CONTINUAL WORSHIP GOING FORTH TOUCHES THE CITY!
And it shall come to pass That from one New Moon to another, And from one Sabbath to another, All flesh shall come to worship before Me,” says the LORD. (Isaiah 66:23)
Whenever there was a national crisis in the land the Lord always gathered the people to assemble and offer sacrifice. This form of worship is just one of the many ways we turn to the Lord in our times of trouble. We offer our hearts, our lives, our possessions to the Lord as a living sacrifice, dependent on His instruction and provision. We turn to Him and acknowledge our need of Him in all that we do.
In my distress I called upon the LORD, And cried out to my God; He heard my voice from His temple, And my cry entered His ears. (2 Samuel 22:7)
With him (King of Assyria) is an arm of flesh; but with us is the LORD our God, to help us and to fight our battles.” And the people were strengthened by the words of Hezekiah king of Judah. (2 Chronicles 32:8)
If it is a financial crisis our natural mindset is to figure out ways to get more money or hang onto what we have…all we think about is money. If there is a communication breakdown we spin our wheels creating ways to speak the hip language to a generation and end up making our worship services look like the world. If our pews are empty we bring in speakers and create events to draw the crowds. This was never the way God instructed His people, He led them to a worship service, a prayer meeting, a place of sacrifice and emptying out of all our agenda so that we could become one with His plans.
There was a military crisis in the land and Hezekiah led the people to re-establish worship in their homes, their families, their corporate gatherings.
“Hear me, Levites! Now sanctify yourselves, sanctify the house of the LORD God of your fathers, and carry out the rubbish from the holy place. (2 Chronicles 29:5)
My sons, do not be negligent now, for the LORD has chosen you to stand before Him, to serve Him, and that you should minister to Him and burn incense.” (2 Chronicles 29:11)
Hezekiah prayed for them, saying, “May the good LORD provide atonement for everyone (2 Chronicles 30:18)
who prepares his heart to seek God, the LORD God of his fathers, though he is not cleansed according to the purification of the sanctuary.” (2 Chronicles 30:19)
And the LORD listened to Hezekiah and healed the people. (2 Chronicles 30:20)
You can’t negotiate with evil leaders. In Hezekiah’s day Sennacherib was attempting to negotiate by asking for tributes to avoid the destruction of the land. Hezekiah didn’t consult with the Lord but paid the tributes and this evil ruler attacked the people anyway.
And in the fourteenth year of King Hezekiah, Sennacherib king of Assyria came up against all the fortified cities of Judah and took them. (2 Kings 18:13)
Then Hezekiah king of Judah sent to the king of Assyria at Lachish, saying, “I have done wrong; turn away from me; whatever you impose on me I will pay.” And the king of Assyria assessed Hezekiah king of Judah three hundred talents of silver and thirty talents of gold. (2 Kings 18:14)
So Hezekiah gave him all the silver that was found in the house of the LORD and in the treasuries of the king’s house. (2 Kings 18:15)
At that time Hezekiah stripped the gold from the doors of the temple of the LORD, and from the pillars which Hezekiah king of Judah had overlaid, and gave it to the king of Assyria. (2 Kings 18:16)
Never trust a liar, never put your faith in man because the heart is deceitfully wicked. Today our nation is negotiating with terrorist regimes in hopes of peace, the UN is playing games and the Nations’ kings and rulers are strutting as if they have power. In one instant they will know they are all accountable to God.
Why do the nations rage, And the people plot a vain thing? (Psalm 2:1)
The kings of the earth set themselves, And the rulers take counsel together, Against the LORD and against His Anointed, saying, (Psalm 2:2)
“Let us break Their bonds in pieces And cast away Their cords from us.” (Psalm 2:3)
He who sits in the heavens shall laugh; The LORD shall hold them in derision. (Psalm 2:4)
Ask of Me, and I will give You The nations for Your inheritance, And the ends of the earth for Your possession. (Psalm 2:8)
Now therefore, be wise, O kings; Be instructed, you judges of the earth. (Psalm 2:10)
Serve the LORD with fear, And rejoice with trembling. (Psalm 2:11)
Kiss the Son, lest He be angry, And you perish in the way, When His wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all those who put their trust in Him. (Psalm 2:12)
Next Hezekiah looks to Egypt for help. He had not put his trust in the Lord but in another nation who said all the right things but never intended to stand and fight for Israel. Even when we partner with others we must have the direction of the Lord. A life of worship encompasses every area of our life. Our negotiations, our team, our partnerships, our vocation, our covering. When we live in constant communion with the Father than when the battle arises we won’t have to look for help outside of Him.
