Once upon a time there was a great King who ruled the land with justice and mercy. One day the King come to stay with the Lipona family (the Lipona’s lived in a region of the land called Religionville). Here is the story of when the King came to visit the Lipona’s.
There was a loud knock at the door. Mr Lipona headed for the front door. “Who is it darling” asked Mrs Lipona. Mr Lipona opened the door, “It’s only the King” he replied. Mr Lipona ushered the King into the lounge room. “Wait here” he said to the King, “You have come at a most inconvenient time. We are in the middle of a baked dinner. Wait here in the lounge room til we finish our dinner, and don’t touch anything OK!” instructed Mr Lipona as he left the room.
Quite a while later Mr Lipona came back into the lounge room and said to the King “What are you doing here?” “I have come to stay a while” said the King. “Stay! Stay!” exclaimed Mr Lipona, “We have no where for you to stay!” “Haven’t you got anywhere for me to stay?” asked the King. Mr Lipona thought intently “We have the doghouse outside, I guess Disona our dog won’t mind you sleeping in his doghouse for a day or two” he said. “I’m a little hungry” said the King. “You just can’t drop into people’s places around dinner time and expect to get fed can you?” replied Mr Lipona, “It’s time for you to go out to the doghouse, we are all going out to the movies tonight”. “Maybe Disona will share with you some of his biscuits.”
The King disappointingly headed outside to sleep in the doghouse as the Lipona’s left for the movies. The Lipona’s arrived home very late that night and they completely forgot all about the King outside in the doghouse.
The next morning, as the Lipona’s were eating their bacon and eggs at the breakfast table there was a knock at the back door. “I wonder who that could be?” said Mr Lipona as he headed for the door. “Oh, it’s the King” he exclaimed as he opened the door. “Don’t come in” he said to the King, “We are already late for church. What do you want anyway?” “I’m a little hungry” replied the King. Mr Lipona laughed “Didn’t you hear what I said? We are already late for church. There is no time to get you anything. Look! By the time we get home from church today we want you off this property, OK! said Mr Lipona sharply. “OK” said the King.
You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you: “‘These people honour me with their lips,but their hearts are far from me.
They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men.'”
– Matt 15:7-9(NIV)
Friends, we need to stop fooling ourselves and start honouring God in all areas of our lives. We cannot fool God. He knows when we honour Him and He knows when we dishonour Him.
Holy Spirit, bring back the fear of the Lord into each one of our hearts so that we reverently honour the Father in all that we do, in Jesus name, Amen
“This is the one I esteem: he who is humble and contrite in spirit, and trembles at my word.”
– Isa 66:2 (NIV)
“I hate, I despise your religious feasts; I cannot stand your assemblies. Even though you bring me burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them. Though you bring choice fellowship offerings, I will have no regard for them. Away with the noise of your songs! I will not listen to the music of your harps.
But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream!
– Amos 5:21-24 (NIV)
You lie on beds inlaid with ivory and lounge on your couches. You dine on choice lambs and fattened calves.
You strum away on your harps like David and improvise on musical instruments.
You drink wine by the bowlful and use the finest lotions, but you do not grieve over the ruin of Joseph.
– Amos 6:4-6 (NIV)
Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.
– James 1:27(NIV)
Seek good, not evil, that you may live. Then the Lord God Almighty will be with you, just as you say he is.
Hate evil, love good; maintain justice in the courts. Perhaps the Lord God Almighty will have mercy on the remnant of Joseph.
– Amos 5:14-15(NIV)
“This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘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.’
– Zech 7:9-10 (NIV)
“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices — mint, dill and cummin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law — justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practised the latter, without neglecting the former.
– Matt 23:23(NIV)