Today’s Reading – Esther 6 – 10 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)
Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 25
Read the “0604 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon
When I came to know Jesus as my Lord and Savior, like so many, everything in my life changed. I looked back at my life before and could see God’s hand in every little thing and every big thing. I realized that luck or chance wasn’t a thing. Reading these verses, I can’t help but think God put the book of Esther in the Bible to remind us that God is in total control of everything. There is no such thing as luck. Esther wasn’t lucky to be queen; God made her to be queen for His purpose. Mordecai wasn’t lucky to have overheard the assassination plot; God put him in that spot at that moment for His purpose. It wasn’t luck or by chance that put Haman in the courts at that moment, God knew what He was doing. It wasn’t luck that dropped Esther to her knees to plead for her people, God used her greatly for His purpose. And it was definitely not luck that saved God’s chosen people. God exalted the Jews and Mordeceai, not by luck, but for His good. God knew exactly what he was doing.
As Christians, we must always know that we are not lucky; God is in control. God most definitely sees what is going on in this world right now. His people must stand firm; we need not to worry or be anxious. Pray for God to show you how you can be an Esther or Mordecai in these times. Go to scripture and be reminded that God is in control.
“Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed: for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee: yea, I will help thee: yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.” (Isaiah 41:10)
“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” (Psalm 46:1)
“Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7)
“There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear; because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.” (1 John 4:18)
“In the multitude of my thoughts within me thy comforts delight my soul.” (Psalm 94:19)
“The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall i fear? the Lord is the strength of my life;of whom shall i be afraid?” (Psalm 27:1)
“And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not I am the First and the Last.” (Revelation 1:17)
We as Christians are blessed to know the end of the story. God wants us to be brave like Esther and Mordecai. Step in faith and get the gospel to all the lost that dont know that God is in control. There is no such thing as luck.
Posted in Devotions by Phil Erickson with 3 comments.
Today’s Reading – Nehemiah 11 – 13 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)
Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 18:3 & 46
Read the “0602 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon
“Then I commanded, and they cleansed the chambers: and thither brought I again the vessels of the house of God, with the meat offering and the frankincense.” – (Nehemiah 13:9)
In Nehemiah 13, I noticed that there were four things that had crept back into the life of the people of Israel that had to be cleaned out:
1 In vs. 4 – 9 we see that Eliashib the priest had actually emptied a chamber in the temple of God, and had prepared it for Tobiah to stay in. Tobiah had been the one who had opposed Nehemiah and the people of God as they rebuilded the city of Jerusalem. He had to go. Nehemiah gave him the boot.
2 In vs. 10 – 13 we learn that the Levites had to go back to the fields to work because the people of God were not supporting them through their tithes and offerings. Nehemiah corrected this problem as well.
3 In vs. 15 – 22 we see that God’s people were violating the Sabbath by working, and by trading with outsiders. God wanted the Sabbath Day to be kept holy, and set apart from the normal routines of the week. Nehemiah commanded that the gates of the city be closed on the Sabath so that the merchants could not enter in to do their business.
4 Finally we see that the Jews began to inter-marry with the heathen people around them. It got to be so bad that some of the children did not even speak the Hebrew language, but instead conversed in the language of the land where the mother came from. Nehemiah had a fit about this, and made the people promise to separate from people who were not Jews. He reminded them of how even King Solomon was caused to sin because of his marriages to non-Jewish women. God wants his people to marry within the household of faith.
It is amazing how quickly all of these abuses crept back into the lives of the people of God. Every once in a while we need to have an old-fashioned house cleaning to remove all of the junk that creeps into our lives as well. Why not take a spiritual inventory of your own life. Is there anything in your home, or in your life that God would want cleaned out? Just a thought.
Posted in Thoughts from Nehemiah by Phil Erickson with no comments yet.
