Many are saying they’re serving God but their service is not acceptable according to God.
Hebrews 12:28-29 Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear: For our God is a consuming fire.
When Eli was high priest, Eli’s sons were causing the people to abhor or hate “the offering of the Lord” (I Samuel 2:17), made the people transgress or sin, and “they lay with the women that assembled at the door of the tabernacle” (I Samuel 2:22-24). The Philistines came to war against Israel and Eli’s sons brought the ark of God to the battle. The ark was stolen by the Philistines but it caused a great plague that killed the people in whatever town the ark was. The Philistines sent the ark back to Israel and they rejoiced at Bethshemesh when it arrived, but the people disrespected God by looking inside the ark which was forbidden. Over 50,000 people died so they told the people at Kirjathjearim that the Philistines had brought it back and to come get it.
I Samuel 6:21 And they sent messengers to the inhabitants of Kirjathjearim, saying, The Philistines have brought again the ark of the Lord; come ye down, and fetch it up to you.
They brought it to Abinadab’s house and sanctified his son Eleazar to take care of the ark. Not just anyone was to touch the ark, only a sanctified priest was allowed to touch the ark after he had offered a sin offering for himself.
I Samuel 7:1-2 And the men of Kirjathjearim came, and fetched up the ark of the Lord, and brought it into the house of Abinadab…and sanctified Eleazar his son to keep the ark of the Lord. And it came to pass, while the ark abode in Kirjathjearim, that the time was long; for it was twenty years: and all the house of Israel lamented after the Lord.
People are worshipping God their own way, but aren’t following the rules God set to be holy and free of sin. When we come to the altar and someone has something against us, we’re suppose to leave our offering and go take care of the situation first. Also our worship will be hindered if we don’t forgive someone that trespasses against us. The ark stayed at Abinadab’s house for twenty years until David decided to bring it to Jerusalem.
I Chronicles 13:1-4 And David consulted with the captains…and with every leader. And David said unto all the congregation of Israel, If it seem good unto you, and that it be of the Lord our God, let us send abroad unto our brethren every where…in all the land of Israel, and with them also to the priests and Levites…that they may gather themselves unto us: And let us bring again the ark of our God to us: for we enquired not at it in the days of Saul. And all the congregation said that they would do so: for the thing was right in the eyes of all the people.
David didn’t ask God if he should bring the ark back but he asked the people. It seemed right in their own eyes, but it wasn’t done the way God commanded. The ark wasn’t to be carried on a new cart and Uzza died when he put his hand on the ark after the ox stumbled.
I Chronicles 13:5-12 So David gathered all Israel together…to bring the ark of God from Kirjathjearim. And David went up, and all Israel, to Baalah, that is, to Kirjathjearim, which belonged to Judah, to bring up thence the ark of God the Lord…And they carried the ark of God in a new cart out of the house of Abinadab: and Uzza and Ahio drave the cart. And David and all Israel played before God with all their might, and with singing, and with harps, and with psalteries, and with timbrels, and with cymbals, and with trumpets. And when they came unto the threshingfloor of Chidon, Uzza put forth his hand to hold the ark; for the oxen stumbled. And the anger of the Lord was kindled against Uzza, and he smote him, because he put his hand to the ark: and there he died before God. And David was displeased, because the Lord had made a breach upon Uzza: wherefore that place is called Perezuzza to this day. And David was afraid of God that day, saying, How shall I bring the ark of God home to me?
David hadn’t prayed or asked God about bringing the ark to Jerusalem. Our worship should not be about us or our personal preferences. They were singing and happy but weren’t doing things according to God’s will and way. The next time David checked on God’s way to move the ark.
I Chronicles 15:1-3 And David…prepared a place for the ark of God, and pitched for it a tent. Then David said, None ought to carry the ark of God but the Levites: for them hath the Lord chosen to carry the ark of God, and to minister unto him for ever. And David gathered all Israel…to bring up the ark of the Lord unto his place…
There was a proper order for how to move the ark. We can’t worship God our own way, but the proper order is that we have a holy heart that is clean and free from sin. God wants us to worship every day, but we can’t let things cause us to be unholy.
I Chronicles 15:12-13…Ye are the chief of the fathers of the Levites: sanctify yourselves, both ye and your brethren, that ye may bring up the ark of the Lord God of Israel unto the place that I have prepared for it. For because ye did it not at the first, the Lord our God made a breach upon us, for that we sought him not after the due order.
