Careless Worship

Our ideal environment and greatest need is to be in the presence of God; before God gave Adam a wife, He gave him, HIMSELF!

If you are wondering where I’ve been, I’ve been on vacation. As we continue to journal through the book of 2nd Samuel this is where we left off; David was finally King over a unified Israel, and 2nd Samuel 6 tells us about how King David plans on getting the Ark of the Covenant back to its rightful place. You see, the Philistines had captured it after a battle (1 Samuel 5 & 6) and having it, brought nothing but trouble to them. So they carted it off to the nearest town they could find that worshiped the God of Israel.

It would be over 20 years before the Ark was returned to its rightful place. King Saul was too busy pursuing David to care about God’s presence; if you remember, Eli, the High Priest fell backwards off his seat, broke his neck and died when he heard that the Ark was taken in that battle. You would think that getting it back would be priority, but King Saul was wrestling with some pretty dark stuff to be trifled with the affairs of the priesthood. He just didn’t VALUE God’s Presence.

We place a value on everything that we have, and the things we do or do not do, are also prioritized by how we value them. We as human beings place or bestow honor to things.

I value my family; therefore I care for the needs of my family. They are important to me so I honor them by working hard. My kids know that I love them, and I care for them because I value them.

We value our favorite teams, musicians, politicians and actors. We treat them with the utmost respect and reverence. We are awestruck when we catch just a glimpse of them. We will wait for hours in bad weather to watch them walk down the red carpet at the award shows. Some people idolize their hero’s, they are fanatics, with posters and memorabilia, adorning their rooms.

My question today is…

• Where is our adoration for God?

• Where has our reverence gone?

• What value have we placed on that relationship?

Peter calls us to be; Holy as God is holy, and we are also called a holy nation, a royal priesthood. 1 Peter 2:9

Holy/Pure: not mixed with anything else!

Have the things of God become so commonplace in our lives, that we no longer honor or value Him?

Where is the fear of that Awesome God — the Master of the Universe?

Many would ask,

• God, where are you in my life?

• Don’t you see what’s going on?

• My family is in shambles, my finances gone, I’m at the end of the road, and I can’t take much more.

• Don’t you care?

God would say to you today, when will you honor ME, when will you revere ME? I am able to do more than you could ever ask or imagine, (Ephesians 3:20) but where is the honor due ME?

We all want to experience the God of INCREASE, the God of More than Enough, but some just need to Experienced God first!

You may have been saved for 20 or 30 years. BUT what in your life TODAY points to an Almighty God as your Lord and Savior? I know He used to move in your life, but what has HE done for you, or through you lately?

John 4:23 Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. (NIV)

You see the time has come for true worshipers to come together, yet there are some that refuse to be moved.

Think about this, If Jesus said, there were true worshipers, that must mean some worship is not “true worship”.

My prayer for you today is to experience God once again!

We have no problem cheering like maniacs at sports arenas, crying like sissies at the show, yet we come to church with the notion that somehow God has to stir you.

What do we have to do to have a visitation from the Almighty?

We were created for continual fellowship with God, but sin got in the way and since God is a HOLY God, He had to remove man from His presence.

The environment God created in Eden was ideal for this unique fellowship. It was Gods garden, and man had dominion over everything there. It was a perfect place where the Creator and all of creation lived in harmony. When Adam chose to eat the only forbidden thing in the garden, God DROVE man out of His presence and since then, man has been longing to fill that emptiness, and restore that connection with other things and other gods.

Our ideal environment and greatest need is to be in the presence of God; before God gave Adam a wife, He gave him, HIMSELF!

It was never Gods plan for us to have to WORK to get into His presence. Every part of our lives was to be done in the presence of God. His plan was for us never to have to function without HIM!

Praise and Worship doesn’t put us back into Gods presence, it brings His presence to us.

You might say, “Dude, I just don’t know how to praise! It’s awkward, and it’s weird!” That is because Praise that isn’t practiced privately can’t be displayed publically!

Psalm 22:22 (NLT) I will proclaim your name to my brothers and sisters. I will praise you among your assembled people.

During King Saul’s reign, the Ark of the Covenant was not among Israel. The Philistines had removed it. The Ark of the Covenant was the literal presence of God tabernacling with His people. (Exodus 25:8 paraphrased… “Make a place for me to dwell among my people”)

God had given Moses detailed instructions of how the tent/tabernacle was to be built. He had set it up in such a way that you just couldn’t stumble into His presence, because if you did… you would die! It was curtained off, with inner and outer veils. There were altars that continually burned sacrifices, lavers for cleansing and special clothes for the priests to wear.

