Praise awaits you,O God,in Zion (2)
During a praise and worship session,the praise leader encourages the congregation to praise the Almighty God:
“Open your mouths and sing praises to Him.Shout to the Lord O ye people!He has kept you since the beginning of this year till now”.
But I have some questions regarding that:
Is it possible for me to shout,make noise,dance like David,throw chairs up, and yet my heart is not right with God and my praise unacceptable? Yes,very possible.
“This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me”-Matt 15:8(CSB)
“All of you praise me with your words, but you never really think about me”(CEV)
Is it possible for my heart to be right with God and also praise Him with my shouts? Yes!
True praise to God emanates from a broken heart.It flows from the heart to the lips.It does not flow from the lips to the heart.This is the reason it is better if praise and worship session comes up immediately after the word of God is shared.
“The sacrifice you desire is a broken spirit. You will not reject a broken and repentant heart, O God”-Psalm 51:17
Let me go back to the conversation between Mrs B and her husband mentioned in part 1.I will like to give three possibilities that can play out by the time Mr B gets to the house:
1)Mr B meets junk food on the dining table:
Though Mrs B spoke well on phone about the special delicacy she had prepared,her husband got home to meet unhealthy food on the table!
This is what happens when we invite God into our heart with our lips but our hearts are full of junks!
“And he said to me, “Son of man, do you see what they are doing—the utterly detestable things the Israelites are doing here, things that will drive me far from my sanctuary? But you will see things that are even more detestable…So I went in and looked, and I saw portrayed all over the walls all kinds of crawling things and unclean animals…”-Ezekiel 8:6,10
The Praise leader promises God a sumptuous meal of praise but alas when God enters the auditorium,He meets complaints,grumblings,abusive words,malice,adultery and all sorts of evil in the hearts of the congregation!
2)Mr B meets another man eating the special delicacy meant for him.
In this case,Mrs B actually prepared the food she promised her husband.But,she gave it out to her secret lover instead of her husband.
God is our husband:
“For your Maker is your husband– the LORD Almighty is his name”-Isa 54:5
We are like Mrs B when we give the praise due to God to any other being!
Paul and Barnabas preached in Lystra and healed a man that was born lame.The city went into frenzy and decided to make Paul and Barnabas gods.
“When the crowd saw what Paul had done, they shouted in the Lycaonian language, “The gods have come down to us in human form!”Barnabas they called Zeus, and Paul they called Hermes because he was the chief speaker.The priest of Zeus,whose temple was just outside the city, brought bulls and wreaths to the city gates because he and the crowd wanted to offer sacrifices to them”-Acts 14:11-13
I want you to see the reaction of Paul and Barnabas to that:
“But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard of this, they tore their clothes and rushed out into the crowd, shouting:”Friends, why are you doing this? We too are only human, like you”-Acts 14:14-15a
This is a lesson to both the leader and the led.While our secular or spiritual leaders must be respected,we the followers should not make a God out of them.Also,the leaders should let make us understand that they are human beings like us.
God can’t stand a competitor in our hearts.He is a jealous God.It is either you submit to God or to the idol in your heart.
3)Mr B meets the special delicacy on the dining according to the words of his wife:
Praise God…The expectation of Mr B is met!
Are there people out there that want to give God a worthy praise? God does not only need your lips to praise Him,He wants your heart.He doesn’t need only your heart,He wants your body as a living sacrifice!
“And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable.This is truly the way to worship him”-Romans 12:1
When we offer our bodies to God,we aren’t only praising God…We are worshiping Him!