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.