God had to be approached clean, and in a prescribed manner.

So after King Saul died, King David wanted Gods Glory and presence in the city of David. Something was missing in Israel and it was God. King David knew that he couldn’t rule without God so he got a plan to get back the ARK.

2 Samuel 6:1-7 David again brought together out of Israel chosen men, thirty thousand in all. He and all his men set out from Baalah of Judah to bring up from there the ark of God, which is called by the Name, the name of the LORD Almighty, who is enthroned between the cherubim that are on the ark. They set the ark of God on a new cart and brought it from the house of Abinadab, which was on the hill. Uzzah and Ahio, sons of Abinadab, were guiding the new cart with the ark of God on it, and Ahio was walking in front of it. David and the whole house of Israel were celebrating with all their might before the LORD, with songs and with harps, lyres, tambourines, sistrums and cymbals. When they came to the threshing floor of Nacon, Uzzah reached out and took hold of the ark of God, because the oxen stumbled. The LORD’s anger burned against Uzzah because of his irreverent act; therefore God struck him down and he died there beside the ark of God. (NIV)

There is a right way and a wrong way to come to God, Again I ask, where is the reverence and honor due HIM?

John 4:24 God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.” (NIV)

His grace is sufficient, I know. And the blood and sacrifice of Jesus is a game changer, but has God changed? The Bible states that He doesn’t change, He is the same today yesterday and forever. He still is HOLY; He still is awesome in Word and Deed.

Psalm 56:4 (Amp) By [the help of] God I will praise His word; on God I lean, rely, and confidently put my trust; I will not fear. What can man, who is flesh, do to me?

Praise is a CONSCIENCE choice.

I have made a choice to commend, approve, and glorify Him. It isn’t an emotional decision. It is a choice.

THEREFORE, it doesn’t matter how I feel, I will praise Him in the STORM, I’ll praise Him in the valley of the shadow of death, I’ll praise Him in the good times and the bad, because it is a conscience choice and not based on emotions! I can praise because I KNOW that He is the ANSWER to all my problems.

Psalm 145:2 (Amp) Every day [with its new reasons] will I bless You [affectionately and gratefully praise You]; yes, I will praise Your name forever and ever.

Hebrews 13:15 (Amp) let us constantly and at all times offer up to God a sacrifice of praise, which is the fruit of lips that thankfully acknowledge and confess and glorify His name.

All farmers know that in order to produce fruit there has to be a time of sowing.

Sowing isn’t easy, it comes with a cost.

Praise sometimes takes everything within you. Giving God your sacrifice of praise means that you choose to dwell on Him instead of yourself, your issues, your roadblocks, your problems, and your circumstance.

Praise is an EXPRESSION of Faith, So Praise must be expressed.

James 2:17 says, So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

Praise expressed in faith holds on to a promise that is not yet seen. It is Praising God even when the circumstances say otherwise; it is Praising God when the outcome isn’t visible. It is Praising God while the walls are still round about your promise.

A sacrifice of praise says, “I don’t know what You are doing or why You are doing it, but I’m going to trust You because You have never failed me.

I don’t understand it, and it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me… YET I WILL PRAISE.

Psalm 34: 1 I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth.

In 2 Samuel 6:1-7 Uzzah’s careless act cost him his life, perhaps he was used to the Ark, since it was at his house for 20 years, I don’t know perhaps he took peeks at it wherever it was stored. We could all speculate the “WHY” of this act of carelessness, but one thing is certain… the Ark still had power.

That had to be demoralizing to David. Here he brings a 30,000 piece marching band and choir to bring back the Ark, and during one of the songs God shows up and kills a guy.

How many pastors would have quit after that service? David was hot with God, he had his moment of frustration but he realized, perhaps I don’t know what I’m doing here. We better figure out the prescribed way of carrying this thing.

Were the 30,000 genuinely worshipping? YES!

Was there an acceptable way that was pleasing to God? YES!

It took David 3 months to get over that disastrous worship failure, so when he finally decided to give it another try. They carried it by hand the next time the prescribed way.

I believe with every step they took and as the Ark got closer to the place it was supposed to be, the glory surrounding it increased, and I also believe there are folks that will read this that also have to take steps back towards your rightful place.

• There are some that have wandered off… come back!