…. “Thus says Hezekiah: “This day is a day of trouble, and rebuke, and blasphemy; for the children have come to birth, but there is no strength to bring them forth. (2 Kings 19:3)
He rents his clothes in two, sets himself before the Lord and calls on His counsel. Hezekiah takes the enemies of Israel before the Lord and asks that these kings be made accountable to God.
And so it was, when King Hezekiah heard it, that he tore his clothes, covered himself with sackcloth, and went into the house of the LORD. (2 Kings 19:1)
Even still the situation looked grim and if Hezekiah had not received a word from the Messengers that was a prophecy from Isaiah, he may have had an entirely different outcome. But Isaiah was in continual communion with the Lord and at the precise time a word was needed to save a city, he spoke.
So the servants of King Hezekiah came to Isaiah. (2 Kings 19:5)
And Isaiah said to them, “Thus you shall say to your master, “Thus says the LORD: “Do not be afraid of the words which you have heard, with which the servants of the king of Assyria have blasphemed Me. (2 Kings 19:6)
Surely I will send a spirit upon him, and he shall hear a rumor and return to his own land; and I will cause him to fall by the sword in his own land.” (2 Kings 19:7)
Isaiah was a worshipper. He had a life in communion with the Father; he was able to speak a word in season. A life of worship is what every messenger of the Lord needs, to look to Him for counsel in the day of adversity and to know Him intimately so that in the day of trouble we won’t look to man but to God.
….Hezekiah went up to the house of the LORD, and spread it before the LORD. (2 Kings 19:14)
Then Hezekiah prayed before the LORD, and said: “O LORD God of Israel, the One who dwells between the cherubim, You are God, You alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth. You have made heaven and earth. (2 Kings 19:15)
Incline Your ear, O LORD, and hear; open Your eyes, O LORD, and see; and hear the words of Sennacherib, which he has sent to reproach the living God. (2 Kings 19:16)
Now therefore, O LORD our God, I pray, save us from his hand, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that You are the LORD God, You alone.” (2 Kings 19:19)
THE LORD ANSWERS THROUGH HIS PROPHET.
Then Isaiah …sent to Hezekiah, saying, “Thus says the LORD God of Israel: “Because you have prayed to Me against Sennacherib king of Assyria, I have heard.‘ (2 Kings 19:20)
“For I will defend this city, to save it For My own sake and for My servant David’s sake.”‘ (2 Kings 19:34)
The Lord answers…He will defend the city! The nation will be protected! Hezekiah had the opportunity to rule with the Lord over a city. His obedience and seeking the Lord brought an answer from the prophet.
CONSISTENTCY IN WORSHIP
Hezekiah started out with the right intentions but he wasn’t able to sustain a life of worship. He was swayed by the trials and the threats of the enemy encamped about him. In the day of adversity, he looked to his finances, his friends, his own strength until in desperation he called on the Lord. The Lord answered but there was a cost.
In those days Hezekiah was sick and near death. And Isaiah the prophet, the son of Amoz, went to him and said to him, “Thus says the LORD: “Set your house in order, for you shall die, and not live.”‘ (2 Kings 20:1)
His relationship with the prophet was on shaky terms. This was fruit of his relationship with the Lord. He had let the idolatry come back and even though it was small compromises it affected his covering, his spiritual authority. He began to boast and be lifted up.
And many brought gifts to the LORD at Jerusalem, and presents to Hezekiah king of Judah, so that he was exalted in the sight of all nations thereafter. (2 Chronicles 32:23)
Sometimes the Lord will test us with blessings and putting us before the people to be lifted up. How we handle ourselves in times of blessing and in time of trial matter greatly to the Lord. Our worship can be seen in every stage of life, in the ups and in the downs. We want to remain consistent in giving God the glory and acknowledging our need for Him in every situation.
Then he turned his face toward the wall, and prayed to the LORD, saying, (2 Kings 20:2) saying, (2 Kings 20:2)
“Remember now, O LORD, I pray, how I have walked before You in truth and with a loyal heart, and have done what was good in Your sight.” And Hezekiah wept bitterly. (2 Kings 20:3)
Hezekiah is pleading with the Lord for another chance. He is dying but He knows God has an answer for his dilemma. There is no disease known to man that God cannot heal.
“Return and tell Hezekiah the leader of My people, “Thus says the LORD, the God of David your father: “I have heard your prayer, I have seen your tears; surely I will heal you. On the third day you shall go up to the house of the LORD. (2 Kings 20:5)
This place of worship before the Lord brought Hezekiah healing. He turned his total dependence on the Lord and he was healed. Not only did the Lord heal him but He added years onto his life.
And I will add to your days fifteen years. I will deliver you and this city from the hand of the king of Assyria; and I will defend this city for My own sake, and for the sake of My servant David. (2 Kings 20:6)
Because Hezekiah never dealt with his pride it still reared its ugly head. Worship will reveal our true nature and help us deal with that which hinders love.
