Thursday, November 26, 2009

Give Thanks to the Lord

The trumpeters and singers joined in unison, as with one voice, to give praise and thanks to the LORD. Accompanied by trumpets, cymbals and other instruments, they raised their voices in praise to the LORD and sang:
"He is good;
his love endures forever."
Then the temple of the LORD was filled with a cloud, 14 and the priests could not perform their service because of the cloud, for the glory of the LORD filled the temple of God."
2 Chronicles 5:13-14 emphasis mine

This passage overwhelms me with longing. Oh to experience the Presence of the Lord in this way! Somehow in this moment, these Old Testament worshippers touched the heart of God. Their praises, their voices lifted in thanksgiving and unabashed declarations of His love and goodness, brought the tangible, visible presence of the Lord into their midst. The temple was filled with the cloud of the glory of the Lord and the priests couldn't serve. They couldn't DO anything. They just had to experience and worship in the Presence. They could only BE.

A similar occurrence happens two chapters later at the dedication of the temple:
"When Solomon finished praying, fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices, and the glory of the LORD filled the temple. 2 The priests could not enter the temple of the LORD because the glory of the LORD filled it. 3 When all the Israelites saw the fire coming down and the glory of the LORD above the temple, they knelt on the pavement with their faces to the ground, and they worshiped and gave thanks to the LORD, saying,
"He is good;
his love endures forever."
2 Chronicles 7:1-3 empahsis mine

This time there's fire and glory: fire that consumes the sacrifice and glory that fills the temple. And the Israelites response? Faces to the ground, worship and praise flowing from their lips as they declare the goodness and the love of the Lord.

More worship.

These worshippers in Chronicles lived under the old covenant, and the glory and the fire filled a building made of wood and stone. Their worship brought down the Presence in a tangible, visible way and their response was to just worship. To cease activity and to fall on their faces and express the goodness and love of the Lord.

As children born under the new covenant, we ARE the temple of the Lord, the place where He has chosen to dwell. We are the vessels that He most desires to fill with His glory. We are also His priests, chosen and appointed to minister to Him day and night. How much more should we who have been given open access to the Throne of God through the blood of Jesus experience the tangible, visible Presence of the Lord!

As you offer sacrifices of praise to the Lord, as you rejoice and remember the ways the Lord has blessed you, kept you, surrounded you and defended you. As You remember how He's provided, poured out His everlasting love, faithfully shown you His amazing goodness. As you thank Him and praise Him and declare His love and goodness...

May you be filled with the cloud of His glory and the fire of His presence.

May your hearts be drawn to just sit at His feet, to gaze at His face, and to hear His voice speak Your name.

And with faces to the ground may our response to His tremendous outpouring of Love and Goodness be to worship and declare loudly and passionately:
You are good!
Your love endures forever!

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