• There are some that have been led astray… come back!

• There are some that have given up hope… come back!

• And there are some who have nothing to lose and nowhere else to turn… come back!

Father God, We need your presence in our lives, our families, our work places, our communities and in our churches. We have grown accustomed to the busyness of our everyday lives and our worship has become common. Forgive us for thinking we can habitually come into your presence in a manner that is less than reverent and holy. We have gone too far, too long without You and we repent and ask for forgiveness. We need You like we need the air we breathe. We desire You like a thirsty man in the desert. May our worship be a blessing to You and may our sacrifice be an acceptable sweet smelling fragrance in your nostrils. We love and appreciate your grace, kindness and mercy towards us. You are Holy and Worthy to be PRAISED.

AMEN!

soulKANDY

To the woodshed with the lot of ’em!”

‭1 Samuel‬ ‭8:9‬ ‭ESV‬‬ “Now then, obey their voice; only you shall solemnly warn them and show them the ways of the king who shall reign over them.””
-The Ark is in good hands, but not in its rightful place (the Temple).

-Israel is back to business as usual. 

-Time passes.

-Samuel is getting older, his sons are taking a more visible role in ministry. – -Much like Eli’s sons, these guys are corrupt. 

-The people are tired of corruption in leadership (spiritual leaders). 

-So they cry for a king.
It seems like God is done, could it be that there is a time when the One who is slow to anger and abounding in love just throws His hands up? Is God quitting? Is God giving in? Is God like the terrible parent(s) that can’t control their little monsters while out in public? 
As I read this, I’m like… “God, with all due respect… from my armchair, they don’t need a timeout buddy, they need a good ole fashioned spanking… To the woodshed with the lot of ’em!”
Now I know YOU don’t ever second guess someone’s parenting decisions, especially NOT Gods, but sometimes when I read the Bible, I do. I’m not even going to lie. If that’s your way (of parenting), I have a wooden paddle I made from 5/8″ plywood you desperately need to borrow.
But looking carefully at verse 9, He tells Samuel, “Give ’em what they want (a king), but explain what that actually is going to look like. (It’s gonna suck!)
Could God just be so loving, that He allows his people to have to experience all that a monarchy is going to demand from them? 
He gave them an out! But they refused it. By asking for a KING it meant… They would rather be TAXED, have their children and servants TAKEN, and succumb to future TYRANNY. Than to humbly take their concerns to a Prophet/Judge. 
SO WHAT CAN WE DO ABOUT WHAT WE JUST READ?
1. Do I really want the things I moan and complain about?

2. What would my life really look like if I had “My Way?”

3. What areas can I look back on and say, “God HANDED me over to…” Romans 1:28

4. Is “King John” (ME) really a better alternative than King Jesus?

5. What “OUT” has been given to me? What “godly warnings” have I failed to hear/ heed?

6. Am I a spoiled Little Brat who chooses COMFORT over COUNSEL?  
Father God, I know you are slow to anger and I have repetitively tried your patience. I also know that there have been godly men and women, that have tried to warn me about some things (I was doing, and the direction I was heading) that were totally out of your perfect will for my life. I’ve wasted, time, years, and trampled on your grace. Yet you have remained steady, faithful and gracious still. Thank you for being what some call a God of a second chance (for me 4th and 5th chance). Father thank you for your forgiveness and restoration. I’ve learned the hard way, but I know there may be readers that are on the brink of disaster. May the words they read, somehow-someway, avert pain and misery. May you use this short study to change a life. LOVE -John

God Riddence

     1 Samuel 7:1-2 (AMP) So the men of Kiriath-Jearim came and took the Ark of the Lord and brought it into the house of Abinadab on the hill and consecrated Eleazar his son to have charge of the Ark of the Lord. And the Ark remained in Kiriath-Jearim a very long time [nearly 100 years, through Samuel’s entire judgeship, Saul’s reign, and well into David’s, when it was brought to Jerusalem]. For it was twenty years before all the house of Israel lamented after the Lord.

 

     If you have been following the story… The Israelites take the Ark to battle, they lose the Ark to the Philistines. The Philistines place the Ark in Dagons temple, Dagon gets decapitated, un-“arm”ed and de-“feet”ed, The Philistines get rid of the ark, and send along parting gifts 🎁 of cows and gold. The Israelites cheer! They sacrifice the cows somehow forget that this thing has POWER. People die and they send the Ark away…
     How long does it take for a people to recognize their sin and turn back to God? I guess they figure as long as they have someone to go to God on their behalf; the presence of God (the Ark) was optional. Every time God shows his awesome power against his enemies the people rejoice, but in their sin when He shows the same fierceness the people recoil as if it is altogether unfair or unwarranted. 

