yesterday, we looked at a story in 2 chronicles 20, where a king – a good king – named jehoshapat was in trouble. he was king of judah and jerusalem, and three other nations were on their way to destroy him.
chapter 20 lays out his three-fold course of response, all three of which involved the entire community. see, when you’re in trouble or have the blues, it’s just not a good idea to keep that to yourself. you need other people. God made you that way.
here’s what jehoshaphat did…
1. PRAYER: 2 chronicles 20.5-12
in his prayer, jehoshaphat reminded both God and his people – and himself – that they were God’s people, this was God’s land, and this was God’s problem. and then he let God know that they were clueless as to how to proceed and they needed his help. are you taking your needs to God in prayer, in the context of your cell or small group?
2. WORD: 2 chronicles 20.13-17
a prophet named jahaziel stood up and spoke on God’s behalf. “this is what the LORD says…” and he proceeded to tell the king and the people what they were to do. now we don’t really have prophets like that anymore, but we have God’s Word. it might not tell you which ponies to play, but it is surprising how specific the Word can be when we are in trouble. are you reading it?
3. WORSHIP: 2 chronicles 20.18-28
following the proclamation of the Word, the king and the people worship. they worship before the impending battle, during it, and after it. in fact, they send their worship band into battle ahead of the army! you can read the story yourself to see what happens.
worship is an often-left-unused resource for God’s people. we “go to church” for an hour or so on sunday morning and call it worship. but there are two problems with that.
first, worship is 24/7, not just something that your church does for an hour on your behalf or for your entertainment. our every waking moment should be worshipful, which simply means that all we think, say, and do should be done with the recognition that God is our God. period. in addition, we ought to add song to our personal times with God. music can add so much to our experience of God’s presence, beyond just reading the bible and praying. hey, it’s why God made mp3 players. ear buds are holy instruments. get some good music in those ears and see what happens!
second, we short-change even our one hour on sundays. part of that is my fault and part of that is your fault. my fault is going to the extreme to create a visitor-friendly environment, with coffee and cool art and places to chit-chat. your fault is to much coffee and chit-chat, to the detriment of your hour of focused worship – OUR worship – together as a family.
i closed yesterday by offering 5 directives. on sundays, from 10:00 to 11:15 AM…
1. be here. if you are healthy and in town, you need to be with the family in worship. you need it more than you know, and others who love you and count on you need you there. the panthers can wait. seriously, God or jake delhomme…?
2. be quiet. yes, our atmosphere is concert-like. that’s intentional. but we can still be quiet so that people around us can worship undistracted. please, i can’t ask strongly enough – respect the worship time of others.
3. be attentive. for too many of you, sunday morning is the only time you come in contact with God’s Word. it shouldn’t be, but it is. so hush up and listen so that God can direct or comfort your heart and soul.
4. be a participant. our worship leaders are not performers. they’re good enough to be, but that isn’t their role. it’s to lead us into spiritual battle against the enemy of our soul every sunday. that’s why we need you to be there. we need the whole army present. and when the church sings, everybody sings. c’mon, you do that silly karaoke stuff, you can certainly open wide and sing your heart’s praise to the Father!
5. be expectant. jehoshaphat was told to march into battle. but he was also told that he wouldn’t need to fight, that God would take care of the victory. the king led his people forward with that firm expectation and God did not disappoint. please come to our Siskey Sacred Space on sundays with the same full expectation that you are God’s. that he has you back, that he will fight for you, and that he wants you to know all that.
i concluded by reading a song from revelation 19. worship will be full-on in heaven – loud and constant. but one genre of music will not be used: the blues.
i heard a loud shout from the throne, saying, “look, God’s home is now among his people! he will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them.
he will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain.
all these things will be gone forever!” (rev. 21.3-4)