June 13, 2014
TODAY’S STUDY TEXT:
“And Jehoshaphat bowed his head with his face to the ground, and all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem fell down before the Lord, worshiping Him. And some Levites of the Kohathites and Korahites stood up to Praise the Lord, the God of Israel, with a very loud voice.”
II Chronicles 20: 18, 19
“True worship exalts God to His rightful place in our lives.”
As I look at what God has done for me in my life, what should my worshipful response be?
What does “worshiping” God mean to me in practical, everyday life?
“Worship is the submission of all our nature to God. It is the quickening of conscience by His holiness, the nourishment of the mind with His truth, the purifying of imagination by His beauty, the opening of the heart of His love, the surrender of the will to His purpose.”
“Worship is that to which we give our interest, our enthusiasm and our devotion.”
Clarence E. Mac Cartney
King Jehoshaphat and the people of Judah had been given a tremendous message of encouragement from Jahaziel, the Levite. Telling all the people that they did not have to fight a battle against the “triple threat” of the Moabites, Ammonites and Meunites, great rejoicing filled the hearts of the king and all of Judah.
No longer dismayed or despairing, fear drifted away like an early morning fog – for the sun had come out which was the brightness of God’s glorious majesty and protective strength.
As the message of assurance of victory came to King Jehoshaphat, he was so overcome with gratitude that the Bible tells us he, “bowed his head with his face to the ground…worshiping God.”
As I read about the response of the king and the people of Judah, it got me to thinking about the response in my own life to the times God has intervened on my behalf – and believe me, there have been many times I recognize that my Father has “stepped-in.” But I also know full well, that there are so many more incidents, when my Father has delivered me and I haven’t taken note or even been aware of His precious hand as it has shielded me or guided me. This made me begin to contemplate my own personal call to worship my heavenly Father with greater devotion.
We can learn a lot from Jehoshaphat’s behavior and response to God’s glorious intervention. After hearing of God’s overwhelming deliverance, he fell on his face and worshipped, or as the Hebrew says: “paid homage and reverence to royalty.” Author Frank Gabelein states “reverence is essential to worship.” And in the case of the people of Judah, they were showing the type of reverence in their worship which is defined as awe, respect, veneration and love.
And let’s not forget, this worshipful behavior took place before the defeat of the Moabites, Ammonites, and the Meunites. If you read II Chronicles 20: 20, you’ll notice that the defeat of the enemy wasn’t until the next day. But even before victory had been seen with the eyes, the people were worshipping a God who promised to keep His word and who had guaranteed a victorious outcome.
How often, in my own life, I want to see God do something, then I’ll thank Him. But the lesson that Jehoshaphat teaches us is that the worship of our Father doesn’t come with strings attached. I don’t worship Him only if He does something for me.
Instead, as Herbert M. Carson so correctly points out, “Worship is the declaration by a creature of the greatness of his (or her) Creator.” In other words, I worship God because of who He is. And my pure worship of my Father comes from a heart and a life, which as J. A. Motyer discovered is, “so angled towards God that whatever strikes upon us, whether sorrow or joy, should be deflected upwards at once into His presence.”
What will be the result in my life and yours as our lives are filled daily with the worship and reverence of our heavenly Father?
Roswell C. Long gives us insight into the affect worship has in our everyday living: “Worship liberates the personality by giving a new perspective to life, by integrating life…by bringing into the life the values of humility, loyalty, devotion and rightness of attitude, thus refreshing and reviving the spirit.” And I ask you, “Who wouldn’t want a life that is refreshed with a heavenly attitude?” This is what happens naturally when we put the worship of our Father at the core of our being. As one of my favorites, A. W. Tozer correctly penned: “There is more healing joy in five minutes of worship than there is in five nights of revelry.”
Before the battle was fought, before the overwhelming deliverance, and before the victory was won – the king and the people of Judah, fell on their faces and worshipped the Lord!
“O Worship the King”
“O worship the King, all glorious above,
O gratefully sing His wonderful love;
Our shield and defender, the Ancient of days,
Pavilioned in splendor, and girded with praise.
Thy bountiful care, what tongue can recite?
It breathes in the air, it shines in the light;
It streams from the hills, it descends to the plain,
And sweetly distills in the dew and the rain.
Frail children of dust, and feeble as frail,
In Thee do we trust, nor find Thee to fail,
Thy mercies, how tender! How firm to the end!
Our Maker, Defender, Redeemer, and Friend.”
(Based on Psalm 104)
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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