 

     It’s crazy to think that instead of inquiring about how to get things right and make the necessary changes, they instead choose to push God away altogether. If they cared so much about His presence and Holiness that they would go as far as consecrating Eleazar, why didn’t they just consecrate themselves instead? If we are to believe 2 Timothy 3:16 and put its claims into practice. How are these 2 verses profitable to me? It usually comes to me in the form of questions. 
1. At what points in my life do I act like a spoiled child when I receive a rebuke? 

2. When I know I am wrong how long does it take for me to make amends? 

3. At what time(s) have I pushed God away when I do not agree with His correction? 

4. Am I as petty as the men in this story?

 

     Father God, It must be awful to have to deal with the losers you have to deal with day in and day out. In business, we would fire people with those kinds of attributes. I know I have a very low threshold of patience when it comes to whiney-cry babies. So I repent for the times either in word or in deed that I have refused your correction and pushed you away. Contempt and dissatisfaction are contagious so enable me to rid myself of those character traits that I may not start an epidemic of wandering away from You. -John

 

​CURIOSITY KILLED THOSE CATS

 1 Samuel 6: 19 God struck some of the men of Beth Shemesh who, out of curiosity, irreverently peeked into the Chest of God. Seventy died. The whole town was in mourning, reeling under the hard blow from God, 20 and questioning, “Who can stand before God, this holy God? And who can we get to take this Chest off our hands?”

 What kind of fool sticks his nose where it doesn’t belong? This is a classic example of: Mind your own business. Maybe they thought the Philistines loaded the Ark with gold as well? They didn’t know just how dangerous that Ark could be. In my life I have personally been shocked working with, and goofing around with electricity. I have learned the hard way that it doesn’t feel too good getting shocked. I have learned the hard way a reverence and a respect of electricity, which causes me to pause and to triple check an outlet before starting any work. I suppose those nuts thought that because the Ark was not it its proper place; it could be handled in any ordinary way. Perhaps it was the carelessness of Eli and his two sons, and their lack of reverence that cause a trickle down effect within the people. Nevertheless, they learned in a hurry that this thing still has some Power! Yeah, Curiosity killed those cats!
 Again, instead of Repentance and learning how to do it right, the People banish God from their presence, as if saying, “We will teach God a lesson!” I’m pretty sure we do the same thing, when we get a spiritual whoopin’. I’ll show Him! I won’t go to church! I won’t participate, I won’t give! That will teach Him! When we go thru trial, and testing, we blame God. When we suffer loss or tragedy, harm or peril, again He’s at fault. Unfortunately we cast away the only One that really matters, and the only One who can actually rescue us. 
 Father God, Forgive me for the times when I have been carelessly irreverent. You are a Holy God, and I have made you at times my BFF. I repent from the reckless familiarity I have shown on occasion. I know you still love me, and have great plans for my life. 
Heavenly Father, I also pray for the reader, for the times they have been careless and casual with You. For the times in which You were pushed away in protest. God show up mightily, move on their behalf. I pray for a fresh wind of Your Spirit to blow on sails that have hung limp and in turn caused times of stagnation. Bring purpose, and destiny back into their lives. Lord, as we repent and commit to change our attitudes and our behaviors, give us the strength needed to get past those times where we seem to get stuck. Give us the patience to allow each test and trial to teach us what we do desperately need to learn. And enable us to live more holy and pure lives in this dark and rebellious time. -John

Intensity in 3 cities. 

 

[] 1 Samuel 5: 12 Those who didn’t die were hit with tumors. All over the city cries of pain and lament filled the air. (MSG)

[] Yesterday we read the Ark of the Covenent was lost. The Philistine army brought it back to Ashdod and set it in The Temple of Dagon. The Philistines occupied the five cities of Gaza, Ashkelon, Ashdod, Ekron, and Gath. God, without the help of a single Israelite (literally) dismantled Dagon from his lofty place and put the “Fear of God” in three of the five Philistine cities. But despite the tumors, rats and mass destruction of life, the Philistines continued to worship their inferior false god Dagon.

[] There are two things we can take from this.

