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News for Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Sunday School Lesson — Explore the Bible
July 20: Hope of New Worship
By Shawn Allred
pastor, FBC, Bruceton

Focal Passage: Ezekiel 40:1 – 48:35


What or who do you worship? This is a question that we should ask ourselves as we consider our role as Christ followers. Our worship to Him is to always bring the Lord God glory, honor, and praise. One thing we can be sure of today, and what Ezekiel knew in his time, is that when we are ready to offer our worship God is ready and willing to receive our worship.

In Ezekiel 43:1-12 Ezekiel continues to share God’s message of hope with the nation of Israel. This restored hope had introduced the Israelites to new freedom, new life, and now new worship. In this passage God reveals to Ezekiel why He is worthy of worship, how to enter into worship, and how to live a lifestyle of worship.

The first wonderful truth about this new worship for the Israelites was about who was to be the center of that worship. The hearts of the Israelites had divided their worship loyalties between idols, men, and God. God was not on the throne of worship for the people and so God removed His glory from the temple (see Ezekiel 10:4, 18-19) and the temple itself was later destroyed. All of this was in response to the disobedient hearts of those who were called to worship the one true God. The vision of God to Ezekiel in this chapter is a wonderful reminder of who God is and why He is deserving of all praise. This passage highlights the Glory of God filling the temple in verses 1-5. Ezekiel hears and sees the glory of God. His senses are captivated, and in response he falls face down in awe and worship. Again we see the Spirit of God lifting Ezekiel to the inner court of the temple where Ezekiel experienced the unmistakable holiness of God fill every corner of that place. This is why God deserves our worship! His Spirit is the only person who can fill us, every nook and cranny, with the Glory of God.

The second truth that God reveals to Ezekiel is how to experience this type of worship. The Spirit of God can’t fill what is already occupied. God reminds Ezekiel that the Israelites hearts had been filled with “religious prostitution” going outside the covenant relationship with Holy God and making idols of dead kings and “high places.” The only way to experience this intimate and filling new worship was for them to remove their prostitution. Through this act of repentance God could dwell in the center of the worship of the people. What are you worshiping? If something other than God is occupying your temple then repentance, turning away, will allow the fullness of the worship of God to be your new worship. 

Lastly God revealed to Ezekiel what this new worship would look like in the lives of the people. In their lives, and ours today, holiness is vitally important to the worship of God. God wanted Ezekiel to describe the temple in exact specifications to Israel. He did this to reveal to them that every part of the temple was designed to bring God the glory He deserved. The temple was set apart to His holiness and the reverence and worship of that holiness. Do you see the picture that God was revealing to the Israelites? He had designed them too. He designed them to be a people set apart to holiness and to devoted worship to Him. What a beautiful picture of how God loved them and gave them the privilege and responsibility of representing His holiness and patterning their worship so God’s glory would be revealed. 

Let our worship be to the only One to whom it is deserved, “Holy, Holy, Holy! Lord God Almighty!”

— Allred is pastor of First Baptist Church, Bruceton.

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