August 6

Today's Bible Reading
            Judges 20
            Acts 24
            Jeremiah 34
            Psalms 5-6
''But as for me, I will come into Your house in the multitude of Your mercy." (Psalms 5:7)
            I often wonder why people attend worship services in our modem culture. Their comments and response to their experience would be amusing if they were not so tragic. Every part of our worship should be designed to please the Lord who is the ''audience of One'', and never designed to please the congregation. The proclamation of truth is, of course, directed toward the people present with the desire that they will respond to the truth, and it will make a difference in their lives, which will help us change the culture.
            Most of our worship, however, should be designed for the participation of the people who come, and not for their pleasure. I hear people complain about the type of music or the comfort of the facility as if those things were the most important.  Our worship experience is to honor, please, adore, and exalt our Lord who is indeed the ''audience of One."
            Most people have a problem with corporate worship because they have not experienced personal, private, and intimate worship prior to coming together with a congregation of God's people.
            Our memory verse today is a commitment to worship even before the law was given. Long before God gave the law with its elaborate instructions on how to worship Him properly in that dispensation, the Psalmist expresses his deep desire to worship the Lord. In that period, the unit of worship is the family. The father of each family acted as priest. In the time of Adam and Eve, animal sacrifices were made to atone for sin as well as to worship God.
            The first use of the word worship in the Bible is in the beloved story of Abraham and Isaac when God spoke to Abraham and told him to offer Isaac as a sacrifice. His instructions were specific, and if God had allowed those instructions to be carried out to their fullest, then Isaac could not have returned with his father. Abraham told the young man who served him, “Stay here with the donkey.  The lad and I will go yonder and worship, and we willcome back to you.” (Genesis 22:5)
            I think it is safe to say that you will not be effective in any other area of your Christian walk until you learn to properly worship the Lord, and to give Him the sacrifice of praise that is always a part of appropriate worship. Preceding the worship we experience today, there was worship in the Tabernacle and then worship in the Temple.
            It is no wonder that the Temple was so special to Israel since it was such a tremendous step forward from the Tabernacle. A building is more permanent than a tent no matter how elaborate that tent may be. Additional beauties of the Temple choir's antiphonal hymns surpassed the simple Tabernacle worship.
            Our Lord Himself spoke of the Temple as ''His Father's house'' when He threw out the moneychangers and those who would use religion as a means of monetary gain. He also pointed out that His own body was a Temple and that it would be destroyed with death, and He would raise it again. Now He has made it clear that our bodies are the temples of the Holy Spirit. It is only as we are truly worshipping God personally that we can be effective in our worship with Him corporately when we come together with other believers.
            We need to pray today that God will restore in us the fine art of true worship - that we will indeed worship Him in spirit and in truth.
            About 20,000 people live on the Turks and Caicos Islands in Latin America. This country could double in the next 20 years because of illegal emigrants from Haiti. They are poised to outnumber the natives. Pray that the many believers on these islands will be faithful in sharing the Gospel.  Pray also that these churches might address corruption on the islands through holy living and genuine faith.