November 14th

 

Praise, Worship & the Presence of God

11And it came to pass when the priests came out of the Most Holy Place (for all the priests who were present had sanctified themselves, without keeping to their divisions), 12and the Levites who were the singers, all those of Asaph and Heman and Jeduthun, with their sons and their brethren, stood at the east end of the altar, clothed in white linen, having cymbals, stringed instruments and harps, and with them one hundred and twenty priests sounding with trumpets-- 13indeed it came to pass, when the trumpeters and singers were as one, to make one sound to be heard in praising and thanking the LORD, and when they lifted up their voice with the trumpets and cymbals and instruments of music, and praised the LORD, saying:  "For He is good, for His mercy endures forever," that the house, the house of the LORD, was filled with a cloud, 14so that the priests could not continue ministering because of the cloud; for the glory of the LORD filled the house of God.  2 Chronicles 5:11-14 NKJV 

The above passage is a powerful example of what can happen when people honor God through praise and worship.  The Levites made a well-organized, quality effort to honor the Lord in the ceremony.  The people wore special clothing and there was a large group of skilled musicians, specifically trained for this task (1 Chronicles 25:1-7).  At the point were they were in one accord, praising the Lord, the glory of the Lord filled the temple.  It was so overwhelming that the priests could not continue to minister. 

Wouldn’t it be awesome if we could experience God’s glory in our lives like that every day, or at least a few times a month?  It seems like the challenges of daily life on earth can easily drain the vitality of our relationship with God.  Tolerating sin in our lives is probably the most common reason for spiritual deadness. I suspect that a lack of quality praise and worship time can also be one of the culprits, as God dwells in the praises of his people (Psalm 22:3).   

One of the miracles of the New Covenant is that through our faith in Jesus we become temples of God’s Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19).  Our bodies and minds become places of worship for God.  We incur the responsibility to honor God by what we do and think.  Therefore, praise and worship is perfectly fitting for us.  It can be a part of our quiet times with God and something we carry out throughout the day.  Paul wrote,  

15 See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, 16redeeming the time, because the days are evil. 17Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is. 18And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, 19speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, 20giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, 21submitting to one another in the fear of God.  Ephesians 5: 17-21 NKJV 

Keeping our thoughts focused on God throughout the day may be one of the biggest challenges we face.  Our world is awash with distractions that can pull us out of that ongoing fellowship with the Master. We must take every thought captive and make it obedient to Christ.  If we are faithful in cultivating praise and worship, I believe we will experience the glories of God more and more.   

Questions for further thought:

Prayer:

“Father God, I praise you for the precious blood of Jesus that justifies me and brings me salvation.  Thank you for giving me the wonderful privilege of being a temple of your Spirit.  I repent from any sin that I have tolerated and from not offering the praise and worship that you deserve.  Please forgive me Lord.  Please lead me now in living for you and teach me how to cultivate a lifestyle of praise and worship.  Thank you, Lord!  In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.”