God wants true worshippers that will worship him in spirit and in truth.
John 4:22-24 Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews. But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.
When Hezekiah made a covenant with God to open the temple, he had to get rid of all the trash and garbage that was in the temple. It took eight days remove the trash and take to the dump, plus eight days to clean the temple.
II Chronicles 29:1-11 Hezekiah began to reign when he was five and twenty years old, and he reigned nine and twenty years in Jerusalem. And his mother’s name was Abijah, the daughter of Zechariah. And he did that which was right in the sight of the Lord, according to all that David his father had done. He in the first year of his reign, in the first month, opened the doors of the house of the Lord, and repaired them. And he brought in the priests and the Levites, and gathered them together into the east street, And said unto them, Hear me, ye Levites, sanctify now yourselves, and sanctify the house of the Lord God of your fathers, and carry forth the filthiness out of the holy place. For our fathers have trespassed, and done that which was evil in the eyes of the Lord our God, and have forsaken him, and have turned away their faces from the habitation of the Lord, and turned their backs. Also they have shut up the doors of the porch, and put out the lamps, and have not burned incense nor offered burnt offerings in the holy place unto the God of Israel. Wherefore the wrath of the Lord was upon Judah and Jerusalem, and he hath delivered them to trouble, to astonishment, and to hissing, as ye see with your eyes. For, lo, our fathers have fallen by the sword, and our sons and our daughters and our wives are in captivity for this. Now it is in mine heart to make a covenant with the Lord God of Israel, that his fierce wrath may turn away from us. My sons, be not now negligent: for the Lord hath chosen you to stand before him, to serve him, and that ye should minister unto him, and burn incense.
When we get saved we make a covenant with God to stop sinning. We have lots of garbage in our lives that we need to get rid of. We have to clean house, then we will be able to worship God. Worship begins with a commitment to put God first in our lives. Worship is deep devotion, awe, respect, to bow down, and to love with all our heart. As we go along the devil will try to bring trash into our lives again. We have to keep our life holy as God requires in order to worship him.
II Chronicles 29:16-17 And the priests went into the inner part of the house of the Lord, to cleanse it, and brought out all the uncleanness that they found in the temple of the Lord into the court of the house of the Lord. And the Levites took it, to carry it out abroad into the brook Kidron. Now they began on the first day of the first month to sanctify, and on the eighth day of the month came they to the porch of the Lord: so they sanctified the house of the Lord in eight days; and in the sixteenth day of the first month they made an end.
Jesus said when you go to the altar in prayer and remember someone has something against you, then you need to leave your offering and go be reconciled with them. Jesus doesn’t say you have something against them, but they have something against you. You can’t worship God until you go try to reconcile with your brother.
Matthew 5:23-24 Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.
If we know someone has something against us, it’s our responsibility to go and try to make unity. It will hinder our worship if we know someone has something against us but we don’t try to reconcile with our brother. You may try to talk with someone but they are determined to hold a grudge. When you’ve tried to do everything you know to do, then you can come back and worship. God wants unity in the body of Christ and everyone of us should want unity. If we don’t want unity in the body of Christ, we won’t be able to worship because Jesus prayed for it and that needs to be our desire. Jesus taught about a people whose own issues and doctrines were before God’s.
Matthew 15:8-9 This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.
We can’t have any issues, personal doctrines, or commandments of men that are contrary to God; if that is true our worship will only be lip service when God wants heart service. Jesus said to let those alone who got offended at him.
Matthew 15:10-12 And he called the multitude, and said unto them, Hear, and understand: Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man. Then came his disciples, and said unto him, Knowest thou that the Pharisees were offended, after they heard this saying?
If a person gets offended at the word, there’s nothing you can do that will make it right. We have to love God’s word above everything else. Jesus didn’t try to go and make that right because they were offended at the word. When someone doesn’t accept what the word says, then we don’t have anything that needs to be made right. When someone sins against you or hurts you, Jesus said to go to them. He didn’t say to go talk to someone else about what happened. If you go to a lot of other people, you won’t be able to worship.
Matthew 18:15-16 Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.
If your brother won’t hear you, you still aren’t talking to everyone about what happened. When you talk to lots of people about what happened, you aren’t for unity. God hates when people try to cause division among the brethren. If we don’t handle things the Bible way, it won’t work. When a husband and wife don’t take care of their disagreements, their prayers will be hindered and they won’t be worshipping. God sees what’s in our heart and those things need to be taken care of to keep unity.
