You also say, ‘Oh, what a weariness!’ And you sneer at it,” says the Lord of hosts. “And you bring the stolen, the lame, and the sick; thus you bring an offering! Should I accept this from your hand?” says the Lord. (Malachi 1:13)
Renewing A Spirit Of Worship
Israel had survived the bondage of Babylon and returned to Jerusalem through the providence of God. The temple was rebuilt and within one hundred years, the city walls were established again. Life returned to normal but it was not as it had been before. The temple had been completed in 516 B.C. Worship was restored but it lacked a fervency. There was little interest in the spirit of worship. Nehemiah had infused a desire to rebuild the walls and accomplished the impossible task in fifty-two days. Still, there was a sense of despair among the people and the prophet Malachi was sent to renew a spirit of worship in the people.
A spirit of indifference overshadowed the hearts of the people. After one hundred years, the people were no better off than when they were first taken captive. They blamed God for their troubles and began to neglect the commandments of the law in offering sacrifices that were lame, blind and diseased. The priesthood accepted the vain worship without question. Worship was a weariness and bothersome to the people. They stopped bringing their tithes to the Lord, robbing Him of His due. Divorce was rampant. Worship was nothing more than a ritual to endure until the people could return home and pick up their carnal lives. As a result of this disparity, the Lord would remain silent for nearly four hundred years until the coming of John the Baptist and Jesus Christ.
Worship has always been about the heart. The Law of Moses required many rituals to be performed but the Lord did not desire the sacrifices of animals to please Him. He wanted to know the hearts of the people. Men can be robots going through the motions and doing what was required by the letter of the law, but without the spirit of true worship, it all becomes vain and useless. Prophets like Malachi sought a revival among the people. There was a need to renew the spirit of worship.
Difficult days can dampen the hearts of worshippers. There are days it is tough to have a mind to worship. When times are hard and the world is engulfed in a crisis, sometimes worship becomes a victim of the despondency and despair of the heart. Nehemiah inspired the people to “rise up and build” and changed Jerusalem’s landscape. Malachi reminded the downtrodden that God had not abandoned them and they needed to renew their hearts with full devotion to worship.
A reflection of worship is found in daily living. The way a man lives has much to do with how he approaches the throne of God to praise Him. Worship is criticized because it does not inspire the heart when the real problem is nothing the other six days of the week lead to worship. A renewal to worship begins in the home. If the word of God is not first in the home, it will not be first in worship. When God is not glorified in the family setting, there can be little joy in the gathering of God’s family. Renewing a spirit of worship is rekindling a love for the word of God in praising the glory of the Father and honoring the Son of God. The church is returned to its place of honor so that worship is filled with the adoration and praise of the Divine.
The past two years have been hard on everyone. Churches have suffered under the weight of the pandemic and hearts have become discouraged. The need for renewal is the cry of the spirited souls who are ready to rebuild the walls of faith and restore the joy of worship before the great God and Father of the church of Christ. Worship is central to the restoration of the Lord’s work. Let the church of the Lord ring loudly the praises of the Lord who has remained constant in His care of His people. Worship like you have never worshipped before. Praise God. Really praise God. Join hands. Let’s worship.
Very good and appropriate words, Brother Kent! “Revive Us Again,” as the title goes of the well known hymn. May we all bcome spiritually stronger in 2022.
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