1 Chronicles 15:13
For because you did it not at the first, the LORD our God made a breach on us, for that we sought him not after the due order.
God is highly displeased with persons who perform duties, but are careful not to perform them in a right manner. In discoursing which, I shall show —
I. HOW IT COMES TO PASS THAT MEN PERFORM DUTIES, BUT ARE NOT CAREFUL TO PERFORM THEM IN A RIGHT MANNER.
1. Because to perform duty is the easiest part of religion, but to do it in a right manner is very difficult; and few people have a heart to manage the difficulties of religion.
2. Because the bare performance of duties is within the reach of all, the performing of them in a right manner is beyond the reach of the most part. Natural abilities will serve for the one, gracious abilities are necessary for the other (John 15:5; Hebrews 11:4). Nature cannot carry a man above itself, more than the mouth of a river can be higher than the spring-head.
3. By the bare performance of duties, men attain the base and low ends which they propose to themselves in the service of God, viz.,
(1) Peace of mind, such as it is.
(2) It gains a man credit in the world.
4. Because men may get duties done and keep their lusts too. To perform duties in a right manner is inconsistent with peace with our lustre (Psalm 66:18).
5. Because most men have low and mean thoughts of God (Malachi 1:6-8).
II. HOW THE LORD TESTIFIES HIS DISPLEASURE AGAINST SUCH PERSONS.
1. By withdrawing from them in religious services. Ordinances are the trysting-places where Christ meets with His people; but if they be not gone about in a right manner, they will be but an empty sepulchre. The living God is not to be found in a dead worship.
2. By rejecting their services (Malachi 1:18; Isaiah 1:11).
3. By spiritual strokes upon their souls (Jeremiah 48:10; Malachi 1:14).
4. By strokes upon their bodies.
III. WHY IS THE LORD SO HIGHLY DISPLEASED?
1. Because God commands His service to be done in a right manner, "With a perfect heart and a willing mind" (1 Chronicles 28:9).
2. Because the doing of a duty in a wrong manner alters the nature of it and makes it sin. If a house be built of never so strong timber, and good stones, yet if it be not well founded and right built, the inhabitant may curse the day he came under the roof of it.
3. Because duties not performed according to the right order, are but the half of the service we owe to God, and the worst half too. The Jews had it written about the doors of their synagogues, "Prayer without intention is as a body without a soul."
4. Because duties thus performed are very dishonourable to God.
(T. Boston, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: For because ye did it not at the first, the LORD our God made a breach upon us, for that we sought him not after the due order.