REPOST Today’s AMI QT Devotional, provided by Pastor Barry Kang who heads Symphony Church in Boston, was first posted on April 29, 2013. He is a graduate of Stanford University (BA), Fuller Theological Seminary (M.Div.) and Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary (D.Min.).
Devotional Thought for This Morning
“Into the Presence of God”
Psalm 43:3-4 (NIV)
Send forth your light and your truth, let them guide me; let them bring me to your holy mountain, to the place where you dwell. 4 Then will I go to the altar of God, to God, my joy and my delight. I will praise you with the harp, O God, my God.
There is more to Psalms 42 and 43 than meets the eye. While the same question— “Why are you downcast oh my soul” (Psalm 42:5, 11, Psalm 43:5)—is repeated in both, the Psalmist laments in Psalm 42 but he is infused with hope in the following chapter. Whereas Psalm 42 records the writer’s dialogues with his own soul, the ensuing psalm shows him turning to God in a tone that is different from the previous chapter.
And yet, I am struck that the cry of the psalmist is not merely for deliverance out of his situation, but deliverance into the presence of God so that he can render worship unto Him. The psalmist’s desperation had more to do with his difficult circumstances keeping him from worshiping God (in the only way he knew how) than the circumstances themselves.
I believe the psalmist hits upon the greatest fundamental need of the human condition. We were made to give glory to God in his presence. This is the reason that scripture paints a picture of heaven, the ultimate depiction of being “with-God”, as a place where praising and giving glory to our King will never cease.
What kind of worship are you rendering unto God? Yesterday, our churches held worship services. Were you able to give worship as your heart desires? If not, cry out to God that he would lead you in his truth and light a fire in your heart so that you may worship Him passionately.
Prayer: Father, forgive me for I know that the worship I give to You is far less than You deserve. I thank You for Your demonstration of love on the cross. Because of the cross, I know that Your desire is to be with me. In the same way, help me to desire Your presence above everything else. Help me to be value giving You glory and worship above all things. In Jesus’s name, I pray. Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Ezekiel 48
Lunch Break Study
Read John 4:21-26 (NIV): Jesus declared, “Believe me, woman, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. 22 You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23 Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. 24 God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.” 25 The woman said, “I know that Messiah” (called Christ) “is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.” 26 Then Jesus declared, “I who speak to you am he.”
Questions to Consider
- Why does Jesus say that a time is coming when worship will be given “neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem”?
- What does Jesus mean by “salvation is from the Jews”?
- What kind of worship does God desire of us?
- In John’s gospel, a reference to the coming “time” consistently means the hour of Jesus’s exaltation through death and resurrection. This crisis will throw the whole course of human relationship with God into a new dimension, thereby rendering physical location, whether Jerusalem or Mount Gerizim, an obsolete issue. Now, because of Jesus, we are able to worship God anywhere.
- Jesus did not come to abolish the Law or the Prophets but to fulfill them. As such, even though the Jewish people had periodically turned apostate, God, nonetheless, kept his covenant with them by allowing Jesus, God’s salvation to the world, to proceed from Israel. Moreover, Jesus’s messianic renewal of worship was based on Old Testament revelation, affirming it even as he transformed it.
- With the coming of Jesus, a time of true worship is at hand because Jesus is now at hand. There is to be worship in spirit and truth because Jesus is the truth who dispenses the Spirit to all who believe in him. True worship, accordingly, is offered through the Son, based not on our sacrifices but upon his. In addition, true worship is only possible through our union with Jesus by means of the Holy Spirit.
The good news of Jesus is also that every moment is an opportunity to give God worship, as any moment is a moment where we can be in his presence. But what kind of worship will we give?
Even as we worship the Lord, its focus can easily be on us. How? We evaluate worship based on how much we liked the songs that we sang, or the message that we heard, or the “quality” of people whom we met in the church. We choose our churches based on how well their worship services meet our needs. The irony is that true worship will meet our deep-seated need to be in the presence of God, which starts and ends with Jesus. If our worship is not based upon the truth of Jesus, and led by the Spirit of God, then we are not offering true worship.
Are you living a life of worship? Does your life, words and actions, give glory to God? In our journals, let us confess the ways that our worship falls short, and then give God authentic praise based upon the work of Jesus Christ, which we see in scripture and in our lives.