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The Need To Re-establish Value for the Things of God in God's Church
He began by telling us what had been happening in his church over the last couple of years. God had been moving in remarkable ways for many months there. Salvation's, healings, and miracles were happening on a regular basis. Then one Sunday, the Spirit just seemed to disappear. He sought the scriptures and he sought the Word. He was very disturbed in spirit.
Finally the Lord said to him "in spite of the things I have been doing in your midst, the people in this church have lost their value for the things of God. When something loses value, you lose the passion for that thing. When you lose your passion for that thing, you lose the motivation to move towards it (or to guard it). When you lose motivation, it will lower the level of endurance you are willing to endure to go through and get whatever you are seeking after. The value for the things of God must be re-established in their hearts."
The level of our value for something directly determines our level of passion and our level of endurance.
One example is the divorce rate in America. As a culture we have lost the value for the sanctity of marriage. We've lost our passion for marriage and therefore our level of endurance to put up with things in marriage is at a low level. When you hear a man referring to his wife as "the old lady", you know that he has lost the value of his wife. Where couples used to to allow years to work through things, now a couple of weeks is the norm. There is a low level of endurance in the fight.
A good indicator of your value of the things of God is your church attendance. Church attendance is a spiritual exercise. I you value it, you'll be willing to put up with anything just to get there. Nothing short of debilitating illness or death will keep you from the house of God. Visiting family will have to wait. Employment opportunities will have to wait for Monday-Saturday. (I also believe that not only will you be dedicated to Sunday, but also to other church activities throughout the week.)
In the days of Saul, the ark of the covenant was lost. No one looked for it through the reign of Saul 47 years. Some commentators say over a hundred years. How in the world could they not think of the ark? It represented the very presence of God. It was at the centrality of their existence. It was the centrality of their worship. It was the very presence of God in their midst. It scared their enemies. They were known by the heathen nations as "the people of the presence". They couldn't be overcome if that box was present. You tell me, how in the world do you forget about the ark of the covenant as a part of your worship life, society, culture, existence, you tell me how can you forget that it even exists??? They lost the value for the things of God. They didn't even know where it was!! For somewhere between 2-5 generations, the ark of the covenant and the value of it were lost to Israel.
This means that several generations grew up, were instructed and discipled in how to function without the presence of God. Probably even mentioning it to them would have gained you nothing but blank stares!
When David inquired about the ark, they searched and found the ark in someones house who lived outside the city. It's sort of finding a car in West Virginia in someones front yard with weeds growing up all through it! It was in a guy's house like a piece of furniture. The man who had the ark also had a son named Uzza. The ark had become common to him as well which is why he so easily reached and steadied it on the trip back to Jerusalem. Perhaps all the disrespect and irreverence caught up with the man and it cost him his life.
Don't ever stop valuing the things of God! If Israel could lose the Ark of the Covenant after knowing it's power, if they could continue to suffer loss, persecution and failure in battle and not realize that they had lost the power of God, it can happen to us!!! If they could grow comfortable with living without all that the Ark and it's presence could supply, it could easily happen to us! It has happened to us in the American church!
People can talk of the things of God and Christians look at you like a deer in headlights. Biblical terminology has been cast aside for more "modern" language. Talk of the moving of the Spirit of God in a church service causes wide eyes, uplifted eyebrows and sideways glances even in some Pentecostal churches who are Pentecostal but in name only!
Why not value the language? Why not just bring it into our century? It has not changed! It's meaning has not changed! The power behind it has certainly not changed, nor will He EVER! He is the same yesterday, today and forever! We have left the Ark in the woods!
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As Christians, we can have a lot of head knowledge about the Bible and all that it affords us as believers but if that knowledge is not proven with practical experience, that's really all it is-knowledge and "knowledge puffs up". When your head is swollen, you can't think right. When you don't think right you don't do right. When you don't do right, things don't turn out the way they should. I wonder if this is not what happened to Israel? They were unbeatable as long as that Ark was with them in battle and their hearts were right with God. Perhaps the victories went to their heads and they forgot who it was that was winning those battles! Perhaps they took being God's "chosen" into the realm of pride and arrogance instead of staying in the humbleness of their beginnings. It would explain a lot of what I see today in what people call "church."
A few weeks ago the Lord took me back to my "beginnings" in Him. I realized that a lot of what I had felt--the joy, the zeal, the wonder of salvation--had lost some of it's luster in my heart and in my life. I had chalked this up to "maturity", but the Lord showed me that instead of maturity, it was actually hardness. I don't like that. So I'm returning to do the things I did at first, with the Holy Spirit's help, of course. I've been making a conscious effort to value everything I do for God, with God, in God's house, for God's people, no matter how small or insignificant it may be. I'm giving it first priority in my life. And the joy--oh the joy, and the wonder and the zeal is returning and I really, really like that!