God seeks worshipers (John 4:23b). He does not stand in need of human praise or prayer, yet He asks for these, He delights in these, He wants the inner praise of the silent heart. He wants the uttered praise of the fervent lips and tongue. He desires the solidary praise of the closet; and still more the loud harmony of the great congregation. True praise is ‘speaking well of God’ in psalms and hymns and spirituals songs, according to His excellency.
God is not the God of the outward, but of the inward; not the God of places, but of living creatures; not the God of cities or mountains, but the God of hearts and souls. The outward man is nothing. It is the inner man that He is in a quest for. Worship must come, not from the walls of the temple, but from the innermost shrine. It must be something pervading the whole being, and come up from the depths of the soul; otherwise it is but as a sounding brass or a tinkling cymbal. Instead of constituting worship, outward things are often but excuses for refusing the inward service. Man pleases himself with a sensuous and theatrical externalism, because he hates the spiritual and the true. God says, “Give me your heart.” Man says, “No, but I will give you my voice.” God says, “Give me your soul.” Man says, “No, but I will give you my knee and my bended body.” But it will not do. “God is a spirit, and those that worship Him must worship in spirit and in truth.” (John 4:23a) As it is with love, so it is with worship – the heart is everything. God can do without the bended knee, but not without the broken heart.
But what provision has God made for all of this? He has made twofold provision of the blood and the Spirit. The blood satisfies God’s righteousness and the sinner’s conscience. The Holy Spirit renews the man, so as to draw out his heart in worship. It is the blood that propitiates, and it is the Spirit that transforms. God presents this blood freely to the sinner; God proclaims His desire to give the Spirit freely.
God has come to you saying, “I want you for a worshipper”. Will you become one?
– Horatius Bonar