Monday, August 7, 2017

half of nothing

The Word for today:
Hosea 5:15-8:14
God seeks those who worship in spirit and in truth. Jesus told us that:
God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth. (John 4:24)
The people in Hosea's time were getting half of it right, which means they got it all wrong!
Worshiping in spirit means putting your heart into it: If you're happy and you know it, clap your hands!
That's the part the people in Hosea's day were getting right. They were enthusiastically religious. They worshiped the LORD, they worshiped the golden calf, they worshiped Baal. They tended to mix religions freely--to think that everybody's religion had a little truth in it, and the more religion you got, the better off you would be. Their worship was spirited, to be sure. But it was disconnected from the truth…
Bethel and "Beth-aven"
Bethel, located in Samaria, is mentioned more times in the Bible than any other city except Jerusalem. When Israel split into north and south, Jeroboam I made Bethel the religious sanctuary in the northern kingdom to replace Jerusalem, erecting a golden calf. There the worship of the one true God was mixed with the worship of Baal (Hosea 8:4-5; Hosea 10:5; cf. 1 Kings 12:26-30). Hosea sarcastically referred to Bethel ("house of God") as Beth-aven ("house of wickedness").
The Samaritan "woman at the well" brought this splintered religious background to her conversation with Jesus:
Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, and you Jews say that in Jerusalem is the place where one ought to worship. (John 4:20)
It was that remark that prompted Jesus to insist on both spirit and truth:
"Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father. You worship what you do not know…
But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. (John 4:21-23)
Then he led her to the truth:
The woman said to Him, "I know that Messiah is coming" (who is called Christ). "When He comes, He will tell us all things."
Jesus said to her, "I who speak to you am He."
 (John 4:25-26)
The Samaritan woman had been worshiping in spirit, but not in truth. But within the hour (just as Jesus had subtly foretold) she was spirit-edly telling the truth throughout the town:
And many of the Samaritans of that city believed in Him because of the word of the woman who testified, "He told me all that I ever did." (John 4:39)
She'd become the complete worshiper whom Jesus had just told her about!
She'd been deficient in truth, while some of us who know the truth lack for spirit. Whatever's missing, let's find it and bring it to God. Let's show him what he's been looking for.

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