Martha invited Jesus to stay at her house but she was burdened about many cares that were keeping her from worshipping him. Martha was complaining about Mary who was worshipping the Lord. She had her eyes on Mary and on the cares of life, instead of worshipping God.
Luke 10:38-42 Now it came to pass…a certain woman named Martha received him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus’ feet, and heard his word. But Martha was cumbered about much serving…and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me. And Jesus answered…Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.
The enemy wants us to get troubled about many things and to get our eyes on others, so we don’t worship the Lord. Jesus said Mary chose the good part, but Martha was too worried about household and temporal things. We need to choose to worship. The cares of life will come on all of us like a snare or trap of the enemy.
Luke 21:34-36 And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares. For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth. Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.
It is our responsibility to cast all our cares on the Lord (I Peter 5:7), but the devil will try to load us down with cares. The cares will choke the word so we become unfruitful. If we’re loaded down with cares, our joy goes away. When we’re first saved, we’re thankful and joyful. Joy is vitally important in coming to worship God.
Psalm 100:1 Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands.
In God’s presence is where we find fulness of joy. Most of our blessings are taken for granted. If you woke up with more health than illness, you’re more blessed than 6 million people. You’re more blessed than 75% of people if you have food, a roof over your head, and clothes. Ingratitude causes a lack of joy.
Psalm 16:11 Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.
We’re to serve God with gladness and come to worship by singing. (Without God’s love, we’re nothing. I Corinthians 13:2)
Psalm 100:2 Serve the Lord with gladness: come before his presence with singing.
We need to recognize the greatness of God and how small we are, in the right perspective.
Psalm 100:3 Know ye that the Lord he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
We need to come worshipping God with thanksgiving. If we’re troubled by all our cares and troubles, how much thankfulness, reverence, and respect will we be showing?
Psalm 100:4 Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.
If all we’re doing is begging God to help us for our cares, how are we being thankful or praising him for his goodness?
Psalm 100:5 For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.
We’re living in a world that has caused a lack of reverence and godly fear, making God common (ordinary, not special), so people think they can worship God any way they want. The God’s word says he required a sacrifice that had no blemishes and was the best of the flock, but people in Malachi’s time were offering a polluted sacrifice. If we offer God our cares and unthankfulness, they are polluted things.
Malachi 1:6-8 A son honoureth his father, and a servant his master: if then I be a father, where is mine honour? and if I be a master, where is my fear? saith the Lord of hosts unto you, O priests, that despise my name. And ye say, Wherein have we despised thy name? Ye offer polluted bread upon mine altar; and ye say, Wherein have we polluted thee? In that ye say, The table of the Lord is contemptible. And if ye offer the blind for sacrifice, is it not evil? and if ye offer the lame and sick, is it not evil? offer it now unto thy governor; will he be pleased with thee, or accept thy person? saith the Lord of hosts.
Our will has to be submitted to God’s will so we can offer an acceptable offering that isn’t polluted. We can’t snuff at God’s word or his will, like cattle when they don’t like the food they’re given, or God won’t accept our offering.
Malachi 1:9-13 And now, I pray you, beseech God that he will be gracious unto us: this hath been by your means: will he regard your persons? saith the Lord of hosts. Who is there even among you that would shut the doors for nought? neither do ye kindle fire on mine altar for nought. I have no pleasure in you, saith the Lord of hosts, neither will I accept an offering at your hand. For from the rising of the sun even unto the going down of the same my name shall be great among the Gentiles; and in every place incense shall be offered unto my name, and a pure offering: for my name shall be great among the heathen, saith the Lord of hosts. But ye have profaned it, in that ye say, The table of the Lord is polluted; and the fruit thereof, even his meat, is contemptible. Ye said also, Behold, what a weariness is it! and ye have snuffed at it, saith the Lord of hosts; and ye brought that which was torn, and the lame, and the sick; thus ye brought an offering: should I accept this of your hand? saith the Lord.
God is a great King who we need to honor, reverence, and appreciate for all he has done!
Malachi 1:14 But cursed be the deceiver, which hath in his flock a male, and voweth, and sacrificeth unto the Lord a corrupt thing: for I am a great King, saith the Lord of hosts, and my name is dreadful among the heathen.
(Notes from the Mature Class Bible Study, teacher Edith Tolbert)