WHEN WORSHIP IS LACKING
When we look at the Bible and the history of God’s people, we realize that those who worship the Lord are the minority. When worship is lacking it is more than not singing and we fail to realize the detrimental atmosphere we create when we do not take seriously a lifestyle of worship. A lifestyle of worship is a lifestyle connected to God and it is when we are connected to God that we truly understand the purpose of life and how to fully live the life the way the creator intended it. Today we explore what happens when worship is neglected and why we need to prioritize it in our lives!
NOTES ON THE TEXT
Theme: Praise the LORD! Oh give thanks to the LORD, for He is good, for His steadfast love endures forever!
Refrain: Blessed be the LORD, the God of Israel, from everlasting to everlasting! And Let all the people say, “Amen!” “Praise the LORD!”
The Psalm is focused on praising God and it may be confusing at first to see a history lesson on the people’s lack of worship unto the Lord but the history of rebellion serves as a warning to not live like the past but to live differently in the present! The history that is presented is one of failure to worship God and thus to not live like that by praising Him in the moment. Here is the history of Israel and their unfaithfulness.
13 But they soon forgot his works;
they did not wait for his counsel.
14 But they had a wanton craving in the wilderness,
and put God to the test in the desert;
15 he gave them what they asked,
but sent a wasting disease among them.
Unfaithfulness starts with forgetfulness!
When we forget who God is we will begin to walk away from Him and not wait upon God. A lifestyle of praise helps us to remember who He is so that we will not stray away from His presence! What you will notice in the history that will be presented is that when unfaithfulness is allowed to persist, the people go deeper into sin and brokenness. If we have gone a day without seeking God then don’t allow it to go into two days. If it has been three days don’t let it go to four days! If it has been a week don’t let it go to two weeks! If it has been a month since we worshipped, don’t let it go into months or years! The point is that if we don’t stop the downward spiral of separation from God because of the lack of worship, than let us stop and turn to the Lord!
16 When men in the camp were jealous of Moses
and Aaron, the holy one of the Lord,
17 the earth opened and swallowed up Dathan,
and covered the company of Abiram.
18 Fire also broke out in their company;
the flame burned up the wicked.
There were people who became jealous of Moses and Aaron who have been appointed by God to lead the people. They accused Moses and Aaron that they were leading for their own selfish ambition and that they were hosting a spirit of complaint and dishonor. God judged their rebellion because when Dathan and Abiram were rebelling against the leadership, they were ultimately rebelling against God who has chosen that leadership. A lack of praise has led to rebellion against God’s leadership and a question for us is, “does this mean that we follow blindly our spiritual leaders?” Far from it! But if we were living a lifestyle of worship, we would recognize who are the ones that God has placed in leadership to honor and support. It does not mean that leaders are faultless but in the midst of calling out their failures, we are to honor and support them. Worship helps us realize that we are called to support not dethrone people if they disagree with our opinions. Only when a leader is no longer following in the character of Christ and leading people in sin without any sign of repentance after being exposed are they to be removed but if it is a matter of opinion then we best check ourselves before we find ourselves in the crosshairs of God’s wrath.
19 They made a calf in Horeb
and worshiped a metal image.
20 They exchanged the glory of God[b]
for the image of an ox that eats grass.
21 They forgot God, their Savior,
who had done great things in Egypt,
22 wondrous works in the land of Ham,
and awesome deeds by the Red Sea.
23 Therefore he said he would destroy them—
had not Moses, his chosen one,
stood in the breach before him,
to turn away his wrath from destroying them.
It says in the ESV that the people of God, “Exchanged the glory of God for an image of an ox.” The NASB words it in a way where it says that the people exchanged their glory for an image of an ox. Both translations must be taken together because our identities are wrapped up in the things that we worship. When we worship idols we give up our God given identity because the object of our worship is a reflection of how we identify ourselves! For some, their idols of worship is fame and thus they want to be identified as a person of great influence. Some idolize strength, some beauty, and some their work but the neither of these things can truly sum up the identity that they were built with by the creator for all were created in the image of God.
In the Golden Calf incident, the people chose to no longer be identified with God and they were going to experience the judgment of a life that is separated from God, which is death but Moses prayed for them. Just like Moses, when you feel like the only one who has chosen to be identified by God then be the one to pray for everyone! Your intercession may provide the grace for everyone else to get a chance to turn back to their God given identity.
24 Then they despised the pleasant land,
having no faith in his promise.
25 They murmured in their tents,
and did not obey the voice of the Lord.
26 Therefore he raised his hand and swore to them
that he would make them fall in the wilderness,
27 and would make their offspring fall among the nations,
scattering them among the lands
The rebellion grows when they begin to be ungrateful when the Lord provides for them. This is the moment in the Israelite history where they see the promised land but reject it because they couldn’t believe in the promise of God to prosper them. When we live in rebellion and have a lack of worship, we tend to doubt the promises of God even when the promise is right before our very eyes! Instead of praising they were caught murmuring. Murmuring is not loud but a subtle form of rebellion where you are grumbling underneath your breath but what is subtle will eventually lead to being not so subtle for rebellion entertained cannot be hidden for long. Praise keeps us humble, it keeps us grateful, and it keeps us in His promises.
Unfaithfulness starts with forgetfulness, therefore a lifestyle of worship helps us remember who God is.
Worship helps us recognize spiritual leadership to support.
Our identities are wrapped around the things we worship so therefore may it be wrapped up in God.
Lack of worship blinds us to and forfeits the promises of God in our lives.