Worshipping a holy God

“Then David summoned the priests Zadok and Abiathar, and the Levites Uriel, Asaiah, Joel, Shemaiah, Eliel, and Amminadab, and said to them, “You are the heads of the fathers’ houses of the Levites. Consecrate yourselves, you and your brothers, so that you may bring up the ark of the LORD, the God of Israel, to the place that I have prepared for it. Because you did not carry it the first time, the LORD our God broke out against us, because we did not seek him according to the rule.” So the priests and the Levites consecrated themselves to bring up the ark of the LORD, the God of Israel. And the Levites carried the ark of God on their shoulders with the poles, as Moses had commanded according to the word of the LORD.” (1 Chronicles 15:11-15 ESV)

God is so amazing, so unique. He is a friend, a father, a brother, a helper, a comforter among other things. It is easy to focus on these aspects of His uniqueness and to forget His holiness. We tend to see His approachability as an invitation to do as we want in our relationship with Him. But there are rules to seek God. Repentance is one, faith in Christ another one, and gratitude and reverence others.  Grace is grace, but grace is holy. Love is love, but love does not mean disrespect, contempt, or right to complain or test God. There is a place for weakness in our relationship with God, but do not expect God to change His word, His rules for you. He did not even change them for David, the man according to His own heart.

“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, for our God is a consuming fire.” (Hebrews 12:28-29 ESV)

 

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God’s way to delight in Him

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.

Isaiah 55:8-9

I have been thinking of ways to delight in the LORD. I thought it was my responsibility to figure out a way to do it. I thought I could and should have strength and determination to achieve it. Of course I prayed for it, but still it was about me doing my thing to reach out to God. And as I was reading Isaiah 58 and God reminds me that it was His story and tells me what He expects us to do if we want to delight in Him.

If you turn back your foot from the Sabbath, from doing your pleasure on my holy day, and call the Sabbath a delight and the holy day of the LORD honorable; if you honor it, not going your own ways, or seeking your own pleasure, or talking idly; then you shall take delight in the LORD…” Isaiah 58:13-14

Or as the New Living Translation translates it:

Keep the Sabbath day holy. Don’t pursue your own interests on that day, but enjoy the Sabbath and speak of it with delight as the LORD’s holy day. Honor the Sabbath in everything you do on that day, and don’t follow your own desires or talk idly. Then the LORD will be your delight.

So let’s meditate on this scripture and prayerfully, with God’s wisdom and power, decide how it applies to us, so that we can enjoy the privilege to take delight in the LORD.

Just a small act of disobedience

… And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying,“Take the staff, and assemble the congregation, you and Aaron your brother, and tell the rock before their eyes to yield its water. So you shall bring water out of the rock for them and give drink to the congregation and their cattle.”  And Moses took the staff from before the Lord, as he commanded. Then Moses and Aaron gathered the assembly together before the rock, and he said to them, “Hear now, you rebels: shall we bring water for you out of this rock?”  And Moses lifted up his hand and struck the rock with his staff twice, and water came out abundantly, and the congregation drank, and their livestock. And the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “Because you did not believe in me, to uphold me as holy in the eyes of the people of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this assembly into the land that I have given them.” Numbers 20:7-12

Nothing very serious. God asked Moses to talk to the rock and Moses, because he was having a bad day, because the Israelites were doing that again, struck the rock. Surely God could have understood. Moses had been so patient and so  obedient(Numbers 12). Was it not normal that for once he lost his temper? He surely didn’t want to disobey, he was just tired and emotionally exhausted.

But for God, what Moses did was serious. He was not a question of being tired, hurt or angry. It was a question of believing God and of honoring Him as holy in the eyes of the Israelites. Moses had  stopped believing for a moment that God would vindicate him. He had stopped believing that being meek with his enemies was worth it. For a moment he stopped looking at the reward and look at the circumstances. For a moment he forgot who he was serving. Because he stopped believing in God, he stopped honoring Him as holy.

It happened to Moses once and he missed the promised land. How many times do we forget to  honor Christ as holy in our hearts (1 Peter 3:15)? What circumstances make us stopped believing in God and disobey a bit? To know what steal our faith and our obedience is a big step towards victory and obedience.

I know for myself that when I feel betrayed, when I have trusted someone and I am hurt in return, I forget to honor Christ as holy in my heart. When I face injustice, I want to deal with it now. I don’t want to wait for the Lord. I stop believing that He will vindicate me, that he will bring forth justice. I strike and strike again with my words and my thoughts. I stop honoring Christ as Lord. I become my own Lord.

That’s what Moses did. He became his own God and deny the holy one of Israel. Every time we choose to take things in our hands we deny Him. And yes, we don’t commit sexual immorality or steal or kill. We are just angry and hurt. God will surely understand. I am sure He understands our hurts and anger. But I am also sure that He doesn’t understand our unbelief and our contempt for His holiness.

Let’s cleanse our hearts, renounce our unbelief and revere Christ as Lord in our mind, thoughts, hearts and feelings. Let’s give Him the glory He deserves.