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17 November, 2021 13:39

November 17, 2021

BRINGING THE LAME AND BLIND

If you were to ask an average believer how many of them stole something this past week. I’m sure the vast majority of them would look at you dumbfounded at the very suggestion. We are all well aware that stealing is forbidden by God and made it to His top ten list of commandments. ‘Thou shalt not steal’ ranks just below ‘Thou shalt not commit adultery’.

Now if stealing is wrong, and it clearly is, then stealing from God Himself would be the ultimate theft. Right!? According to the Prophet Malachi, God accused His people of robbing Him. The robbery was in their tithes and offering which they either withheld completely or replaced with inferior offerings.

Just in case you’re not familiar with the passage I’m referring to, here it is:

‘But when you present the blind for sacrifice is it not evil? And when you present the lame and sick, is it not evil? Why not offer it to your governor? Would he be pleased with you? Or would He receive you kindly?” says the Lord of hosts. “But now will you not entreat God’s favor, that He may be gracious to us? With such an offering on your part, will He receive you kindly?” Malachi 1:8,9

God was clearly upset with His people and the way they were treating Him. God goes on to say.

“…you bring what was taken by robbery, and what is lame or sick; so you bring the offering! Should I receive that from your hand?” says the Lord. But cursed be the swindler who has a male in his flock and vows it, but sacrifices a blemished animal to the Lord, for I AM A GREAT KING…Malachi 1:13,14

The point I’m trying to make here, is that in the New Testament, our sacrifices are no longer in the form of four-footed animals but through our praise and worship. Here is how the writer of Hebrews refers to it.

“Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips that give thanks to His name. Hebrews 13:15

Nothing perturbs me more than going to church and having to listen to God’s people barely uttering a word of praise. The vast majority of people are not even singing and those that are can barely be heard. Almost every Sunday I go home with a pit in my stomach telling myself. ‘We robbed God again’, We robbed God again’. If that’s how I feel, then I wonder how God feels?

God had to remind His people that He is a GREAT KING. He’s trying to tell them to honor Him as such and not treat Him as though He’s not that important. If you turn from Malachi to Matthew just a few pages on but 400 years later, we have the account of the three Magi announcing to King Herod that they were on their way to worship the King of the Jews. Where they bringing the blind and the lame? No, they brought Him gold, frankincense and myrrh; a sacrifice and offering worthy of the KING.

Keep in mind that under the Old Testament economy the priest was responsible for examining every sacrifice prior to it being offered. If the sacrifice was blemished in any way it was to be rejected; only the very best sacrifice was acceptable. No wonder we read the Psalmist saying,

‘Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Thy sight O Lord, my rock and my Redeemer.’ Psalm 19:14

Today, we no longer bring our sacrifices to an earthly priest but directly to the Lord Himself who is our great High Priest. He is the one who decides to accept or reject our sacrifice of praise. Unless we are doing our very best to offer Him as perfect a sacrifice as possible, then we are no different from God’s people in Malachi’s time, who substituted the lame and blind instead of offering the best of their flock.

We read in Proverbs

“Do notwithhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to do it. Proverbs 3:27

If we apply this verse to God Himself, then surely, He deserves the praise and honor that is due Him. God is worthy of so much more than just singing a few self-centered songs we refer to as worship. Worship should focus solely on God’s greatness, majesty, holiness, righteousness, and power. I love the lyrics of that song that says ‘Let’s forget about ourselves and concentrate on Him and worship Him’. I’m convinced if we truly did just, that we would experience so much more of His presence in our services.

Throughout God’s word we are exhorted to ‘Make a joyful NOISE to the Lord.’ Or ‘SHOUT joyfully to God, all the earth.’ Or ‘O clap your hands, all peoples; SHOUT to God with the voice of joy.’ Nothing should excite us more than being in His presence and then in turn to let Him know how much we love Him.

One last thought. Imagine being asked to take charge of preparing a large family Thanksgiving meal. Family members will be driving in from various places, some even flying in from overseas for the occasion. Chances are we wouldn’t find you shopping for a turkey the same day of the meal, or trying to decide at the last minute whether or not to serve cake and ice-cream or apple pie for dessert. No doubt you would have been planning for weeks or at least days before.

Worship should be considered as the greatest of all Thanksgivings. The ‘first fruits’ of any service, is the time we set apart, to give thanks to God for all His benefits. It is the responsibility of the worship leader to take the necessary time to pray and prepare for this very special occasion. Every detail should be thought out in advance and not simply thrown together at the last minute. Each song should be skillfully knit together to produce a seamless tapestry of worship fit for the King of kings. The task of the worship leader is to cast up a highway of song that leads the congregation into the very presence of God. Songs should be considered as steps with each song lifting us higher and higher until we find ourselves in awe of His glorious majesty.

The role of the worship leader, is in many ways, as important or even more important than the one delivering the message. The worship time is God’s time, and should be treated as such, while the remaining time is for our benefit and spiritual growth.

A word of wisdom here to those leading worship – let the songs do the work. In other word refrain from talking except for your initial welcome. Now a word to those in leadership. Don’t hijack the worship by veering off into some type of ministry time, that can come later in the service. Prophetic words or words of knowledge won’t perish if not used immediately. There is a time and place for everything so let’s not short change God by interrupting the service and thereby robbing God of all the honor He deserves

If I’ve ruffled a few feathers please forgive me. I’m simply trying to right a wrong that has invaded the church for far too long. Let’s WORSHIP HIM!

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