Today’s Reading – Nehemiah 8 – 10 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)
Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Joshua 1:8
Read the “0601 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon
“And the seed of Israel separated themselves from all strangers, and stood and confessed their sins, and the iniquities of their fathers. And they stood up in their place, and read in the book of the law of the LORD their God one fourth part of the day; and another fourth part they confessed, and worshipped the LORD their God.” – (Nehemiah 9:2-3)
“For the children of Israel and the children of Levi shall bring the offering of the corn, of the new wine, and the oil, unto the chambers, where are the vessels of the sanctuary, and the priests that minister, and the porters, and the singers: and we will not forsake the house of our God.” – (Nehemiah 10:39)
I enjoyed thoroughly reading these three chapters today from the Book of Nehemiah. The people of Israel are back in their own land after having been in captivity for many years. They are united, “in one accord”; and they are fully surrendered to the Lord. This is certainly one of the high places in their history. In these three chapters I have noticed some ingredients that were in place that brought about a wonderful revival in the lives of God’s people. As I already mentioned, the people were unified, which in itself is an important part of the revival; but in addition to that, let me list some ingredients that I observed.
1 They are putting a heavy emphasis on the reading and preaching of the Word of God. We see this in chapter 8, and again in chapter 9. The people stood for a fourth part of the day listening to the Word. We have a tough time getting people to sit in padded seats for an hour. The word caused them to implement many changes in their lives, including the observance of the Feast of Tabernacles.
2 There is an emphasis on prayer. In chapter 9, we see the people corporately confessing their sins; and praising God for His mercy and grace upon them. People who are right with God will praise God. “Let the redeemed of the Lord say so.”
3 In chapter 10, we see that the people have made a commitment to the House of God. They committed to give their offerings so that the servants of the Temple, including all of the priests and Levites, would have everything that they need in order to minister to the people.
I have left out some other things, but as you can see from the reading today, these three ingredients were part of one of the greatest revivals in the history of God’s people. If we ever see revival again in America, I bet that these three ingredients will be here as well.
Posted in Thoughts from Nehemiah by Phil Erickson with no comments yet.
Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Deuteronomy 32:4
Read the “0531 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon
“That Sanballat and Geshem sent unto me, saying, Come, let us meet together in some one of the villages in the plain of Ono. But they thought to do me mischief. And I sent messengers unto them, saying, I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down: why should the work cease, whilst I leave it, and come down to you?” – (Nehemiah 6:2 – 3)
In our passage today we see Nehemiah busy doing what the Lord had called him to do: rebuilding the wall of the city of Jerusalem. He had a job to do, and he was intent on completing it. Now there were also people in the area that were intent on stopping Nehemiah from fulfilling the will of God, but Nehemiah did not let them distract him from completing his work. I love what Nehemiah said: “I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down: why should the work cease, whilst I leave it, and come down to you?” The work Nehemiah was doing was certainly great, because it was God that had asked him to do it.
I have a great work to do for the Lord as well, and so do you. God has something to do for all of us who are His children. We must not get distracted from completing the work that God has given us. I have observed through the years that distractions can come from a variety of sources. The wicked one is famous for distracting people away from the will of God. This was the case with Sanballat, Tobiah, and Geshom from our text. They were wicked men who did not have Nehemiah’s best interests in mind. They were working against the will of God, but notice how they tried to disguise themselves as God’s servants and as Nehemiah’s friends. As God’s children we need to learn to be discerning about the true motivations of the people around us as they attempt to pull us away from the primary tasks that God has given us.
Another type of distraction comes from good people who often invite us to do “good things”; but even these good things become evil if they take us away from the best things. I am slowly learning how to graciously turn down many “good” invitations from caring people. I simply do not have enough time and energy to do all of the things that I might like to do, especially as they pull me away from the primary areas of my responsibility. As a pastor, I get invited to many birthday’s, picnics, graduations, dinners, weddings, conferences, barbecues, etc. I love to be with God’s people, but I simply cannot go to them all.
