Friday, March 14, 2014

Do You Stand Or Bow In Worship?

I can be a very stubborn man and something I have learned over the years is that being stubborn is a stupid thing. Stubborn is not the same thing as determined. When you are determined you have the drive and energy to go to the end of what you are doing. Determination still leaves you open to instruction and correction that will help you achieve your goal. A stubborn nature closes you off from everything, even those things that would make it better or even easier for you to reach your goal. Being stubborn can ruin a person. In case I didn't make my point: Being stubborn is not good.

Being stubborn means that you harden your heart, even to Yahweh. Think of king Asa for a moment. He was a good king, honoured by Yahweh, but when he made a mistake and was corrected for it, Asa hardened his heart and would no longer seek Yahweh's help for anything. Scriptures say that he got a foot disease and even then would not seek Yahweh's healing but instead turned to physicians. Five years later he died. That's compared to king Hezekiah who, when Yahweh announced it was time for his death, humbled himself before Yahweh. Yahweh looked at this, was blessed by it and extended his life by 15 years.

The biggest example of stubbornness or hardened hearts are the generation of Israelites who were rescued from Egypt. These people could not take instruction to save their life. With every turn they were questioning Moses and doubting Yahweh. They were like a mule that refused to be dragged to the watering hole. When presented with the Promised Land they refused to trust Yahweh to enter to possess it. Then, when they were told the resulting correction, they refused to submit to the correction and tried to enter the Land, resulting in death. Of them Yahweh said:

“Do not harden your hearts, as in the rebellion,
As in the day of trial in the wilderness,

When your fathers tested Me;
They tried Me, though they saw My work.

For forty years I was grieved with that generation,
And said, ‘It is a people who go astray in their hearts,
And they do not know My ways.’

So I swore in My wrath,
‘They shall not enter My rest.’” (Psalm 95:8-11)

We have no ground to stand on to judge these people. We have been no less rebellious and stubborn at times when we have been instructed to do something we don't understand or we don't want to do. Forgiveness is often a hard thing for us to obey, or to love those who persecute us. I would say those are harder things for us to obey than if Jesus asked us to move to China to start a church. It is usually the daily things that we struggle to submit ourselves to than the big stuff. But consider the call to worship found in this same psalm:

Oh come, let us worship and bow down;
Let us kneel before the Lord our Maker.

For He is our God,
And we are the people of His pasture,
And the sheep of His hand. (vv. 6-7)

It is here that the psalmist writes, if you will hear his voice, do not harden your hearts. Notice the posture in worship: bow down, kneel. These are positions of submission, humbleness, recognizing the authority of Yahweh over us. How can we worship if our stubbornness keeps us on our feet, refusing to bow and submit to Father's instructions? So many scriptures reveal to us that Yahweh is not interested in lip worship; he desires the whole heart, mind, and soul.

The attitudes of stubbornness, pride, know-it-all, destroy the relationship our Father desires with us. The last thing he wants to say to us is "They shall not enter my rest". But he will. The last thing he wants to see happen is us die with "foot disease". But he will. There is no way we can be in the presence of our God without an attitude of humbleness, and stubbornness is not the route to humbleness. As you move throughout your day today and you are desiring to hear the voice of Jesus for direction and instruction, ask yourself if you are trying to stand in his presence or if you are bowing before him.

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