Daily Reflections November 15, 2017
“It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” (Hebrews 10:31 ESV)
What can possibly be said after the reading of Amos 4? The scene that is depicted causes my heart to skip a beat and my palms to sweat.
Here we have a people that have completely rejected God. The Northern Tribe of Israel has devolved into an idol-worshiping, pleasure-seeking abomination that still considers herself to be God’s chosen nation. God scoffs at their religious pageantry!
““Come to Bethel, and transgress;
to Gilgal, and multiply transgression;
bring your sacrifices every morning,
your tithes every three days;
offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving of that which is leavened,
and proclaim freewill offerings, publish them;
for so you love to do, O people of Israel!”
declares the Lord God.” (Amos 4:4-5 ESV)
God is exhausted with the false, hypocritical worship coming out of Israel. He says in effect: “You are living in debauchery and sin, but carry on with your tithes and offerings as if all is well – this is, after all, what you love to do.”
He goes on to list all the ways in which He attempted to shake the nation from her apathy. He withheld food (v.6), He withheld rain (v.7-8), He destroyed crops (v.9), He sent pestilence and war (v.10) and He completely overthrew them at times (v.11). God sent wake-up call after wake-up call to His people. He called them time and time again to return. But they never turned. They refused to humble themselves.
As I read verse 12 this morning, I was overwhelmed by the fear of God. If we persist in our rebellion and sin – if we ignore His warnings and turn a deaf ear to His calling – then we will experience the final judgement.
““Therefore thus I will do to you, O Israel;
because I will do this to you,
prepare to meet your God, O Israel!”
For behold, he who forms the mountains and creates the wind,
and declares to man what is his thought,
who makes the morning darkness,
and treads on the heights of the earth—
the Lord, the God of hosts, is his name!” (Amos 4:12-13 ESV)
The greatest author could not communicate even a hint of the awe-inspiring, all-consuming holiness of God. Woe to the ones who will stand before Him on judgement day with sinful, rebellious, unrepentant hearts! Put off your sin and put on Christ! Listen to His call to repentance! Prepare to meet your God!
Pastor Levi denBok
Worship is the grand declaration of the greatness of the Creator. It is our consuming purpose now and will be our joy throughout eternity.
The psalter crescendos into the final resounding notes of exuberant praise! These final 3 chapters of a section of Psalms (146-150) are dedicated to the theme of praising God and the reasons for it. Each Psalm begins and ends with “hallelu Yah” or “praise the Lord”! The call to praise is a summons extending to all creation, to those in the highest heavens, angels, sun, moon, starry hosts, rulers, nations, instruments, elements, and all people.
The word hallelujah contains his divine name and reminds us that God has revealed Himself and His character and purposes to his people. He is the Great I Am. Hallelujah means “you all praise YAHWEH”. It is a plural imperative for all to acclaim and glorify YAHWEH. Praise is a joy-filled, demonstrative, celebrative boasting in the Lord.
This act of giving praise is a great glory and honour for God’s faithful people (Psalm 148:14, Psalm 149:1,5,9). Our sovereign Creator is awesome in power and we acknowledge that in grateful praise.
Let them praise the name of the Lord! For he commanded and they were created. (Psalm 148:5 ESV)
All the earth is called to praise the Lord whose name alone is exalted. Psalm 148 contrasts heights and depths, heavens and earth, the unruly and the rulers, animate and inanimate, young and old, women and men. The LORD made them all and all are obligated to demonstrate allegiance to him in praise.
Isaac Watts’ paraphrased hymn of Psalm 148 declares,
Mortals, can you refrain your tongue, when nature all around you sings? O for a shout from old and young, from humble swains and lofty kings!
God has a special affinity for the praise of his people. Psalm 149 speaks of the delight the LORD has for his people. We rejoice in him who takes delight in us. There is joy in the heart that brings praise to the LORD.
Let Israel be glad in his Maker; let the children of Zion rejoice in their King! ...For the Lord takes pleasure in his people; he adorns the humble with salvation. (Psalm 149:2,4 ESV)
These 150 psalms reach their ultimate crescendo in the final verse of the psalter,
Let everything that has breath praise the Lord! Praise the Lord! (Psalm 150:6 ESV)
In the last psalm, music, voices, every tongue, instruments, clashing cymbals, everything is called to join together giving the full measure of praise to God in the grand hallelujah.
Again, in his paraphrase of Psalm 150, Watts calls us to worship:
Let all your sacred passions move, while you rehearse his deeds; but the great work of saving love your highest praise exceeds.
Revelation 19 likewise records the final and great crescendo of praise. The great multitude cries out the salvation and glory and power that belong to God. After immersing ourselves in these Psalms of praise, how can we read, hear, or sing the phrase “praise God” and be casual about it or be detached from giving God the glory he deserves?
The great work of God’s saving love exceeds our highest praise. How and why we give our praise to God is directly related to our understanding of what he has done for us in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Be a worshiper. Praise Christ’s saving name!
Praise God from whom all blessings flow. Praise Him all creatures here below. Praise Him above ye heavenly hosts. Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost. (Psalm 148-150 ESV)
Associate Pastor Jody Cross