August 22: “Worship that Brings a Smile to God’s Face”

10 Minute Read

Be Still

To the best of your ability, get rid of all distractions. Take a couple of minutes to breathe deeply, to quiet yourself in the Lord’s presence. Then, prayerfully ask the Lord to speak to you in this time and let Him know that you will be listening and will make whatever adjustments He will reveal to you.

Today’s Bible Reading:

Job 4:1–7:21
1 Corinthians 14:18-40
Psalm 37:30-40
Proverbs 21:27

Listen to the Lord

Slowly and reflectively read the following verses and listen to what God will say to you through them. Then, consider writing down any insights He reveals to you.

Proverbs 21:27 (NLT) “The sacrifice of an evil person is detestable, especially when it is offered with wrong motives.”

Reflections from Scripture:

When we read our Verse for Today, we may be tempted to simply write it off as irrelevant. After all, we don’t offer sacrifices anymore, right?

So, let’s take a moment to talk about the 3-Step Process to Understanding the Bible and then get back to our Verse for Today as we show its relevance.

The Three-Step Process to Bible Study

1. Observation – “What does it say?”

The first step in Bible study should be to look at the text like a detective. 

Ask it the fundamental questions: Who, What, When, Where, Why, & How. 

Don’t try to look for its application just yet because you may come to some wrong conclusions. Instead, simply study the text to see what it meant to its original audience. (Hint: If you spend much time and effort in this step, the next two steps should take much less time.)

2. Interpretation – “What does it mean?”

This second step in Bible study is when we take what the passage said to the original audience and lift out the general principles. We look for the overarching truths in the text that could apply to all peoples at all times.

3. Application – “How does it work?”

This final step in Bible study is when we take the first two steps (“What does the passage say?” and “What does the passage mean?”) and apply the principle(s) to our own life.

OK. Let’s look back at Proverbs 21:27 and work through these three steps:

1. Observation – “What does it say?”

Proverbs 21:27 (NLT) “The sacrifice of an evil person is detestable, especially when it is offered with wrong motives.”

In Solomon’s time (the one who compiled this book), sacrificing animals was an act of worship. It was the way God had determined for sin to be dealt with. It was intended to show just how grievous each sin was to a holy God. 

Yet, in Proverbs 21:27, it is made clear that offering up a sacrifice for sin wasn’t simply a mindless ritual. While a sacrifice was God’s prescribed way of worship and dealing with sin, God’s eyes were also fixed on the worshiper’s heart. If they continued to harbor unconfessed sin in their heart or if they had wrong motives, their sacrifice would be detestable to God.

2. Interpretation – “What does it mean?”

Let’s lift out the general, overarching principle(s) that we see in Proverbs 21:27.

Proverbs 21:27 (NLT) “The sacrifice of an evil person is detestable, especially when it is offered with wrong motives.”

Animal sacrifices were mandated in the Old Testament. Yet, Jesus’ sacrifice of Himself on the cross eradicated the sacrificial system (John 1:29; Hebrews 7:27; 9:24-28; 10:12; 1 Peter 3:18).

So, since sacrificing was an Old Testament act of worship to bring the person back into right standing with God, we can substitute “sacrifice” with “worship.”

We might even rewrite the verse to show the overarching principle this way: “The worship of an evil person is detestable, especially when it is offered with wrong motives.”

3. Application: “How does it work?”

Proverbs 21:27 (NLT) “The sacrifice of an evil person is detestable, especially when it is offered with wrong motives.”

We realize that God detests the worship of someone who is far from Him. He also despises the “worship” of someone doing it for the wrong reasons, with flawed motives. 

Now, we are prepared to do some serious introspection.

  • When I “worshiped” in church on Sunday, was I appearing holy to those around me while I know good and well that I was harboring anger in my heart toward someone who offended me? If so, my worship is not pleasing to the Lord, and I must confess it as sin and seek to make it right very soon.
  • When I live this day (I should worship every moment of every day), am I trying to point others to Jesus with how I live my life, or do I simply want them to be impressed with my perceived spiritual maturity? If my motives are impure, then my “worship” is not pleasing to the Lord, and I must adjust them quickly.

On and on we could go with application questions, but you get the idea. 

So, when you approach God’s Word, use this three-step method to find out what God is saying to you. First, spend MUCH time observing the text to find out what it says. Then look for the overarching, general principles. Finally, you will be prepared to apply the truth to your life.

Spend Time in Prayer

Lord Jesus, you have made it clear in Your Word that I am to worship You. I also realize that when I genuinely worship You with all my heart, it is so refreshing and is an excellent source of happiness. So, Lord, help me to get it right. Help me to worship with a clean conscience, a pure heart, and noble motives. I want my worship to be thoroughly pleasing and enjoyable to You. I pray this in Your Name, Amen.


Matt Ellis is the pastor of First Baptist Church in Polk City, Florida (fbcpolkcity.com). His latest book is God’s Grace in the Real World. Connect with him on FacebookTwitter, or LinkedIn.

Photo by Matt Botsford on Unsplash

Posted by

I have an incredible wife that God gave to me on May 10, 1997. Since then, the Lord has blessed us with three wonderful boys. I am also the pastor of the First Baptist Church of Polk City, Florida.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s