Summary: Worship, God's Presence, Obedience
A THANKFUL HEART OF WORSHIP - Returning the Presence of God to Worship
November 18, 2018
2 Samuel 6:12-23 (p. 212) *Start with v. 12-15
Francis Chan in his book “Letters to the Church,” tells about a conversation he had with his daughter about her birthday party…it goes like this:
I asked my daughter how many kids would come to her birthday party if all we offered was cake. No games, no entertainment. They could come to the house to spend time with her and bring gifts to celebrate her, but we wouldn’t have anything else for them. She thought for a minute and said, “Maybe just a couple.” Then I asked her how many would come if I rented out Dave & Buster’s and let them have unlimited tokens, food and prizes. She laughed and said confidently that the whole school would show up.
So let’s say that for her birthday party I rent out the arcade and her whole school comes. They’re all going nuts, having the time of their lives. Imagine if I pulled her aside during the party, put my arm around her, and said, “Look at all the people who came to be with you!” Would she actually believe those people were there because they love her and want to spend time with her? Or would my comment actually be insulting?
Isn’t this basically what we do with God? We have learned that we can fill church buildings if we bring in the right speaker or band. Make things exciting enough and people will come. We say “God, look how many people are coming because they love being with You!” But do we really think God is fooled by this? Do we think God is pleased? He knows how many would show up if it was just Him. He knows there might be only a few if all we offered was Communion or prayer.
Most of us do this out of good motives, I think. We are just trying to get people to show up to His party. But based on everything you read in Scripture, does that seem like what Jesus would want? Again, if God had it His way, would He really want a bunch of churches desperate to entertain? Or would He want to be the reason people were coming, even if that meant a much smaller number of people?
A.W. Tozer said something really powerful about worshipping God. He said, “Nothing can save a meeting held in the name of an absentee God.”
Folks, I’m not saying that flashing strobe lights are evil, or that six background singers and amazing multimedia presentations are the work of Satan…but if the reason we show up for the worship party is for any other reason than Jesus then eventually we will create attenders, and consumers instead of worshippers…We begin to believe worship is confined to an hour on Sunday mornings.
The early church was built on the things that pleased God the most…His teaching, a powerful family dynamic, prayer and the Lord’s Supper…They were so powerfully connected to a risen and living Savior, it permeated their community of faith and their everyday lives.
So, what happens when the church begins to drift from doing the things that please God to the things that please people?
What happens when we make the experience of Sunday morning more important than His presence?
What we win people with is what we will have to keep them with. If our devotion isn’t to the core principles of God’s Word, His family, the Lord’s Supper and prayer, we will create consumers instead of making disciples.
“In our impatient culture we will create churches that want to experience biblical awe without biblical devotion.” (Francis Chan LTTC pg. 56)
In our text this morning King David is committed to restoring the presence of God among His people…The Ark of the Covenant has fallen into the hands of the Philistines and been held captive for 7 months…by the way, during that time God punished the Philistines with tumors and some horrible diseases…and David goes to war with them, defeating them and rescuing the Ark of the Covenant…It’s brought back to the outskirts of the land of Judah…to a man named Abinadab’s house…
Remember the Ark of the Covenant isn’t just some gold covered box containing Moses’ commandments with 2 angels on top of it with outstretched wings…2 Samuel 6:2 says, “This is the ark of God, which is called by the Name…the Name of the Lord Almighty, who is enthroned between the cherubim on the Ark.”
That place between the Cherubim was called “The Mercy Seat.” It’s where the presence of God rested…Inside the ark were the tablets of the law, Aaron’s rod, and a jar of manna…It was designed to be carried by the priests with poles. But the presence of God wasn’t to be taken lightly…His presence led them through the wilderness, brought victory over their enemies and parted the waters of the Jordan as they entered the Promised Land…God had warned His people about His holiness…and its power so when His warning was disregarded, there were consequences.