     1) God doesn’t need swords, and men to defeat our enemies. He can work behind the scenes and destroy them or bring them to their knees without our input or our help. 

     2) Human nature to rebel against God is just astounding. Instead of falling to their knees and acknowledging the absolute power and holiness of the God of Israel, they foolishly lift up their god, and the only change they make is avoiding stepping on the threshold on which he was found laying in pieces.

[] Father God, the Lord God mighty in battle. King of Glory. Omnipotent, Omniscient, and Omnipresent. Who is like you? NO ONE! None can compare, no one even comes close! God, I know you are at work behind the scenes, doing what you do best even though I’m yet to see the effects of it. In my foolish attempts to fight my battles, I only seem to dig myself deeper into trouble. There have been times when I foolishly set things back in place that You were trying to tear down in my life. Forgive me for those times when I chose other gods over You. 

Lord, as we enter in a new year and as we commit/resolve to make changes, give us the strength to see them through. And as those habits, hobbies, homies, and hankerings begin to fall, we cry, Arise oh God as a mighty man of war! And let Cries of Pain and Lament be the only things coming out of the enemy’s big mouth.

The lost Ark

1 SAMUEL‬ ‭4:3‬ ‭AMP‬‬ “When the people (soldiers) came into the camp, the elders of Israel said, “Why has the LORD defeated us today before the Philistines? Let us bring the ark of the covenant of the LORD here from Shiloh, so that He may come among us and save us from the hand of our enemies.””
4000 men just had lost their lives in battle, and the people want answers. Their question, “Why did we suffer loss?” It’s understandable, no one has a spare 4000 fighting men laying around. I said it was understandable, but was it reasonable to assume that by taking the Ark of the Covenant from its place and bringing it onto the battleground things would automatically change? The last chapter spoke of the Word of the Lord being RARE. So what changed? Samuel was now a man hearing from God, a position previously held by the High Priest Eli, who was still in office, but on Gods short list for replacement. 
Perhaps the people assume now that Samuel is hearing from God, everything is fair game. We don’t read that they consulted with either Eli or Samuel, but somehow the Ark was taken into battle with the assumption that God approved, and would fight for them. The result? Epic FAIL, literally on a biblical scale. 30,002 men died, and they even lost the Ark to the Philistines. WOW, makes my boo-boos/ dumb ideas look like child’s play. 
Why do we ever question the love of God when his Book, doesn’t attempt to make His guys (people) look good? They act shamelessly and foolishly and seemingly at every turn do something more asinine than those before them, yet He still patiently Loves and Guides and Cares for them (us).
So how do I flesh this out? How do I take what I just read and apply it to my everyday life?
1. God isn’t a genie in a bottle. I can’t summon Him to my beck and call, and He doesn’t mind making me eat crow when I forget my place. I always used to watch WWE and my favorite wrestler was the Rock, he would always say, “Know your role and shut your mouth!” God has a way of getting people’s attention, and losing men and the Ark got theirs, and mine! How many times have I done exactly just that? In ministry… Too many times to even want to admit.

2. Don’t assume you know anything! I believe that Christians fail at this point over and over, they assume that just because God did such and such, or just because they read that it happened like ________ (fill in the blank) somehow He is obligated to do it again. Moses made that assumption (Speak to the rock, or strike the rock) and it cost him a chance of seeing the Promised Land. There are plenty of instances where Jesus didn’t repeat a miracle, I believe it’s because this very fact. We concentrate on the HOW instead of the WHO.

3. We get casual and familiar with things that are HOLY. The Ark of the Covenant was Gods literal Presence/Glory, the Priests had to be ceremonially cleansed to even enter into the place where it was. God was absent not powerless, He wasn’t speaking, but it was NOT because He didn’t have anything to say, but because the sons of the High Priest were a couple of Dirt Bags and the H.P. knew it and wouldn’t reprimand/correct them. I believe they lost reverence, and a holy fear for the things that are Holy. And it cost all of them their lives. 
I don’t know about you, but I have a long way to go, and it’s a good time to pray…
Father God, I thank you for your patience with me, I thank you for the call, the plan, the purpose and the anointing on my life. I pray for every reader as well, Father forgive us if we have treated the Holy with irreverence and casualness. Thank you for the scriptures and for your Spirit and His revelation as the Word comes alive to us, and as we put it to work in our lives. We don’t ever want to be like the men in this story, but forgive us for the times which we have been totally like them. Speak your servants are humbled and listening!

 – John