but God is the one you must fear
Getting to church on Sunday morning can be such a hassle that we get very little out of the experience and begin to wonder, “what’s the point?” With this series of posts, I am showing you from Ecclesiastes 5, how we can get to church, get over the hassle, and get to something great! Ecclesiastes is Solomon’s dissertation on how to avoid a meaningless life. In Ecclesiastes 5 Solomon shows us how to avoid meaningless worship. To see the introduction to this week’s series of posts, see Worship Mindset #1, Careful.
Solomon ends with a succinct statement sure to stop our descent into pointless worship, “ButGod is the one you must fear.” Remembering who worship is ultimately for is the greatest way to help you get to church and get over it.
Isn’t it amazing that in a world created by God, in the midst of a people redeemed by God, in a worship service that is supposed to be for God, that we can completely miss God?
It is easy to get to church and just see singers and a band. We see the need to get our kids checked in. We hear the preacher bring the message. We put a smile on our face and say “Hi, I’m fine, how are you?” to all of our friends. But if we do not get over what it took us to get to church we can leave the building never having experienced God, needing God, hearing from God, or even speaking to God.
I recently attended the Exponential Conference in Orlando, Florida. The opening speaker was Francis Chan. There was
For you have not come to what may be touched, a blazing fire and darkness and gloom and a tempest and the sound of a trumpet and a voice whose words made the hearers beg that no further messages be spoken to them. For they could not endure the order that was given, “If even a beast touches the mountain, it shall be stoned.” Indeed, so terrifying was the sight that Moses said, “I tremble with fear.”
But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering, and to the assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel
See that you do not refuse him who is speaking. For if they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, much less will we escape if we reject him who warns from heaven. At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, “Yet once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.” This phrase, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of things that are shaken—that is, things that have been made – in order that the things that cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire.
The greatest thing we can do to get to church and get over it is to get over ourselves and any delusion that we have done God a favor. We need to be shaken. We may arrive with inconvenience, but we need to be filled with reverence and awe. This is not about you. This is for God.
And let us not forget our brothers and sisters in dangerous places who are not inconvenienced by where they go on a Sunday morning, but are persecuted for who they are on a daily basis. They face daily economic hardships. They stare down the barrel of a gun. They watch as their children are slaughtered for one simple reason – their fear of God is greater than their desire to preserve their lives.
I think we need to have perspective. I think we need to keep ourselves in check. Getting to church? Is this really a sacrifice for our God who is a consuming fire?
I want to conclude this series of posts with a recap. What are the mindsets of worship, from Ecclesiastes 5, that will help us get to church, get over it, and get to God?
- Careful – When we guard our steps we walk with God daily rather than simply meet with Him once a week.
- Mindful – We need to be curious for the Word of God. Reserve some mental bandwidth so that you can receive what is being given to you.
- Truthful – The words we say are also important. Don’t use words as smokescreens. Let us not be satisfied with true, but press on to
- Faithful – We serve and worship without excuse. We don’t have to go to church, we get to go to church.
- Fearful – This is not for us. This is for our God who is a consuming fire.