Proverbs 25:20 "As he that taketh away a garment in cold weather, and as vinegar upon niter, so is he that singeth songs to a heavy heart."
The obvious reaction to someone taking away a garment in cold weather or pouring vinegar on niter (baking soda) is a severe reaction. Having just summer clothing in cold weather and vinegar and niter do not mix. These two vivid comparisons show the disorder of singing songs to a heavy heart.
The attitude of our heart effects the attitude of God’s heart toward us. When I think of this verse, Ephesians 4:17-32 comes to mind. In this passage, Paul gives the Ephesian church a mandate to put off the old man and to put on the new man. He encourages them to put on the new man with the same zeal that they had put on the old man and practical ways to do it.
Ephesians 4:22-24, 30 say, "That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness… And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. "
When we refuse to put off our old fleshly thinking we grieve God’s Holy Spirit. Any song of worship we bring to Him is not going to be acceptable to Him because we are grieving Him. When we come and worship God our own way instead of His way, it is not acceptable worship. Our hearts must be right with Him and we must come His way. A sterling example of this is Cain and Abel (Gen. 4). Cain brought the best he had, be he did not bring a blood sacrifice. He brought the fruits of the ground which had been cursed. Abel brought a lamb, as a picture that only through the shedding of blood could there be remission of sins (Heb. 9:22).
Today, your desire may be to worship the Lord. However, there may be an area of your life that you refuse to surrender over to the Lord’s control. When we regard our own way (iniquity) higher than God’s way, we grieve God’s heart (Psalm 66:18). We cut off our fellowship with God. Our songs of praise and adoration to Him mean little when we choose to come our own way. Or, maybe we have not even considered whether the way we worship, is the way God wants us to worship. Like the Proverb says, worship to God our way is like taking away Jesus’ garment in cold weather and singing songs to His heavy heart. How insensitive. God’s wants all or nothing. In Revelation 3:15-16, Jesus told the Laodician church that he would rather have them be cold or hot, but because they were lukewarm he was going to vomit them out of His mouth.
Now for the application,
- Am I cold, lukewarm, or hot for Christ?
- Do I worship God His way, or my way?
- How do I determine what God’s way to worship is?
- Am I sensitive to the Lord’s leading in my life, so I don’t grieve His Spirit?
- Have I purposed to walk in the Spirit, so my life is a hymn of worship to the Lord (Gal. 5:16)?