Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Worship and Promises

I Samuel 1:Now this man used to go up year by year from his city to worship and to sacrifice to the Lord of hosts at Shiloh, where the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, were priests of the Lord. On the day when Elkanah sacrificed, he would give portions to Peninnah his wife and to all her sons and daughters. But to Hannah he gave a double portion, because he loved her, though the Lord had closed her womb. And her rival used to provoke her grievously to irritate her, because the Lord had closed her womb. So it went on year by year. As often as she went up to the house of the Lord, she used to provoke her. Therefore Hannah wept and would not eat. And Elkanah, her husband, said to her, “Hannah, why do you weep? And why do you not eat? And why is your heart sad? Am I not more to you than ten sons?”
After they had eaten and drunk in Shiloh, Hannah rose. Now Eli the priest was sitting on the seat beside the doorpost of the temple of the Lord. 10 She was deeply distressed and prayed to the Lord and wept bitterly. 11 And she vowed a vow and said, “O Lord of hosts, if you will indeed look on the affliction of your servant and remember me and not forget your servant, but will give to your servant a son, then I will give him to the Lord all the days of his life, and no razor shall touch his head.”
12 As she continued praying before the Lord, Eli observed her mouth.13 Hannah was speaking in her heart; only her lips moved, and her voice was not heard. Therefore Eli took her to be a drunken woman.14 And Eli said to her, “How long will you go on being drunk? Put your wine away from you.” 15 But Hannah answered, “No, my lord, I am a woman troubled in spirit. I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but I have been pouring out my soul before the Lord. 16 Do not regard your servant as a worthless woman, for all along I have been speaking out of my great anxiety and vexation.” 17 Then Eli answered, “Go in peace, and the God of Israel grant your petition that you have made to him.” 18 And she said, “Let your servant find favor in your eyes.” Then the woman went her way and ate, and her face was no longer sad.
19 They rose early in the morning and worshiped before the Lord; then they went back to their house at Ramah. And Elkanah knew Hannah his wife, and the Lord remembered her. 20 And in due time Hannah conceived and bore a son, and she called his name Samuel, for she said, “I have asked for him from the Lord.”
21 The man Elkanah and all his house went up to offer to the Lordthe yearly sacrifice and to pay his vow. 22 But Hannah did not go up, for she said to her husband, “As soon as the child is weaned, I will bring him, so that he may appear in the presence of the Lord and dwell there forever.”
Yeah, I know... long passage. But do you get the flow of the story? Elhanah and his family had a history of trusting the promises of God. It was that relationship that moved him to regularly go to worship.  It was during that worship experience that Hannah received this promise from God, which she trusted and saw fulfilled. She then, in turn, fulfilled her promise to God to give Him this son as a servant - one who served, worshiped in God's presence daily.  Worship and the promises of and to God go hand in hand. Do we believe Him? Do we know His promises? Do we keep our promises to Him? 

Monday, September 18, 2017

Judges 7:15 As soon as Gideon heard the telling of the dream and its interpretation, he worshiped. And he returned to the camp of Israel and said, “Arise, for the Lord has given the host of Midian into your hand.
As we saw yesterday, part of worship is seeking what God has to say to us. Here we find Gideon, who had his doubts and lack of confidence, both in himself and God.  When he worships the God who has spoken to him, he comes back with a new sense of enthusiasm and confidence in what God has called him to do. He is able to go on to give specific instructions and lead God's people to victory. That is what we want; that is what we need: confidence to live the life to which God calls us.  Let us seek Him and acknowlege His worthiness today. 

Sunday, September 17, 2017

The Words of Worship...

