2 Chronicles 7:3, “And when all the children of Israel saw how the fire came down, and the glory of the LORD upon the house, they bowed themselves with their faces to the ground upon the pavement, and worshipped, and praised the LORD, saying, For he is good; for his mercy endureth forever”
It wasn’t a normal, run-of-the-mill morning worship service, when Solomon dedicated the temple. There was the sacrifice of countless animals (2 Chronicles 5:6). Special music was provided by the Levites on stringed instruments, cymbals, and harps, and by 120 trumpet-playing priests (2 Chronicles 5:12). There was the thick cloud in which dwelt the glory of the Lord (2 Chronicles 5:14). There was the dedicatory prayer of Solomon (2 Chronicles 6:12-42). However, the most dramatic event occurred when fire fell from heaven and consumed the offerings (2 Chronicles 7:1). The people, awed by the presence of God, bowed low in worship (2 Chronicles 7:3). Two weeks later, when Solomon sent them home, they were “joyful and glad of heart for the goodness that the Lord had done” (2 Chronicles 7:10).
Although we can’t duplicate the majesty of such a celebration, from it we can certainly learn about the transforming power of worship; and, we can most assuredly be challenged as believers in Christ Jesus, seeking to worship God more effectively. As we attend church in the coming weeks, review the mighty works that God has done in your own life and in the lives of your brothers and sisters in the Lord. Go in the spirit of the psalmist, who declared, “I was glad when they said to me, ‘Let us go into the house of the LORD” (Psalm 122:1). Bow before the Lord in gratitude for who He is, what He has done and sing praises to His greatness, His power, His glory, and in the hymns of praise, the fellowship of believers, and the preaching of the Word will most certainly bless your heart, mind and soul.
Getting very little or no blessing from a worship service is somewhat like going to a large department store and coming out with a $1.00 item. Even though there are hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of merchandise available, the shopper will take away with him only what he has come prepared to get. Spiritually speaking, if we enter a morning church service expecting a blessing, we have taken the first step in receiving one. If we participate with a genuine desire to hear God speak to us through the hymns that are sung and through the preaching of His Word, we will surely come away with blessings to our heart.
Moreover, we are surely to depart empty-handed if we merely go out of a sense of duty, attend with a critical attitude, or bear ill will toward the pastor or fellow members. One of the keys to having a vital encounter with God on Sunday morning is proper preparation the day before and throughout the week. Yes, those in leadership should give much thought and prayer to every part of the worship service. But those of us who sit in the pews should also keep Sunday morning in mind as we plan our Saturday activities. Our daily walk with God and our obedience to His commands are the elements that prepare us for church. Then we’ll be alert and ready to sing, pray, and take in all that is being said, including the truths given in the sermon.
So, my beloved, the next time you attend church, go in the spirit of the psalmist, who declared: “Shouts for joy to the LORD, all the earth. Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. Know that the LORD is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the LORD is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.”
Our thoughts about God should lead us to joyful praise.