Todays reading spoke about worship wars and how there is a price to be paid as a result. By juxtaposing Cain and Able's story with World War II, the author brought to light the fact that both instances were started by personal preference, the desire to make one's preferences acceptable to all. Cain and Able brought different offerings to God, of which God accepted Able's and not Cain's. This was not out of material refusal, but the heart of the matter. Able brought his offering at a cost to himself, while Cain brought his offering out of convenience to himself, therefore God rejected Cain's offering.
Cain didn't like being rejected, and perhaps in an attempt to make himself feel better or possibly to right the "injustice" done to him, he killed his brother Able. You could say he waged a war. Murder, jealously, self interest, tainted this act of worship. Whaley quotes; "War is never without fallout. Innocent people are caught in the crossfire. When Cain took Ables' life, he robbed Able of his worship.'' Able obviously suffered a physical death, but Cain also suffered. He will no longer enjoy the companionship of his brother, nor will he have an easy life.
"War always affects innocent people. The statistics of World War II prove it. It is noted as the single deadliest conflicts the world has ever seen. Germany, the nation most responsible for the war, lost more than 5.5 million soldiers...China 3.8 million...Japan 2 million...Soviet Union 10 million...USA 407,300...not counting Bulgaria, France, Hungary, Italy, Romania and the United Kingdom." There were over 25 million soldiers lost in this conflict, what's worse? There were over 47 MILLION civilians killed in this conflict. Hitlers heartless, selfish act of trying to eradicate the Jews brought the world to it's knees, and changed the lives of countless millions.
So what do these two things have to do with each other. Worship wars can have devastating effects on the church as well.
We, ourselves can be misled AND we can mislead the generations to come when we seek to push the issues of:
Tempo: faster slower
Style: (contemporary, classical, praise music, hymns)
Volume: louder, softer
Demonstrative worship: Raising hands, dancing, clapping, sitting, standing
Scripture translations: NASB, NIV, NLT, KJV, Message, The Voice
When we focus on these topics and allow our personal preferences to drive how we feel about worship, we take our focus off of the ONE thing that matters the most, GOD.
John 4:23 says "Yet a time is coming has now come when the true ers will the Father the , for they are the kind of ers the Father seeks.
Each morning before I walk up to lead worship, I ask myself....What's on my heart? Why am I doing this today? I do what I call a "Heart Check" where I ask... Is my motive God honoring? Am I here to lead people in worship or to worship myself and my personal preferences? It serves to refocus my heart on God and what's important to Him rather me.
God is worthy of our worship, our unhindered and God honoring praise.