Joshua 5:13 When Joshua was by Jericho, he lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, a man was standing before him with his drawn sword in his hand. And Joshua went to him and said to him, “Are you for us, or for our adversaries?” 14 And he said, “No; but I am the commander of the army of the Lord. Now I have come.” And Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshiped and said to him, “What does my lord say to his servant?” 15 And the commander of the Lord's army said to Joshua, “Take off your sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy.” And Joshua did so.
Joshua here experiences a similar encounter with God's representative as Moses had. He was going about his business when "he lifted up his eyes and looked." He then saw what he was not expecting to see, and wondered how to respond. Should he pull out his sword to fight an enemy, or put out his hand to a brother? The response to his either/or question is straightforward: "No, none of the above; I am here on the LORD's business." Joshua drops to his knees and face and worships, and the verbal demonstration of worship is this: "What do you want to tell me?"  Worship, be it on a mountain, in a building, in a battle, or on the go, always brings with it this question: "What do you want to tell me, God?" Worship means wanting to hear and follow His instructions, whatever they be. "What do you want to tell us today, LORD?"

Saturday, September 16, 2017

The Great Deception

Deuteronomy 11:13 And if you will indeed obey my commandments that I command you today, to love the Lord your God, and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul, 14 he will give the rain for your land in its season, the early rain and the later rain, that you may gather in your grain and your wine and your oil. 15 And he will give grass in your fields for your livestock, and you shall eat and be full. 16 Take care lest your heart be deceived, and you turn aside and serve other gods and worship them; 17 then the anger of the Lord will be kindled against you, and he will shut up the heavens, so that there will be no rain, and the land will yield no fruit, and you will perish quickly off the good land that the Lord is giving you.
The people of Israel were preparing to enter the promised land. It looked good, and they longed to finally arrive there. But familiarity breeds contempt. When we experience the "good life" God has provided, we can become complacent, and think the good life is "boring", looking around for more exciting things.  But they do not fulfill; only He does.  Don't be deceived. Love, serve and worship God and God alone. Don't learn the hard way.  

Friday, September 15, 2017

A Heritage of Worship...

13 You shall tear down their altars and break their pillars and cut down their Asherim 14 (for you shall worship no other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God), 15 lest you make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land, and when they whore after their gods and sacrifice to their gods and you are invited, you eat of his sacrifice, 16 and you take of their daughters for your sons, and their daughters whore after their gods and make your sons whore after their gods.
God is Jealous.  He says so without excuse or explanation. It is simply fact.  But His jealousy, or zeal, for His people is a good thing.  And the idols in our lives are a bad thing - for us, and for those around us - especially our families.  Do we want to leave a heritage of worshiping the true and living God, or enslaved to our idols and those of others?

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Faith and Worship

Exodus 4: 31 And the people believed; and when they heard that the Lord had visited the people of Israel and that he had seen their affliction, they bowed their heads and worshiped.
Their is an undeniable connection between faith and worship.  When people truly believe that God looks on them, cares, and does something to deliver them, they will worship Him.  But what if they do not? They worship something or someone else, because that is where they put their faith. Often it is in ourselves individually, and/or mankind in general(humanism). Where is your faith today? It will be obvious to you, and to others around you by what you value and trust in, and make important in your life. 

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Worship: the (super)natural response...

Genesis 24:22 When the camels had finished drinking, the man took a gold ring weighing a half shekel, and two bracelets for her arms weighing ten gold shekels, 23 and said, “Please tell me whose daughter you are. Is there room in your father's house for us to spend the night?” 24 She said to him, “I am the daughter of Bethuel the son of Milcah, whom she bore to Nahor.” 25 She added, “We have plenty of both straw and fodder, and room to spend the night.” 26 The man bowed his head and worshiped the Lord 27 and said, “Blessed be the Lordthe God of my master Abraham, who has not forsaken his steadfast love and his faithfulness toward my master. As for me, the Lord has led me in the way to the house of my master's kinsmen.” 28 Then the young woman ran and told her mother's household about these things.
This servant had been sent on a mission by his master, Abraham.  He had a "needle-in-a-haystack" challenge in front of him - find Isaac a suitable wife. When God brings her to him, the first response of the man is to humbly bow his head and worship God in thanksgiving and praise.  This greatly impacts the young woman as well.  Such is a life lived in worship.  Is it the way we live?