July 19, 2020
And your Father who sees in secret will reward you (Matthew 6:18).
What’s the point Jesus made in Matthew 6:1-18? Giving God the glory that is rightfully His through true spiritual worship. But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship Him. God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth (John 4:23-24).
The Pharisees were big on stealing God’s glory. Through their public offerings to the poor, public prayers, and public demonstrations of fasting, the Rabbis broadcast to the people that religion and worship was all about them, not God. Their heart’s desire was for the people to worship them as they worshiped themselves, thus robbing God of the glory that was rightfully His.
Jesus put the matter straight before the people in an ‘in your face’ indictment of the spiritual hypocrisy and deadness of the Elders. When you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret (vv.3-4). When you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret (v.6). When you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret (vv.17-18).
True worship is engaged in the citadel of the heart, it is spiritual; it is the secret, intimate, one-on-one encounter and communion with the One we are to call Father. The religion of the Pharisees was anything but that. The glory that was to have been laid at the Father’s feet was diverted to the feet of the Rabbis. Jesus said they receive no reward, no blessing, no acknowledgment from God in any of the pomp and circumstance they call worship.
Alfred Plummer wrote, “The light of a Christian’s character will shine before men and win glory for God without the artificial aid of public advertisement. Ostentatious religion may have its reward here, but it receives none from God.” Christians who judge successful ministries by external statistics such as baptisms, budgets, and buildings should seriously rethink their priorities and motives in what they call religion and worship (Craig L. Blomberg).
“Search me, O God, and know my heart today. Try me, O Savior, know my thoughts I pray. See if there be any wicked way in me. Cleanse me from every sin, and set me free. May all I think, say, and do, and the motives that prompt my considerations, conversations, and conduct, bring honor and glory to You, Your Son Jesus Christ, and Your Holy Spirit. This is my worship. Amen.”