Daily Devotional: "THE OBJECT & CONTEXT OF WORSHIP"
January 19, 2018
"And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him. . ."
Revelation is unlike any other in Scripture. Out of 66 books, Christ reserved one where His Creatorship; Messiahship; Sovereignty; and Priestly roles are combined in prophetic and typological disclosures. The beginning of Revelation unequivocally states, the book belongs to Jesus. At the epicenter of Christ's Words to His church are three messages, carried by angels. They are global, emphasizing the plan of salvation, while defining appropriate worship to the author of it, and the false system that steals what is rightfully Christ's. The first angel's message is intended for all earth dwellers. Every segment of the verse has distinctive and relevant meaning. "Fear God, and give glory to him" calls our attention to every aspect of Christ's Divinity. He is the object of the worship. He is the forthcoming victor in the great controversy. Worship matters.
John's usage of 'fear' in reference to God is a foreign or odd concept for our contemporary minds. For us to fear, we envision cowering or evasion. Not so with this word. This is a word that conveys respect; profound respect. Respect requires several unique attitudes: reverence; honor; humility; adoration; submission; and knowledge. Each of these words deserves a separate devotional, but time will not permit it. John is clear; the end-time call to worship is serious, focused, and reverential. This worship is contextualized through the experience of those who are redeemed. Obedience; unwavering, uncompromising obedience is the virtue identifying the redeemed who are taken to heaven.
Prophetic and Doctrinal Application:
Nothing is more antithetical to God's prescribed worship process than the notion, worship should reflect racial and cultural preferences. Nothing is more blasphemous than a Christian who posits the idea the worshipper defines God's worship. Nothing is more anti-Scriptural than for people to enter into a worship process and not know God's ground rules. Who would enter the NFL playoffs without knowing the rules of the game? Who would enter a kitchen to cook and not know the core elements in food preparation? Who would dare show an indifference to educational requirements, supporting certification, or required licensing, before entering the operating room? But every Sabbath, thousands of individuals enter worship with a single premise; subjective worshipping.
Modern worshippers are involved in the most declarative and definitive process God established next to the Sabbath, or other core doctrines. Nothing about worship to God is left to doubt and cultural interpretation. No one can claim worship as unchartered territory. In 1 Samuel 15:22, 23, the prophet/priest Samuel confronts King Saul about his false worship. The issue with Saul is the issue with us. The Bible records: "And Samuel said, Hath the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the Lord, he hath also rejected thee from being king." Saul was rejected from his office because he refused to worship according to the Divine outline. Israel grew routine in their sacrifices and predictable in their ceremony. None of it was pleasing to God.
Worship begins in the heart. Our hearts are disclosed in one simple, but profoundly important characteristic - obedience. Samuel placed Saul's inadequate, insufficient, rebellious, and contemptuous worship in its proper setting: witchcraft and idolatry. These two words are of the devil's making. They are closely related and therefore difficult to numerically isolate which is first. They are twin companions. Without obedience, worship can be in church, on the Sabbath, with baptized members, but be motivated, and controlled by the devil. Not a good thought, but possible according to this historical account. The question is how does it happen and what does it look like in modern terms.
We will continue this discussion Monday. Until then, review your life and ask the Holy Spirit to convict you about any area of your life that is not in full obedience to Christ. Further, make Biblical worship a matter of study and prayer. Avoid defaulting to two or three passages, but search the entire Word of God for method, manner, and process involved in sanctified, acceptable, Godly worship.
Dear Friends of the New Leaf Prophecy/Doctrinal Learning Center:
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Email: firstname.lastname@example.org to share how this has impacted your knowledge and desire to learn more.