May 29, 2017

May 29, 2017


Focus Verse: Now at the dedication of the wall of Jerusalem they sought out the Levites from all their places, to bring them to Jerusalem so that they might celebrate the dedication with gladness, with hymns of thanksgiving and with songs to the accompaniment of cymbals, harps and lyres.
Nehemiah 12:27


So many good lessons we can glean from today’s reading on worship! It was so hard to pick just one, but I landed here in verse 27. This ought to characterize all of our praise and worship to God: JOY! The NASB translates the Hebrew word “simchah” as gladness, but the it’s most common translation is joy (the NASB translates it 38 times as joy and 34 times as gladness). I’m kind of splitting hairs, since joy and gladness are pretty much the same thing, but I want to emphasize the joy here.


The joy of the Lord needs to characterize everything that we do. Not just our praise and worship, but our service to others, or relationships with others…absolutely everything that we do. It should especially characterize our praise. If you can sing about how great God is and what He has done for you without joy, you need to double check your pulse!


I just can’t believe that God honors lifeless worship. I’m afraid that we have let our reverence of God overshadow our joy, when the two should be completely integrated, not separated! Too many people turn worship into a solemn occasion. We drone on, singing lyrics that are just dripping with thankfulness, but on the outside (and unfortunately, this often translates to something going on inside as well) we look like we’re singing the saddest song ever written.


We need to praise God joyfully! We need to give Him all of our heart when we sing His praises. And if you’re struggling to do that, ask God for more of His joy. Just like everything else, He is the one, through the power of the Holy Spirit, who gives exceedingly, abundantly more than all we can ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20). Joy is one of those “exceedingly, abundantly”s. Ask God to fill your heart with the joy to praise Him appropriately! He will never turn down that request, and it will change your life!

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