Thursday, 21 May 2020
Proverbs 21:3, 27
What does it mean to live for God? The list goes on and on and it will never end. There are many ways which we can live for God. But in these two verses that we will be reading today, the author helps us to see how one ought to truly live for God in light of one’s worship towards God. To phrase it differently, how are we to live our lives in order for God to say “I approve?”
The one thing in common for these two verses is on the topic of sacrifice. The Old Testament Christians worshipped God through sacrifices. Unlike us today, sacrifice is one of the biggest act of devotion and piety towards Yahweh. They are to do so in faith, trusting and revering Him as their Lord who brought them (and their fathers) out of Egypt and also making them His own people. Sacrificing animals have their basis on the final plague, where the sacrificial lamb becomes their “substitute.” So that was the worship instituted to them by God.
However, these two verses was a wisdom saying with a reminder to the Israelites of what it is to truly worship God as they bring their sacrifices. Verse 3 says “To do righteous and justice is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice.” From the first glance, it seems to give the idea that sacrifices are “bad” and it is useless. But if we are to examine it carefully, the aim of this proverb is to help them see that a genuine sacrifice (or worship) towards God would lead one to do righteous and justice. To put it in more modern day terms, there is no point if we lift our hands during worship when we do not do righteous and justice.
The reason is because Yahweh is a righteous God, and He is a God that is just. True worship for the Old Testament believers was not just limited to bringing sacrifices to Yahweh. Rather, it involves every area of their lives, like doing righteous and justice. If they only worshipped God with sacrifices and do not do what is right, they are merely going with the motions. Of course, Solomon calls us to exercise wisdom and not to allow ourselves to be deceived into thinking we are worshipping God while our lives speak the total opposite.
Verse 27 also says “The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination; how much more when he brings it with evil intent.” This verse helps us see how an evil person’s sacrifice is an abomination to the Lord. It is basically saying God abhors or hates worship that is not genuine. This is because this is not how worship should be. But not misunderstand this as God does not desire sacrifice as a whole. Rather, genuine worship and piety require one’s acts within daily lives to be aligned with their act of worship. In other words, the worship we give towards God must be aligned with the way we live our lives. It cannot be separated from one another and it should never be.
In conclusion, are we offering true worship before God? Do we lift our hands and sing aloud on the weekends while our lives throughout the week is lived differently, where we do not display any signs of holiness and love for God by loving those around us? There are many more examples, but we know ourselves best. It is easy to just worship God on weekends and live another set of lives throughout the weekday. This form of worship and piety is unacceptable before God. As we take some time to reflect on our lives and pray, may we ask His Spirit to work in us to examine our lives.
Hon Sir Neng
为上帝而活意味着什么？例子不胜枚举，清单永远不会结束。我们可以有很多方式为上帝而活。但是，在我们今天将要阅读的这两节经文中，作者帮助我们从敬拜的观点来看一个人该如何真正为上帝而活。換句话说，为了让上帝说 “我赞成” , 我们该如何生活？
但是，这两节经文是明智的，提醒以色列人何谓在献祭时真正敬拜上帝。第3节说: “行仁义公平比献祭更蒙耶和华悦納”。乍一看，似乎可以认为献祭是 “不好的“，沒有用的。但是，如果我们仔细地硏究，那么这句箴言的目的是帮助他们看到向上帝真正地献祭(或敬拜) 会使人们行仁义和公平。用更现代的话來说，如果我们不行仁义和公平，那我们在敬拜中举起双手是毫无意义的。
27节还说 : “恶人的强暴必将自己扫除，因他们不肯按公平行事。” 这节经文帮助我们看到上帝恨恶恶人的祭物。基本上，这是在说上帝厌恶或憎恨不真实的敬拜。因为这不是敬拜应有的方式。但请不要误以为上帝不喜悦我们献祭。真正的敬拜和虔诚是需要人们在日常生活中的行为与他们的敬拜行为保持—致。換句话说，我们対上帝的敬拜必须与我们的生活方式保持—致。两者不能被分隔，也永远不该被切割。