Monday, October 3, 2011

Rushing Through Our Religion

Ours is a fast-paced society, of course, and we have many things to do.  Too many things, if it causes us to delay, postpone, shorten, or hurry through our service to God.  Having preached for many years, I heard many complaints if my sermon "went too long"--i.e., more than the allotted hour we give for worship on Sunday morning.  The length of worship is not all that critical, of course, but the demanded brevity of our worship does make me wonder about the depth of our commitment to Christ.

Perhaps people weren't quite so busy in ancient times, though I'm not convinced of that.  However, I do find it interesting that, at times, they appeared to be capable of spiritual endurance the likes of which we rarely see today.  In Nehemiah 8:3, we discover that Ezra "read from it (the Law)...from morning until midday."  That would have been about six hours.  "And the ears of all the people were attentive to the Book of the Law."  When people want to learn the will of the Lord badly enough, they'll do whatever it takes, including listening for several hours.  Not long after that, the children of Israel "read from the Book of the Law of the Lord their God for one-fourth of the day; and for another fourth they confessed and worshiped the Lord their God" (Neh. 9:3).  That's 12 hours.  When was the last time any of us spent 12 hours in a day reading God's word, confessing our sins, and worshipping Him? 

I like their attitude, too:  when Ezra opened the book of the Law of God, "all the people stood up" (Neh. 8:5).  And "all the people wept, when they heard the words of the Law" (v. 9).  Here is reverence to God, and contrition.  When the holy words of Jehovah are spread before a heart convinced of its own sin, then indeed, there is spiritual pain and remorse.  It's a good thing, and we need more of it.

The Lord is ready for us when we are ready for Him.  If we can barely stand to give Him one hour a week, how do we expect to enjoy an eternity of worshipping Him in heaven? 

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