Mark 7:6 He answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me.
Mark 7:7 Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.
We learn in this passage that the Pharisees and scribes had ceremonies to cleanse pretty much everything they touched. There hope was to not be contaminated so they could be pleasing to God. They thought they were worshiping God which such a practice as this one – there was also fasting, public prayer, and giving, among others. But, Christ saw through their dry ceremonies and dead ways of formalism. There forefathers had a similar attitude. Through Micah God said to them,
Micah 6:6 Wherewith shall I come before the LORD, and bow myself before the high God? shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves of a year old?
Micah 6:7 Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, or with ten thousands of rivers of oil? shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?
Micah 6:8 He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?
They thought that the sacrifices pleased and praised God. But, God was looking for something else that would please Him and bring praise to Him: a contrite heart that would yield justice, mercy, and humility. God was looking for hearts that were willing to serve Him. This pleases Him and gives Him glory. This is more than giving up makeup and meat. This is deeper than praise and worship songs. God does not want our Sin polluted and self centered praise. To Him it is a filthy rag, because it comes from those who “are all as an unclean thing,” therefore “all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags” (Isaiah 64:6). God is looking for a heart that is pleased in doing His will out of gratitude for what His Son has done on the cross for us. If the cross does not break your heart, if it does not bring you to repentance then nothing will. God is only pleased when our praises come from a repentant heart. Praise and worship does not change your heart, the Cross of Christ does. Singing praise and worship songs, without a changed heart, is honoring God with our lips, but our hearts are far away from Him.
The lesson asks the question, what will be a dominant aspect of eternal life? We read in Romans 14:11, 1 Timothy 1:17, and Revelation 5:13 an example,
Romans 14:11 For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.
1 Timothy 1:17 Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen.
Revelation 5:13 And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever.
Yes, eternal life will be spent in much part singing eternal praises and worshiping the King. Sister White explains why, “That the Maker of all worlds, the Arbiter of all destinies, should lay aside His glory and humiliate Himself from love to man will ever excite the wonder and adoration of the universe. As the nations of the saved look upon their Redeemer and behold the eternal glory of the Father shining in His countenance; as they behold His throne, which is from everlasting to everlasting, and know that His kingdom is to have no end, they break forth in rapturous song: ‘Worthy, worthy is the Lamb that was slain, and hath redeemed us to God by His own most precious blood!’ ” —Ellen G. White, The Great Controversy, pp. 651, 652. We will sing praises because we are pleased with the Lamb and grateful to Him. This singing will in turn please the Father. But, the only way to do it in Heaven is to start doing it here. Andm the only way to do it here is by beholding the cross. Let it fill you and change you.