A third distraction is the distraction God brings your way. There are times that God will interrupt the daily routine in life in order for you to learn something, or maybe in order for you to accomplish something special for Him. Again, we must be very careful to discern whether these distractions are indeed from God. A few years ago, because of the tight budget at the church I had to go back to a secular job for a few months, which required me to work overnight 6 nights per week. This job was certainly a hindrance that kept me from doing all that I might have wanted to do in the ministry; but I am convinced that God had lead me down that path, at least temporarily. My primary ministry is my family, and God had provided this job as a means for my family to be taken care of while still allowing me to serve as the pastor. However, because of this constraint on my time, I was very limited to what I could do. My life consisted basically of working, sleeping, prayer, Bible reading, studying and preparing for messages, and a little soul winning. That is all that I could do during those months. I had to learn to say no to many other things so that I could do those main things. My focus was still on serving God, but I had to take some time away from that service in order to help the church financially, and in order to put food on my family’s table. God taught me much in the short time that I had been working the outside job, and He even used me to be a light to a very dark workplace. I thank the Lord that my time at the supermarket was short, and that He has turned our church’s financial situation around, but I am convinced that God allowed that period in my life for a reason.
The bottom line of today’s devotion is this: don’t allow distractions to pull you away from the primary things that God wants you to do, unless, of course, it is God who is doing the distracting.
Posted in Thoughts from Nehemiah by Phil Erickson with 1 comment.
Today’s Reading – Ezra 8 – 10 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)
Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – 1 John 3:1
Read the “0529 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon
Read a previous post from this passage – “I Am Ashamed and Blush“
“And after all that is come upon us for our evil deeds, and for our great trespass, seeing that thou our God hast punished us less than our iniquities deserve, and hast given us such deliverance as this; Should we again break thy commandments, and join in affinity with the people of these abominations? wouldest not thou be angry with us till thou hadst consumed us, so that there should be no remnant nor escaping? O LORD God of Israel, thou art righteous: for we remain yet escaped, as it is this day: behold, we are before thee in our trespasses: for we cannot stand before thee because of this.” – (Ezra 9:13-15)
In our Scripture passage in the Book of Ezra today, we see the people of God returning to Jerusalem from the bondage of captivity. The reason that they were taken into captivity in the first place is because they had forsaken the Lord by serving other gods, and by ignoring the principles contained in the Law. However, God in His mercy, did not forsake them, and gave them a new opportunity to re-establish themselves in the land of Israel. One of the leaders of the returning remnant was Ezra, the man who penned this book. He was a priest, and a very good man, and he was very concerned that the people would repeat their errors of the past. Notice what Ezra did before making the trip back to Jerusalem:
“Then I proclaimed a fast there, at the river of Ahava, that we might afflict ourselves before our God, to seek of him a right way for us, and for our little ones, and for all our substance.” – (Ezra 8:21)
This man, and many others of the people of Israel, wanted to please God, and they desperately desired God’s blessing on this renewed nation.
However, when we get to chapter nine we discover that some of the people had begun to make some serious errors in judgment again, as their fathers did before they went captivity. Notice the first two verses of chapter nine:
“Now when these things were done, the princes came to me, saying, The people of Israel, and the priests, and the Levites, have not separated themselves from the people of the lands, doing according to their abominations, even of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Jebusites, the Ammonites, the Moabites, the Egyptians, and the Amorites. For they have taken of their daughters for themselves, and for their sons: so that the holy seed have mingled themselves with the people of those lands: yea, the hand of the princes and rulers hath been chief in this trespass.” – (Ezra 9:1-2)
Some of the leaders of the people had taken the first step toward the idolatry that their ancestors were guilty of by marrying some of the non-Jewish women that dwelt in the land. God knew that if these men married these women, soon they would be worshipping the gods of the women, and tolerating some of the ungodly practices of the culture that the women came from. God demanded that His people live separately from the people of the land. God demands the same from us today. Consider the following New Testament verses:
“And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” – (Romans 12:2)
“Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,” – (2 Corinthians 6:17)
“Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” – (1 John 2:15)
There are so many more verses that we can look at, yet the principle of separation is pretty much an ignored doctrine to many of our New Testament churches. There has never been a more worldly group of believers since the time of Christ. Someone once said that the church follows the world by about ten years, or so. I am not sure if that is true or not, but I do know that there is not a whole lot of difference between the lifestyles of the unbelievers today and the lifestyles of Christians. This passage of Scripture from Ezra is a great picture of what is happening today. The people of Israel were placed in captivity and bondage because of their sin, but were then given a second chance; yet they chose to do the same things that got them into trouble in the first place. We who are saved have also been delivered from the bondage of sin, yet we keep choosing to go back to the sinful things and worldly lifestyles that we were delivered from. Shame on us!
