What God Truly Wants
There is a 2010 song by Amy Grant that says:
We pour out our miseries, God just hears a melody. Beautiful the mess we are, the honest cries of breaking hearts are better than a hallelujah.
“Hallelujah” is defined as an expression of praise, joy, or thanks especially to God (Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary). It’s an expression that is closely associated with worship. For most religious people in our country, the “Hallelujah!” is all that matters. The totality of service to God for most believers is attending assemblies and participating in worship—either individually or corporately.
It may be difficult to understand why God would be prefer the “cries of breaking hearts” over “a hallelujah.” But David expressed a similar sentiment while confessing his sin with Bathsheba:
For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it; you will not be pleased with a burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.
David knew that God didn’t want his offerings or sacrifices. He wanted his broken spirit and contrite heart. He wanted David to empty himself and submit.
As Christians, we need to understand that God doesn’t want our worship if our hearts aren’t right first. We sing the song “Is they heart right with God?” Consider a few of the questions asked in that great hymn:
Have thy affections been nailed to the cross?
Does thou count all things for Jesus but loss?
Are all they pow’rs under Jesus’ control?
Does He each moment abide in they soul?
God wants our complete submission. Paul said it this way:
I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. (Galatians 2:20)
We must crucify ourselves. That means we give up everything and anything that stands between us and God. It is a complete surrender. God wants that more than He wants our worship. He wants us to understand that we offer our bodies and lives up every day as a “living sacrifice” (Romans 12:1–2).
King Saul shows us the opposite of what God wants. In 1 Samuel 15, Saul defeats the King Agag and the Amalekites. God had instructed Saul to destroy everything in Amalek including the King and the animals. When Samuel arrives, he hears the “bleating of sheep” (v. 14). When he asks King Saul why he hears animals, Saul responds that the people have saved the animals in order to offer worship to God (v. 15). They want to give God their “Hallelujahs”. Samuel’s response is pointed and clear:
And Samuel said, “Has the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to listen than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of divination, and presumption is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the LORD, he has also rejected you from being king.” (1 Samuel 15:22–23, ESV)
Saul and the Israelites failed to understand that God expects obedience and submission before He is willing to accept our worship. We are supposed to learn from them (Romans 15:4).
We should all realize that serving God is more than just showing up to take the Lord’s Supper on Sunday morning. It is more than singing a few songs and writing a check once a week. It’s about complete submission and service to God.
Don’t just go through the motions of Christianity. It is so easy to just continue the same routine week after week in the name of worship. But is that what God really wants? Does He want habitual robotic worship? Or, does God want a sincere heart who offers up the praise of their lips from that heart?
So what are you offering him? Just a weekly “Hallelujah!”? Or, are you offering God your whole self? Submit to God today. Give Him your heart. That’s truly all He wants—He just wants you!