But Hezekiah did not repay according to the favor shown him, for his heart was lifted up; therefore wrath was looming over him and over Judah and Jerusalem. (2 Chronicles 32:25)
Hezekiah had very great riches and honor. And he made himself treasuries for silver, for gold, for precious stones, for spices, for shields, and for all kinds of desirable items; (2 Chronicles 32:27)
storehouses for the harvest of grain, wine, and oil; and stalls for all kinds of livestock, and folds for flocks. (2 Chronicles 32:28)
Moreover he provided cities for himself, and possessions of flocks and herds in abundance; for God had given him very much property. (2 Chronicles 32:29)
The worship of money or the God of mammon is an enemy of pure undefiled worship. We can see it so clearly in the church today. The wealth is filling the leader’s heart and making it difficult for them to humble themselves in the sight of God. Their ministries have become like machines that takes all their strength, effort and attention to keep them going. We are losing sight of the One who has blessed us and true worship becomes impossible.
We parade all our accomplishments in conferences and pulpits, we make our CDs and concerts to sell more product. The truth is we can’t strut like that in the prayer closed or in a worship set. There won’t be any anointing and the Presence of the Lord cannot fellowship pride.
You can be sure that anyone who has forgotten that it was God who blessed them… will be tested. This testing that often comes in the form of judgment is to reveal our true heart. The Father loves us enough to show us who we really are.
Let my soul live, and it shall praise You; And let Your judgments help me. (Psalm 119:175)
Word was out, Hezekiah had the favor of the Lord. They came to see, who was this man that had such prosperity, whose ministry was so amazing? People will always come to the prospering, the rich and famous with the hopes it will rub off on them, hoping to get the formula so they too can prosper. Looking for shortcuts, the body of Christ goes from conference to mega ministry, watching, reading, devouring product…looking for an answer on how to prosper.
However, regarding the ambassadors of the princes of Babylon, whom they sent to him to inquire about the wonder that was done in the land, God withdrew from him, in order to test him, that He might know all that was in his heart. (2 Chronicles 32:31)
At that time Berodach-Baladan the son of Baladan, king of Babylon, sent letters and a present to Hezekiah, for he heard that Hezekiah had been sick. (2 Kings 20:12)
And Hezekiah was attentive to them, and showed them all the house of his treasures–the silver and gold, the spices and precious ointment, and all his armory–all that was found among his treasures. There was nothing in his house or in all his dominion that Hezekiah did not show them. (2 Kings 20:13)
Even in the day of pride the Lord will speak and give man an opportunity to humble himself before the Lord. God is so full of mercy and loving-kindness.
Then Isaiah the prophet went to King Hezekiah, and said to him, “What did these men say, and from where did they come to you?” So Hezekiah said, “They came to me from a far country, from Babylon.” (Isaiah 39:3)
And he said, “What have they seen in your house?” So Hezekiah answered, “They have seen all that is in my house; there is nothing among my treasures that I have not shown them.” (Isaiah 39:4)
Then Isaiah said to Hezekiah, “Hear the word of the LORD of hosts: (Isaiah 39:5)
“Behold, the days are coming when all that is in your house, and what your fathers have accumulated until this day, shall be carried to Babylon; nothing shall be left,’ says the LORD. (Isaiah 39:6)
Hezekiah received the rebuke of the Lord knowing that judgment will bring cleansing.
So Hezekiah said to Isaiah, “The word of the LORD which you have spoken is good!” For he said, “Will there not be peace and truth at least in my days?”(2 Kings 20:19)
True worship consists of a life that is true to God in every way. Our worship is a reflection of our relationship with the Lord. It is a response to His love, His mercy, His truth.
Worship is a lifestyle, a way of living. It touches every part of our life from the moment we arise each day all the way until the end. Who we are what we do and how we carry ourselves emits worship to the Lord or worship of man, or man-made things. We can choose to worship the creator or creation.
WORSHIP THE CREATOR NOT THE CREATION
For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, (Romans 1:20)
because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. (Romans 1:21)
Professing to be wise, they became fools, (Romans 1:22)
and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man–and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things. (Romans 1:23)
Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, (Romans 1:24)
who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. (Romans 1:25)
Today it is hard to discern who or what we worship when our songs and oracles are full of ourselves. The spirit of this age rides on our worship music drawing lustful men to gaze on everything but the One who created us.
We have created an image of worship that is set on a platform above the people fueled by popularity and paraded by pomp and circumstance. We have relegated the fear of the Lord for a crowd reaction and we no longer lead to the throne room, we lead to a good feeling and rocking rhythm, a catch phrase that fills a chord and an instrumental Segway.