Well, what should we do? It would probably be a good idea to do what Ezra did. A careful reading of chapter nine will reveal that Ezra first repented on behalf of the people when he realized the problem. He then went to God, and poured out his heart to Him; and then he went to the people, and poured out his heart to them. The good news is that the people repented too, and got right with the Lord before He would have to send judgment again. I hope that we will do the same thing.
Posted in Thoughts from Ezra by Phil Erickson with 2 comments.
Today’s Reading – 2 Chronicles 32 – 33 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)
Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Matthew 6:33
Read the “0525 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon
“And when he was in affliction, he besought the LORD his God, and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers, And prayed unto him: and he was intreated of him, and heard his supplication, and brought him again to Jerusalem into his kingdom. Then Manasseh knew that the LORD he was God.” – (2 Chronicles 33:12 & 13)
In our passage today we see a beautiful picture of the grace of God. The theologians degine “grace” as an unmerited or undeserved favor. In chapter 33, we have the account of King Manasseh who was arguably the most wicked king that the southern kingdom of Judah ever had. He had undone many of the wonderful things that his father, Hezekiah, had done for the nation. Manasseh was into witchcraft, and even made two of his sons “pass through the fire”, which means he sacrificed them. Manasseh was a bad dude, as bad as they get.
In verse 10, the Scripture tells us that God “spake” to Manasseh, but he didn’t listen. God then came in and judged Manasseh by sending in the armies of the Assyrians. Now that got Manasseh’s attention, and he was ready to listen to God. The Scripture says he “besought” the Lord in his affliction. Manasseh was truly a “new creature” after this moment, and he dedicated the rest of his life to serving the Lord. Unfortunately, he did not live long enough to undo all of the evil that he had committed before he was redeemed, and even though he finished well, he still has the reputation of being a wicked king.
The first thing that I would like to point out from this passage is that God saves bad people. It is hard for us to fathom the salvation of a man like Manasseh, but God has been in the business of saving wicked men and women for a long time. By the way, it is kind of arrogant on our part to decide who “deserves” salvation. None of us deserves to be saved. We are all sinners, and are all capable of all of the depravity that we have seen in the life of Manasseh. The amazing thing is not that God would save someone like Manasseh, but rather that he would save any of us.
The second thought I would like to pull from this passage is that God had to bring Manasseh down, before he could get his attention. I have often prayed for specific lost people that I know, and I have noticed that God will often allow tragedy to come to their lives in order to get their attention. People who are on top of the world, tend not to take notice of God; but let them go through a severe trial, and they will often re-think things. Though I do not enjoy watching people suffer, I know that the affliction that they may be experiencing today may be the very thing that causes them to turn to the Lord.
The third thought from the passage is that even though it is a wonderful thing that God’s grace reached Manasseh, and that He was saved before it was eternally too late; he still did a lot of bad things in his lifetime. I’ll bet he wished that he could go back and re-do some things. But once our time is up, it is up. Manasseh had an appointment with death, and when that appointment came, there was no more time to get things right. We all need to redeem the time, because our time is running out as well.
“But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.” – (Hebrews 2:9)
Did you catch that? – every man – even someone as bad as Manasseh – even someone as bad as me
Posted in Thoughts from 2 Chronicles by Phil Erickson with 2 comments.
Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Micah 6:8
Read the “0524 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon
Read a previous post from this passage – “Soulwinning in 2 Chronicles“
“And thus did Hezekiah throughout all Judah, and wrought that which was good and right and truth before the LORD his God. And in every work that he began in the service of the house of God, and in the law, and in the commandments, to seek his God, he did it with all his heart, and prospered.” (2Chronicles 31:20-21)
I think one of the main reasons that God wants us to daily spend time in His word is because that it serves to remind us daily of the basic truth that God will bless those who seek Him and serve Him. As we have been reading in these historical books, we have seen over and over again the blessings of God upon the godly kings; and conversely the judgment of God upon the wicked. Of course, none of the kings were perfect: all made mistakes; but when they sought the Lord for forgiveness, God would always respond in mercy. Even the bad kings that humbled themselves before God would receive mercy. As we look today at the life of Hezekiah we see the same principle in place. Hezekiah “wrought that which was good and right and truth before the Lord his God…with all his heart”, and God prospered him.
Child of God, the same applies to you and me today. I am not trying to over-simplify the Christian life, but the principles of succeeding in life are really very easy to understand. Find out what the will of God is for your life; and then fulfil it with all of your heart. Give it everything you’ve got. Live for God! I’m not saying that every day is going to be amusement parks and sunshine; but you will have that abundant life Jesus spoke of in John 10:10. It’s your choice: live for God, and your life will be blessed of God; live for self, and you will look back with regret.
“Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.” (Psalms 1:1-3)
Posted in Thoughts from 2 Chronicles by Phil Erickson with 1 comment.
Today’s Reading – 2 Chronicles 21 – 24 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)
Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Isaiah 40:31
Read the “0522 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.
Read a previous post from today’s reading passage – “How Will You Be Remembered?“
“And Joash did that which was right in the sight of the LORD all the days of Jehoiada the priest.” – (2 Chronicles 24:2)
“Thus Joash the king remembered not the kindness which Jehoiada his father had done to him, but slew his son. And when he died, he said, The LORD look upon it, and require it.” – (2 Chronicles 24:22)
The story of King Joash is certainly a fascinating account. After the death of his father, King Ahaziah, he was rescued as a baby from his grandmother, Attaliah, who had all of her grandchildren assasinated so that she could be queen. Joash was hidden in the house of God for six years, and was influenced greatly by Jehoiada the priest. When Joash finally became king, the influence of Jehoiada remained with him, and Joash was a great king, serving the Lord by repairing the temple, and replacing all of the vessels of gold and silver that were used in the service of the temple. Unfortunately, Jehoiada the priest “waxed old and died”, and King Joash went downhill afterward. It seems that without the influence of a man of God in his life, the peer pressure from some of the wicked men in his kingdom began to overpower him. He eventually went as far as having Zechariah, the son of Jehoiada, put to death after being rebuked by him.
There are two principles that I would like to consider from this passage. The first is that we need to be careful that our faith is in God, not a man. I have seen this in my ministry, where people become too dependent upon me. They look to me to solve their problems for them. The problem with this is that I cannot possibly deliver what these folks expect from me, because I am not God. Eventually I will let them down, and they will throw the towel in on their faith. As a preacher, it is my job to strengthen people’s faith and relationship with God. As John the Baptist said regarding Jesus, “He must increase, but I must decrease”. I must point them to Christ. I must work to strengthen their relationship with Him, not me. I will certainly have to give special attention and nurturing to the new believers; but I eventually want to work myself out of a job, so that if I blow it, or God removes me from their lives, their faith will remain strong.
The second principle that I would like to pull from this passage is that Joash did well as long as he was being influenced by a preacher. When “his preacher” died, he then divested himself from the influence of all preachers. We need to always place ourselves under the influence of a church, and sound Bible preaching. When we get away from the church, our lives will get out of the will of God. Stay in the church where the Word of God can influence your life for good.
Posted in Thoughts from 2 Chronicles by Phil Erickson with 1 comment.
