Self-indulgent worship

By Adam Bennett

Zechariah 7:4-6 (The Message)

God-of-the-Angel-Armies gave me this Message for them, for all the people and for the priests: “When you held days of fasting every fifth and seventh month all these seventy years, were you doing it for me? And when you held feasts, was that for me? Hardly. You’re interested in religion, I’m interested in people.

I have often heard (and probably often remarked) that the ‘worship wasn’t my style’ or ‘wasn’t to my taste’. Doesn’t it show what a shallow view we have of worship?

That’s something like the issue God is taking up with his people in this passage. He responds to his own question saying (v.6) was “were you not just feasting for yourselves”. (From the NIV)

This is like our expectation of Church, worship and the Christian life generally – we are only interested in it for what is of benefit (and convenience) to us. We only like what fits our particular tastes – we pursue self-indulgent ‘worship’.

In contrast to that self-serving view of faith, the Prophet Zechariah continues to reveal God’s heart. He says we have already been told that what God wants is for us to: ‘Administer true justice; show mercy and compassion to one another. Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless, the alien or the poor. In your hearts do not think evil of each other.’ (7:9-10 NIV)

Often the Bible rattles my soft-cushion faith with calls like this one to do more than spiritualise the Christian life and just do what is comfortable.

Copyright Adam Bennett 2009. More articles are available at


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