“Make an altar of earth for me and sacrifice on it your burnt offerings and fellowship offerings, your sheep and goats and your cattle. Wherever I cause my name to be honored, I will come to you and bless you. If you make an altar of stones for me, do not built it with dressed stones, for you will defile it if you use a tool on it. And do not go up to my altar on steps, lest your nakedness be exposed on it.” (Exodus 20:24-26)
It is important to note, that early on God was teaching His people how to do many things, not least was how to worship. The sacrifices were usually goat or sheep, but He was preparing the people for the greatest sacrifice of all and it no longer included meat. The mechanics of worship occupy an important place in biblical revelation. The sacrifices to the Lord, the place of such sacrifice, the priests who administer the sacrifices, the times and seasons stipulated, as well as the ingredients of the ritual of worship began to unfold here.
The important thing is to realize that some form, some ritual or regulation, generally accompanies worship. A ritual for worship must be formed and planned for. Worship may be individual or corporate. In either case it I never consistently haphazard or casual. Such worship is directed to the the one true God. God does not tolerate practices which people might confuse with worship practices of other gods or lifestyles opposed to the holy God.
PRAYER FOR THE DAY:
Precious Abba, we pray today for the honor to worship You as our God. You created us and everything in this world we live in and the universe that surrounds us. Our worship is an extension of our relationship with You and we honor in our lives and our worship. Today also pray those who are suffering in body, mind, and/or spirit, with friends, family, for those we don’t know, especially the people in Ukraine, as they are fighting for their very lives and way of life. Amen
THOUGHT OF THE DAY:
“Kindness is difficult to give away, because it keeps coming back to us.”
“This is the portion of the offerings made to the Lord by fire that were allotted to Aaron and his sons on the day they were presented to serve the Lord as priests. On the day they were anointed, the Lord commanded that the Israelites give this to t hem as their regular share for the generations to come. These, then, are the regulations for the burnt offering, the grain offering, the sin offering, thee guilt offering, the ordination offering and the fellowship offerings, which the Lord gave Moses on Mount Sinai on the day he commanded the Lord, in the Desert of Sinai.” (Leviticus 7:35-38)
From the very beginning worship included giving an offering to the Lord. Offerings should be given on a regular schedule. Israel’s worship included daily morning and evening sacrifices, as well as other special days and seasons of special offerings. Offerings and sacrifices represented the product of human labor as a symbol of gratitude to God. True sacrifice involves personal cost. King David insisted insisted on purchasing and in sacrifices to the Lord, refusing to let the owner give him the land and offering. Old Testament animal sacrifice culminated in the New Testament in the once and for all sacrifice of Christ. Because of he Lord’s atoning death, the apostle Paul called on Christians to offer our lives and our possessions to the Lord.
“And now, brothers, we want you to know about the grace that God has given the Macedonian churches. Out of the most severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity. For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. Entirely on their own, they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the saints. And they did not do as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then to us in keeping with God’s will. So we urged Titus, since he had earlier made a beginning to bring also to completion this act of grace on your part. But just as you excel in everything—-in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in your love for us—-see that you also excel in this grace of giving. I am not commanding you, but Ii want to test the sincerity of your love by comparing it with the earnestness of others.” (2nd Corinthians 8:1-8)
Our power to act like God comes from the grace—-unearned and undeserved love—-God gives us. In this particular instance, God’s grace developed a spirit of generosity in the Macedonian churches, and we ought to have that same grace of generosity in order to help people in need. Those Macedonian churches provided an example of worship involving the giving of themselves as well as their material wealth to the Lord. This, we ought to do in our own churches.
2ND THOUGHT OF THE DAY:
“Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—-this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any long to the pattern of the world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—-his good, pleasing and perfect will.” (Romans 12:1-2)
The New Testament reveals the need of the giving of ourselves and all we are to God as an act of worship. Christ’s death on the cross fulfilled the Old Testament requirement to make animal sacrifices. That aspect of worship is now expressed in the giving of our lives completely to the Lord and faithful giving of our possessions. We have human natures with a tendency to fall into sin, though God gave us a way to restore ourselves to Him via confession and repentance of sins and restoration of our relationship with Him.
He also wants us to give not just of our money, but also of our time. Let me give you a real life example. There was a community of federal housing that wanted to send Christmas cards to our troops serving in the middle east. I explained to them that it was too late in the year to successfully have them reach the troops, but I countered with another way. Why not go a few miles up the road and visit a large Veterans Hospital and hand their beautiful cards to the veterans in the hospital, as well as, to the hospital section as well. So, all were in favor and we arranged to carpool with all of the cards and we met the Hospital Chaplain (I had already approached him and he loved the idea) and all of the residents went from floor to floor, room to room handing out their cards to surprised, but truly thankful veterans.
This points out just one of a myriad of ways people can leave churches and meet the needs of our communities in a meaningful way. Both groups of people in this one case, felt blessed by the experience and said so. So, get busy and do whatever you can do to help others, and feel God’s Presence in serving Him in a special way.