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There is a story about an old village in Spain. The people of this village heard the king planned to visit there. No king had ever done that. So naturally, they became excited and wanted to offer a great celebration that would show their adoration and that would honor the king. But what could a village of such poor people offer?

Someone proposed that since so many of the villagers made their own wines – very good wines – they could offer that to please the king. And they each decided that they would all take some of their best wine, and combine them as a gift for the king.

On the day of the king’s arrival, they all came to the village square early in the morning with a large cup of their finest wine and poured their offering into a small opening at the top of a large barrel. They were excited to see the king enjoy the best wine he’d ever tasted.

When he arrived, the king was escorted to square where he was ceremoniously presented with a silver cup and invited to draw wine from the barrel. He was told the villagers were delighted to have him taste the best they had to offer.

He filled his cup from the spigot. And when he drank the wine, to his surprise he tasted only water.

Had some miracle-worker turned wine to water? Had someone stolen all of the wine that was meant for the king?

No. Each villager had reasoned, "I’ll withhold my best wine and give water. There will be so many cups of excellent wine poured into the barrel that mine will never be missed.”

After all was said and done, the king was left with a town full of people who simply went through the motions of showing their love and admiration for him.

This is what the nation of Israel was guilty of.

And that is why God told them in verse 13, “These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.”

(From a sermon by Peter Sapp, True Worship, 6/10/2010)

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