At thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore (Ps. 16: 11)
The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord: But the prayer of the upright is his delight.Proverbs 15:8
Scripture teaches us from beginning to end that there is a type of formal worship of the true God that is unacceptable to Him. It began with Cain, when his offering to the Lord was not received (Gen. 4:3-4), and it resulted in the first murder. But ungodly men will always seek out a way that seems to put God in their debt somehow. The New Testament calls this will worship (Col. 2:23), and it is the result of men wanting to worship God according their own will, instead of offering worship that is in accordance with His revealed will.
The central reason we want to do this is that we want a religion that somehow leaves room for our sin. But this is worship that is simply two inches of snow on top of a dung hill. It can be quite striking and beautiful . . . from a distance. When a wicked man offers a sacrifice to God, even if it is an unblemished lamb, God receives it as though the man had sacrificed a lizard. And when an upright man prays, without any access to a physical sacrifice at all, God delights to receive it.
Sacrifice and burnt offerings God does not require, but a humble and contrite heart (Ps. 40:6). God desires mercy, and not sacrifice (Hos. 6:6). To obey is better than sacrifice (1 Sam. 15:22). End to end, Scripture teaches us that acceptable worship is acceptable and unacceptable worship isn’t.
“Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe,” (Hebrews 12:28, ESV).
And the heart of what makes worship unacceptable is our sinful tendency to budget elbow room for our continued sinning. And in case you were wondering, that is not good.