A Call to Worship

Why we Should Give Praise to the LORD

Psalm 95, 97-99

 

psalm 95 1

I got so excited reading Psalm 95 today because of my enduring joy and love for worshipping God in song. Growing up, music was something that I would consider a “constant”. It kept me grounded in some of the most difficult moments of my life, and it helped me celebrate my greatest victories. When it was hard to pray, or if I struggled to read my Bible like I should, worship was still a peaceful, easy place for me to meet with God. As I got older, worship was where I developed my deepest relationship with God. It has always forced me to be vulnerable and open. 

 

But as I have grown in faith and maturity, I have discovered that coming to the LORD in song has absolutely nothing to do with how it makes us feel. That is a plus of course–what we gain from pouring out our heart to God is incredible. But ultimately, coming before the LORD in praise and worship is something we should do because God has earned it. 

 

Let’s think about it. When we go to church…Or in our current case, when we watch our church services online. Most of the service is centered around teaching, edifying, even sometimes, convicting us. Worship is a specific time to give back. It’s about adoration and proclamation. 

 

O come, let us sing to the Lord;

    let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation!   (Psalm 95:1)

 

What a special opportunity we have to come together in unity to shout to the LORD with gladness for all of his goodness and mercy that he has poured upon us. That is amazing! And it is something we shouldn’t take lightly. 

 

So whether you are musical or not, I urge you to take some time to make a joyful noise to the LORD. It is one of the greatest gifts you can give to our God who has everything. And that is a gift worth giving. 

Leslie Jones

 

Today’s Bible reading can be read or listened to at https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Psalm+95%2C+97-99&version=NIV

Tomorrow’s reading will be a little bit of everything: 2 Samuel 24, 1 Chronicles 21-22 & Psalm 30 as we continue with the 2020 Chronological Bible Reading Plan

 

Why Give to God?

Deuteronomy 14-16

Deut 16 16b NIV

I kind of love Deuteronomy.

Although it contains a lot of laws and instructions that were specific to the Israelites, I find that many of the themes of God’s instruction to them can apply to us as well.  The ‘why’ behind many laws and rituals is at the heart of God’s best for all of us.

Our section today offers a couple of those that we’re going to peek at.

Tithing

In chapter 14, God instructs the Israelites about tithing, saying,

“Be sure to set aside a tenth of all that your fields produce each year.  Eat the tithe of your grain, new wine and oil, and the firstborn of your herds and flocks in the presence of the LORD your God at the place he will choose as a dwelling for his Name, so that you may learn to revere the LORD your God always.” 

Do you see that little nugget at the end?

So that.

Little phrases like that often lead to big insights.  Here, it leads us to the ‘why’ behind God’s instruction on tithing.  We all know that God needs nothing from us.  Everything already belongs to him.  The purpose of giving to God from the top (instead of the leftovers) is for us to learn to revere God.  To honor him.  To trust him.

Saying we honor and revere and trust God means nothing if we don’t show it. And when we do show it by putting him first in this way, it can provide a lens that shapes every other area of our lives.

What am I offering God?

We see another giving principle pop up in chapter 16.

“No man should appear before the LORD empty-handed.  Each of you must bring a gift in proportion to the way the LORD your God has blessed you.”

This instruction was given specifically regarding three of the appointed feasts that the Israelites celebrated.  But I believe that the principle applies to us as well.  We see the proportion principle repeated in Jesus’ illustration of the widow’s offering and in Paul’s teaching on sowing/reaping generously (Luke 21, 2 Corinthians 9).

But beyond that, how would it change our church-going experience, our daily Spiritual life even, if we kept that first sentence in mind:  No one should appear before the LORD empty-handed.

Am I coming to God, offering him my monetary giving, but also my time…my talents?

What are you bringing today?

 

Susan Landry

 

Susan lives in balmy Minnesota with her favorite person, Greg, and (except for this year) their two sons.  She teaches, tutors and writes.  You can find her blog, The Sparrow’s Home, online at thesparrowshome.com  Some of Susan’s favorite words include grace, kindness, and authenticity.  Also snuggling.

 

Today’s Bible reading can be read or listened to at https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Deuteronomy+14-16&version=NIV

Tomorrow’s reading will be Deuteronomy 17-20 as we continue the 2020 Chronological Bible Reading Plan

 

Satisfaction and Sin

Numbers 18 29 NIV

Numbers 18

Everything in Israel that is devoted to the Lord is yours. – Numbers 18:14
The old saying to “save the best for last” might be our natural inclination as people, but when it comes to giving to God, the best should always come first. That was what God demanded of Israel. As the chosen servants of God, the Levites received that offering, the very best, as their own.
1st of all, the Levites enjoyed a distinguished role. They were God’s gift to Aaron. There should have been no confusion about Aaron’s authority over them; instead, they should have appreciated the fact that God had wanted them for His service.
That service was part of its unique responsibility. No one else in Israel could come so close to the Lord’s dwelling as the Levites. They were given the opportunity to care for and handle the holiest dwelling in the whole land. They were employed in the service of the Almighty.
God blessed them with material gifts as well. In exchange for their service to God, the Levites received the tithe offered by the entire community, the best that Israel had to offer.
For any among the Levites to have been unhappy, they must have been deceived or deluded about their stance with God. The proper response to all that He had given them was to give Him a tenth of what they received—not just any part of it, but the very best of the best. Instead, they demanded more. People who are not satisfied with the best, can never really be satisfied. Do you recognize what God has blessed you with?

Numbers 19

If a [unclean] person does not purify himself, he must be cut off from the community, because he has defiled the sanctuary of the Lord. – Numbers 19:20
It was very easy to become unclean without realizing it. To touch a corpse, to be in the same room as the dead, to stumble over a grave, was enough to defile the Israelite, and excommunicate him from the Tabernacle with its holy rites. Could anything more graphic give us a clear picture of sin? We cannot be in contact with people who are blatantly sinning, or using foul language, or watching movies or tv that express the evil of this world.
This is the reason why, at the end of the day, we often feel unable to pray, or hold fellowship with God: we are excluded from the Most Holy Place, because of this defilement. There is only one way of escaping it, and that is in being covered, sealed, by the Spirit of God. “In whom you were sealed until the day of redemption.”
Andy Cisneros
Today’s Bible reading, Numbers 18-20 can be read or listened to at https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Numbers+18-20&version=NIV
Tomorrow’s reading will be Numbers 21-22 as we continue the 2020 Chronological Bible Reading Plan