"Snippets" from David
Rejoice Before The Lord!
The common tradition in Christian worship is to worship God in a somber, solemn manner. Praise is solemn (“Do you not understand the Lord is to be feared?”). Prayer is solemn (“To approach God with quietness is to show God dignity!”) Communion is solemn (“Do you not realize this is about death—not victory!”) Preachers who make people laugh do not take God’s word seriously! From Christian worship one might get the impression that God always has been offended by any worship approach that was less than solemn.
In Deuteronomy 16:9-12 Moses wrote worship instructions for the Feast of Weeks. It was to be celebrated seven weeks from the beginning of harvest. It was to be an occasion when they gave God freewill offerings of their harvest. It was one of the three assemblies of the year in which all the men of Israel were to gather in one place and worship God as a nation (Deuteronomy 16:16).
Hopefully everyone (including males, females, and servants) could gather on this occasion. It was to be a happy occasion when everyone rejoiced before the Lord. They were to rejoice for two reasons: (1) God blessed them in harvest! (2) God delivered them from slavery!
Why do we assume that any tribute to God must be a solemn occasion? From the origins of worship in Israel, God was not offended by the joy of His people. Instead, He was honored that His people found reason for joy in Him. God’s blessings call for celebration! Celebration calls for expressions of joy! Only the person who credits himself or herself for God’s blessings finds no reason to rejoice before the Lord.
After the first baptisms into Christ, Jewish Christians were together daily expressing gladness and sincerity (or simplicity) of heart. To suggest that people who knew for generations how to “rejoice before the Lord,” who expressed gladness daily were solemn in all worship gatherings is quite a stretch! If ever there was a generation who had reason to rejoice before the Lord, they were it! They knew forgiveness as it had never been known before! They existed in the assurance of resurrection! That is the knowledge of joy!
The hope of the gospel (good news) is NOT found in this statement: “Are you miserable as a sinner? Come to Christ and we will show how to live a life of greater misery!” Instead, it IS found in this understanding: “In Christ, your sin is a solved problem and your forgiveness is continuing (1 John 1:5-10)! In Christ, Your resurrection is certain! Rejoice in the Lord! Be happy, and express your joy to God!
Are you in Christ? Do you find joy in that? Is it a joy the opposition of ungodliness cannot destroy? Have you expressed your happiness to God?
If you are a Christian, let your joy be evident—even to God!
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