Apostle’s  Creed, while we live by another creed more pleasing to our flesh.  We may follow a worship tradition designed to entertain and make us comfortable.  We are uncomfortable with humility.  We care more about how others view us than we do about having a heart that is clean before the Heart Knower. 


Worship words are dangerous words if they are only for people to hear. In contrast David asked God that the words of his mouth would be consistent with mediations of his heart. He prayed that the words of his mouth and the thoughts of his heart would be pleasing to his God.  But many years after David Israel had forgotten that God listens not only to what is said, but also to the thoughts of the heart.  They had become comfortable with worship words.



And so the Lord says,
    “These people say they are mine.
They honor me with their lips,
    but their hearts are far from me.
And their worship of me
    is nothing but man-made rules learned by rote. 

Isaiah 29:13

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Jay Younts
John A. (Jay) Younts is the Shepherd Press blogger, and is a ruling elder serving at Redeemer Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church in Moore, South Carolina. He has written Everyday Talk, Everyday Talk About Sex & Marriage, Finding the Right Track, the In Touch With Paul stewardship series, and What About War. He has studied and taught about biblical childrearing for 30 years. He and his late wife Ruth have five adult children.