Matthew 6:14-15 For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
If you feel your husband or wife wronged you (trespassed), God wants us to forgive them, even if they don’t ask forgiveness. If we’re not willing to forgive, God won’t forgive us. This is true no matter what the other’s attitude is. When a married couple really want to serve God, they can pray together for God’s help in the situation. There are disagreements in temporal things where you don’t agree, but you can disagree in the Bible way and have 100% forgiveness. If you have a wrong attitude and a grudge, you can pray all you want but it won’t go any farther than the ceiling. God won’t hear until you’re willing to humble yourself and make sure your attitude is right. Unforgiveness and bitterness will eat at you, not the person you’re bitter at.
When Hezekiah was offering burnt offering, it wasn’t a short time the people worshipped and gave offerings. The priests needed help slaying all the sacrifices because there were so many.
II Chronicles 29:27-29 And Hezekiah commanded to offer the burnt offering upon the altar. And when the burnt offering began, the song of the Lord began also with the trumpets, and with the instruments ordained by David king of Israel. And all the congregation worshipped, and the singers sang, and the trumpeters sounded: and all this continued until the burnt offering was finished. And when they had made an end of offering, the king and all that were present with him bowed themselves, and worshipped.
II Chronicles 29:32-34 And the number of the burnt offerings, which the congregation brought, was threescore and ten bullocks, an hundred rams, and two hundred lambs: all these were for a burnt offering to the Lord. And the consecrated things were six hundred oxen and three thousand sheep. But the priests were too few, so that they could not flay all the burnt offerings: wherefore their brethren the Levites did help them, till the work was ended, and until the other priests had sanctified themselves: for the Levites were more upright in heart to sanctify themselves than the priests.
The congregation stayed to sing and worship. They were excited and happy that the temple was open again. Everything was done in the service according to what God set in order. Time is not important when we’re serving God and worshipping him.
II Chronicles 29:35 And also the burnt offerings were in abundance, with the fat of the peace offerings, and the drink offerings for every burnt offering. So the service of the house of the Lord was set in order.
The devil wants to rob all of us of our worship. If we’re troubled or worried about things, we have to cast down every thought and bring it into subjection to Christ. If we don’t cast all our care on him, we won’t be truly worshipping. When Hezekiah and all the people fell down to worship at the temple, they were not concerned about the cows out in the field or the ducks at home. They were excited about what God had done for them. If we have any kind of clutter in our mind, we need to get rid of it so we can truly worship.
God said Eli was kicking at the temple sacrifice and offering because he honored his sons above God.
I Samuel 2:29 Wherefore kick ye at my sacrifice and at mine offering, which I have commanded in my habitation; and honourest thy sons above me, to make yourselves fat with the chiefest of all the offerings of Israel my people?
When the Philistines came to war against Israel, Eli’s sons were killed and the ark was taken to Ashdod in their land. They put the ark in their temple next to their god Dagon but the next morning Dagon’s head and the palms of his hands were cut off. They sent the ark to Gath where the people got emerods from the flea bites of rats that had bubonic plague. It was a bacterial infection that caused people to die or be very sick.
I Samuel 5:6 But the hand of the Lord was heavy upon them of Ashdod, and he destroyed them, and smote them with emerods, even Ashdod and the coasts thereof.
The Philistines sent the ark from town to town for seven months, then they decided they didn’t want the ark of God and to send it back to Israel. They got two cows that had baby calves and put the ark on a new wagon. They said if the cows went toward Jerusalem, they would know the plague was from God. The cows mooed on the way but they went away from their calves to Israel.
I Samuel 5:8-11 They sent therefore and gathered all the lords of the Philistines unto them, and said, What shall we do with the ark of the God of Israel? And they answered, Let the ark of the God of Israel be carried about unto Gath. And they carried the ark of the God of Israel about thither. And it was so, that, after they had carried it about, the hand of the Lord was against the city with a very great destruction: and he smote the men of the city, both small and great, and they had emerods in their secret parts…So they sent and gathered together all the lords of the Philistines, and said, Send away the ark of the God of Israel, and let it go again to his own place, that it slay us not, and our people: for there was a deadly destruction throughout all the city; the hand of God was very heavy there.
The cows stopped at a house and even though the people knew better they started looking in the ark, so they died. We can’t disrespect God and survive spiritually. We have to respect him – to want God’s way whatever he says or wants from us, not our own way. This year if you find yourself coming to services burdened down with cares and troubles, give them to God and he will help you to worship.
(Notes from the Mature Class Bible Study, teacher Edith Tolbert)