Today’s Reading – 2 Chronicles 6 – 8 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)
Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 119:105
Read the “0518 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon
Read another post from today’s reading passage – “Hear Thou From Heaven and Forgive”
“Now when Solomon had made an end of praying, the fire came down from heaven, and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices; and the glory of the LORD filled the house. And the priests could not enter into the house of the LORD, because the glory of the LORD had filled the LORD’S house. And when all the children of Israel saw how the fire came down, and the glory of the LORD upon the house, they bowed themselves with their faces to the ground upon the pavement, and worshipped, and praised the LORD, saying, For he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever.” – (2 Chronicles 7:1-3)
I love passages of Scripture like these chapters here in 2 Chronicles. Everything is as it should be. The people are in a right relationship with their God, and the Lord is blessing the people tremendously. In chapter 7, verse 1, God sent down a visible manifestation of His approval of the new temple when He sent the fire down from Heaven. It was if He was saying “Amen” to the prayer that was just made by Solomon in chapter 6. How I wish I could have seen that awesome display of the glory of God.
God still sends His fire down today, though it cannot be seen with the physical eye. The fire He sends down today is the manifestation of His Spirit upon His people when they are pleasing Him. I have witnessed God’s fire fall upon some of the church services which we have had here at our church. I wish that I could say that all of the services had the fire of God on them, but I do cherish the times that He makes His presence among us so apparent that every last individual in the church recognizes it. Why can’t we have services like this every thime we meet together? I believe it is because all of the ingredients are not present; and the same ingredients are necessary today, as were present the day that Solomon dedicated the temple. So what was present in 2 Chronicles, and what must we have today, in order for God to send His fire down from Heaven?
1 There must be unity – These people were all “in one accord”. They all had one heart, one mind, and one purpose that day. Their attention was completely focussed on the Lord.
2 There must be praise – Look at 2 Chronicles 5:13 & 14. God truly does inhabit the praises of His people. They were praising the Lord in song, and with instruments; and the Lord was glorified.
3 There must be humility – I noticed in chapter 6 that Solomon got down on his knees before all of the people. Solomon was a “big shot” , but Solomon yielded and bowed to the One who was infinitely greaer than him.
4 There must be obedience – These people were doing exactly what God wanted them to do.
We could see the manifestation of God’s presence today just as much as Solomon did if we simply get with God’s program.
Posted in Thoughts from 2 Chronicles by Phil Erickson with 4 comments.
Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 119:105
Read the “0517 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon
Read a previous post from this passage – “Just Ask Him“
“It came even to pass, as the trumpeters and singers were as one, to make one sound to be heard in praising and thanking the LORD; and when they lifted up their voice with the trumpets and cymbals and instruments of musick, and praised the LORD, saying, For he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever: that then the house was filled with a cloud, even the house of the LORD; So that the priests could not stand to minister by reason of the cloud: for the glory of the LORD had filled the house of God.” – (2 Chronicles 5:13-14)
Nothing pleases the Lord more than the praise and worship of His people. Here in the first five chapters of 2 Chronicles we see Solomon building the temple of God on Mount Moriah in Jerusalem. All of the preparations had been made; all of the materials had been provided for; all of the instruments of worship, and the ornate furnishings had been created; and everything had been put in its proper place. Finally, this temple, which was first conceived through the Lord in the heart of David, is now almost complete. I say almost, because God does not arrive on the scene until His people in one accord begin to worship and praise Him. It isn’t until then that God shows up, and fills the temple with his glory.
Two things caught my attention from this passage. The first is that they played and sang “as one”. That tells me that there was unity and harmony. God loves when His children are dwelling together in unity. The second thing is that God is well pleased with the praise of His people. This is one of the things that sets us apart from other religions. God does not force us to worship Him. Nothing about true worship is forced. Worship and praise are voluntary expressions of our love for the Lord.
As I am writing this passage, I am burdened about many things in my life, and in the life of our church. I have been thinking lately that something is missing in our church. I could not put my finger on it before, but I think God has shown me something here. We are not praising the Lord as we should. We are not singing as we should with a heart filled with praise and adoration for our God. The song service in our church should be more than just some obligatory precursor to the preaching. It should be a time when we as God’s children stop everything and focus our attention on Him completely, lifting up our hearts and voices to Him in praise. It’s really pretty simple isn’t it? Maybe if we start praising and worshipping God as we should the glory will fill our house as well.
Posted in Thoughts from 2 Corinthians by Phil Erickson with 1 comment.