Come Glorify the Lord

The news shows and magazines are all doing their year-end reviews, looking over the storylines and headlines of the past 12 months.  While there are a few bright spots in the year, there was mostly tragedy, sadness, suffering, and sorrow.  We just celebrated the angel’s announcement “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men” (Luke 2:14).   But where is the “peace on earth?”  What happened to all the “goodwill?” What went wrong?

I believe the answer to these questions, in fact, the answer to all our questions about the state of the world can be satisfied in the first words of this verse:  “Glory to God in the highest.” The Westminster Catechism, created by the church in the 17th century declares that “Man’s chief end is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.” When we fail to give God the glory He deserves, it diminishes our ability to enjoy Him and the life He has given us. Paul said that this is the sin of mankind: to know the truth of God but refuse to glorify Him (Rom 1:21). That arrogance sends us spiraling into the abyss of darkness and depravity.

 But if we glorify God, we can see and receive the Light of Life. Our hearts know the truth and we are set free to enjoy God as He intended. And that affects everything else.  It changes us and our human relationships. We think and act on the presence of God within us. We are kind and gracious. We are peaceful and loving. We are humble and compassionate. And the world takes notice.

David gave us both a pattern of worship and reasons for worship in 1 Chronicles 16: 7-36. We worship God when we give Him thanks, remember His goodness, seek Him, tell His story, hold Him in high esteem, sing to Him, and praise and worship Him. We glorify God because He is God and there is none like Him. He is faithful. He cares about us and for us. He is great and worthy of praise. He is splendid and majestic and mighty. He created all things – including you and me – and holds all things together. He is our Savor and Redeemer. He is eternal. And if all that wasn’t enough, He is good and His love endures forever.

Do you want to see peace on earth? Or maybe just peace in your life? Start by giving God the glory He deserves. Beloved nothing else will change your heart and your world more.

Give Thanks

On this Thanksgiving Day I am drawn to 1 Chronicles 16:41: “With them were  . . . those chosen and designated by name to give thanks to the Lord, ‘for His love endures forever.’” Let me set the scene for you.  The Ark of the Covenant, the one element of the tabernacle that was God’s special seat, had been captured by Israel’s enemy, the Philistines.  David set out to bring the Ark home, and the people and their king were ecstatic. They celebrated the return of the Ark with sacrifices, offerings, praise, and joyful thanks. David crafted a beautiful Psalm of Thanks, which I encourage you to read in its entirety (1 Chronicles 16:7-36).

After the Ark was securely in its place in the tabernacle, David chose a group of priests to minister daily before the Lord, “To present burnt offerings . . . morning and evening, in accordance with . . .the Law” (v. 40). That was a crucial position in the spiritual life of the nation. But look again at verse 41.  Do you see that there were specific priests who were “chosen…to give thanks to the Lord”?  Their sole responsibility was to express gratitude to the Lord who was again dwelling among His people. They led the Israelites in exclamations of thanks with trumpets and cymbals and sacred songs. Theirs was a sacred responsibility.

Did you know that you and I are chosen by God to be His royal priests?  Peter said, “You are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light” (1 Pet 2:9). Jesus has provided the sacrifice, so the only priestly duty that is left is thanksgiving.  We have been chosen to lead our families, churches, communities, and nations in gratitude to the God who created us, sustains us, provides for us, and, most importantly, saved us.  We have been chosen to be thankful people. In the days of King David, the Ark was the assurance of God’s presence with His people, and they were grateful for His return. Today we have God’s presence in the indwelling Holy Spirit – and no one can take Him away. He will always be with us. And one day we will forever be with Him. Now that, Beloved, is something to be thankful for.