Tuesday, January 8, 2008

New Songs - cleansing the temple

This week's Bible lesson shows how important it is to start each day with a new song that acknowledges the allness of God, good. Today I will share some thoughts about Hezekiah's experience with new beginnings. We read about him in both II Chronicles and II Kings. The Chronicles tell of his religious reforms while Kings is about the political events. In II Chronicles 29, Hezekiah, 25 years old, begins his reign. His reign will last for 29 years. It says 'he did that which was right in the sight of the Lord'. He begins by opening the doors of the Temple, which had been closed by Ahaz. The people now have a place for worship of the One God. He opened those doors and had them repaired. Sometimes we are devoted to our spiritual growth and other times we drift a bit. Then you find that something seems to be missing and it leads you back to study or church. Back to the Temple. It was always there, you may have chosen not to open the door for a while. Repair that.

Next he brought back the priests and Levites, gathering them together in a court by the east gate. His instructions to them were three-fold. They were to sanctify themselves, to sanctify the house of the Lord, and to carry out any filthiness from that holy place. To sanctify is to set aside for sacred us. They were to do this for themselves and for the church. We need to see that we are set aside for the sacred use of God, to be His reflection, His image and likeness. That's who and why we are. When our church service takes a few moments for silent prayer, that is not to be used for composing a grocery list, reliving an arguement with someone, looking around to see who did or did not attend the service. It is time set aside for a sacred use, praying for the congregation collectively and exclusively. Filth indicates a dirty or corrupt condition, something considered immoral. If you have brought that kind of thinking into church, get into the habit of leaving it outside. Then get rid of it altogether.

They worked hard to obey him and eight days later the Temple was clean. Now they were to make burnt sacrifices on the altar. Their sweet savor was to rise to heaven and please God. Can you think of something you would be willing to offer God today? A change of thought about someone or something, being more patient, forgiving a past hurt? Offer it to Him today. Do it in the spirit described in the text, a joyous song to God, given freely. That is what worship is about.

Sing a new song today. Do you find yourself repeating the same old complaints, making the same negative response, using bad language. Stop singing that song! What is it that God wants from you? To do justly, to love mercy, to walk humbly. (Micah6:8) Handle a situation justly. Be merciful when the occasion arises. Practice humility. Sing a new song.

Be at peace.

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