True worship should make our souls cry out for more of God, a passion to know Him intimately and a realization of our need for purity. Only those who have clean hands and a pure heart can see God. Does our worship lead us to see Him as He truly is?
What does it take for the cloud of Glory to fill our corporate worship?
for you shall worship no other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God (Exodus 34:14)
And take heed, lest you lift your eyes to heaven, and when you see the sun, the moon, and the stars, all the host of heaven, you feel driven to worship them and serve them, which the LORD your God has given to all the peoples under the whole heaven as a heritage. (Deuteronomy 4:19)
Only take heed to yourself, and diligently keep yourself, lest you forget the things your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life. And teach them to your children and your grandchildren, (Deuteronomy 4:9)
“Gather the people to Me, and I will let them hear My words, that they may learn to fear Me all the days they live on the earth, and that they may teach their children.’ (Deuteronomy 4:10)
David instructed Israel how to worship. He set musicians and singers in the house as a full time occupation to worship the Lord as a vocation. This was their calling and as a King he established the house of prayer as a continual worship before the Lord. The priests in their place and the singers and musicians set in the house; he called Israel to worship the Lord God.
David told the chief Levites to appoint their brethren the singers with instruments of music–harps, lyres, and cymbals–to play loudly and lift up their voices with joy. (1 Chronicles 15:16)
David then sets up night and day worship in Jerusalem. Throughout Israel’s history the ark was a symbol of God’s grace and the altar was a symbol of human response to that grace.
So he left there, before the ark of the covenant of Jehovah, Asaph and his brethren, to minister before the ark continually, as every day’s work required; (1 Chronicles 16:37-38)
and Zadok the priest, and his brethren the priests, before the tabernacle of Jehovah in the high place that was at Gibeon, to offer burnt-offerings unto Jehovah upon the altar of burnt-offering continually morning and evening,(1 Chronicles 16:39-43)
THE INTENDED RESULT OF WORSHIP
Behold, God is my salvation, I will trust and not be afraid; “For YAH, the LORD, is my strength and song; He also has become my salvation.”‘ (Isaiah 12:2)
Therefore with joy you will draw water From the wells of salvation. (Isaiah 12:3)
And in that day you will say: “Praise the LORD, call upon His name; Declare His deeds among the peoples, Make mention that His name is exalted. (Isaiah 12:4)
Worship was man’s response to the Loving-Kindness, Grace and Mercy of our Creator God. It wasn’t meant to be a tool of manipulation to extract something from the Lord, rather it was to give back to One who was worthy of our entire lives. The result of this expression was intended to draw Israel to salvation and to join in worship of the Lord God Jehovah.
The Father instructed Moses from the very beginning to make this worship top priority. It was the first commandment:
You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. (Deuteronomy 6:5)
“Therefore you shall love the LORD your God, and keep His charge, His statutes, His judgments, and His commandments always. (Deuteronomy 11:1)
“And it shall be that if you earnestly obey My commandments which I command you today, to love the LORD your God and serve Him with all your heart and with all your soul, (Deuteronomy 11:13)
Jesus said to him, “”You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ (Matthew 22:37)
And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment. (Mark 12:30)
So he answered and said, “”You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind,’ and “your neighbor as yourself.”‘ (Luke 10:27)
The Lord instructed the leaders and the people how this was to be done. He set apart a people who were holy and called them to minister to Him. He gave them a commissioning, a calling and anointed their worship. He filled them with His glory, His wisdom and understanding so that they could know the One they worshipped.
Solomon continued to make worship a priority in Israel. He built a glorious temple and filled with zeal led the people to worship the Lord. However while building this temple Solomon continually strayed from the plan. The blueprint was not followed and there was mixture of pagan worship in the images and in the structure. But God honored His promise and He looked on the heart of Solomon and the priests and filled the temple with Glory.
And it came to pass when the priests came out of the Most Holy Place (for all the priests who were present had sanctified themselves, without keeping to their divisions), (2 Chronicles 5:11)
and the Levites who were the singers, all those of Asaph and Heman and Jeduthun, with their sons and their brethren, stood at the east end of the altar, clothed in white linen, having cymbals, stringed instruments and harps, and with them one hundred and twenty priests sounding with trumpets– (2 Chronicles 5:12)
indeed it came to pass, when the trumpeters and singers were as one, to make one sound to be heard in praising and thanking the LORD, and when they lifted up their voice with the trumpets and cymbals and instruments of music, and praised the LORD, saying: “For He is good, For His mercy endures forever,” that the house, the house of the LORD, was filled with a cloud, (2 Chronicles 5:13)
so that the priests could not continue ministering because of the cloud; for the glory of the LORD filled the house of God. (2 Chronicles 5:14)