Worship the Lord!
I love college football; and admittedly, I probably spend way too much time watching it. But I really enjoy the passion, excitement and thrill that comes with that game. Nobody seems more invested in their teams than college football fans. Why do you think that is? Probably because of the keen sense of connection they enjoy with their teams, whether it’s their alma mater or just a team they have chosen as their own, people really get into those games. Every Saturday, I see huge stadiums packed with adoring fans ready to cheer on their teams. In many ways, those games turn into worship events as fans praise and celebrate their teams. It is remarkable to see people so passionately invested.
Don’t you think that our Lord deserves that level of passion and joy from us? Maybe not all the screaming and cheering, but certainly that level of enthusiasm. In Nehemiah 9, as the Israelites continued their in-depth, daily teaching from the Books of the Law (Torah) from dawn until noon, they followed that study with another six hours of confession and worship! They were stirred, by their understanding of the law, to confess their sins, seek God’s forgiveness and then worship Him! It was a season of authentic renewal and revival as they celebrated what God had done for them, what He was doing now and what He would do in the future.
The Levite priests compelled the people to: 5 …“Stand up and praise the Lord your God, who is from everlasting to everlasting.” Nehemiah 9:5b. ‘Sounds like a call to worship! And the people responded, as the Ezra and the priests gave them compelling reasons to worship Him. In fact, in this chapter, we see at least Three Unique Characteristics of God That Inspire Our Worship….
1)The Greatness of God… In Nehemiah 9:1-6, we see four ways that God reveals His greatness!
God reveals His greatness through His Word. (Nehemiah 9:3a)
After the Festival of Tabernacles was done, the people lingered to hear more from God’s Word. Feasting had turned to fasting as the Word of God brought conviction that led to confession. The people were coming face to face with their own sin as they continued to read, understand and apply His Word. 3… and spent another quarter in confession and in worshiping the Lord their God. Nehemiah 9:3
God reveals His greatness through His love and forgiveness.
God’s Word brings us face to face with our own failure and sin, and causes us to wrestle with it and recognize that change is needed and expected. God wants the very best for us. He wants us to experience His blessing; and we can’t experience that blessing when we’re held captive by sin. God’s Word helps us understand what He wants from us and for us. He wants us to turn from that sin toward Him and His will for our lives.
The Israelites, after years of an on again, off again relationship with God seemed to be making that change. God wants the same for you and me and He went to extraordinary lengths to make that possible. (John 3:16-17)
God reveals His greatness by His glorious name alone. (Nehemiah 9:5b-6a)
There is no one like Him. He reigns supreme! The Israelites had for years lived among people who worshipped multiple gods. One of Israel’s ministries to the world was to bear witness to Jehovah, the true and living God. Gentile neighbors of Israel had a hard time understanding how they only had one God and no idols. Sometimes the Israelites were wrongly influenced by these idol worshipping nations, much to God’s dismay and disappointment. And God disciplined them when they turned to idols.
This is why the first two of the ten commandments prohibit idol worship. We should ask ourselves if there is anything that we value above Him? If so, we are dishonoring and disobeying Him and that will come with discipline. We can get that right today!
God reveals His greatness through His creation. (Nehemiah 9:6b)
The angels of heaven worship God as Creator! There is so much in creation that points to God’s greatness! When is the last time you stared at and soaked in the vastness of a clear, star-filled night sky? When you do, you can’t help but know God’s greatness and to worship Him!
Not only did God create everything, but He cares deeply for all that He created. He didn’t create and abandon all He has made, He created and cares deeply for all He has made. He is intimately involved with all things. His Word makes clear that God sees when a sparrow falls (Matthew 10:29); He hears when a raven cries out for food (Psalm 147:9); He numbers and names the stars of the sky; and He knows every hair on our heads (Luke 12:7)! God cares deeply about all He creates.
Why does that matter to us? Because if He cares about the birds of the air, and the hairs on our heads, then He surely cares about our hurts, troubles, heartaches, loneliness, addictions, depression and afflictions. (Psalm 34:18; 10:14). This is wonderful, life-changing news! God’s greatness inspires our worship.
For much more, including the two other unique characteristics of God that compels us to worship Him (His goodness and graciousness), click here to listen to: Resolute: Part 7 - Worship the Lord!