April 26, 2017

April 26, 2017

2 KINGS 15-17

Focus Verse: They feared the Lord and served their own gods according to the custom of the nations from among whom they had been carried away into exile.
To this day they do according to the earlier customs: they do not fear the Lord, nor do they follow their statutes or their ordinances or the law, or the commandments which the Lord commanded the sons of Jacob, whom He named Israel;
2 Kings 17:33-34

 

The NIV translates “feared the Lord” as “worshiped the Lord”. This topic has been troubling my heart lately. We have a very wrong definition of worship in the western church. I believe the difference in translation of this verse is part of that. We like the NIV translation. We like the word worship…when it’s defined our way. We don’t like the idea of “fearing the Lord”. Perfect love casts out fear! That was the old man who had to be afraid of the Lord! That was the old covenant!

 

I just don’t know that I buy it. I don’t think we are to cower at God. To run from Him like Adam and Eve did in the Garden after they sinned. But any encounter someone has with God in the Bible starts the same way: they are terrified! When angels show up to talk to people in the Bible, the first thing out of their mouth is “Do not be afraid…” Now why would they say that if the person didn’t have some sense of fear running through them.

 

But we miss this. Especially in Pentecostal churches where we talk about wanting to see the glory of the Lord (and I happen to be thoroughly Pentecostal). We miss the fact that almost every time God’s glory comes, it doesn’t come in a calming, peaceful, serene way. His people aren’t jumping up and down, clapping their hands to the latest Hillsong power bridge (don’t get too happy traditionalists…none of them are rocking out to a rousing verse of Eagle’s Wings either). When God’s glory comes the people react in one way…they hit the floor. They drop to their knees. The earth shakes. When God comes, He comes violently! He comes in power!

 

Yes, He also comes as a still, small voice. Yes, He always ends up comforting His people and giving them a sense of peace in His presence. But when He first comes to us, there is an initial sense of fear. There is a sense of someone larger and more powerful than anything we can even comprehend coming down to our level and seeking after us. That humbles you right out of your socks. That drives you to your knees. That changes you from the inside out.

 

And that’s the other part we miss today. Our interactions with the Lord, our “revivals” as we like to call them, consist of 30-minute worship sets. Or maybe we are really “on fire for the Lord” and attend a Christian worship concert. “Look at all these people on fire for the Lord,” we scream in our facebook posts, “surely revival is here in America!” But when those people walk out of that concert, they walk out the exact same way that they came in. And that’s not revival.

 

The only reason revival changes the world is because it changes YOU first. And that will never happen when we define worship as a song set during a church service, or a night of music by a worship team. Worship is a fear of the Lord that drives you to change. It’s a deep love and respect for your Father God that demands everything you have to give Him. It is laying down your life in obedience to His Son. This is the only form of worship. This is the only way to revival.

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