What an interesting time we are living in. Churches with closed doors, “social distancing” away from friends and loved ones if it means our protection. Funerals passing by silently with closed doors and only the closest relatives being allowed to say their goodbyes.
We are in a time of silence where we can truly be alone with God. These are the days where neither the church nor our family members or anyone or anything else should be leading our motives and desires towards God. This is the time to allow Him “to seek and search our hearts.” This is the time to see where our faith truly lies.
“Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith, prove your own selves.” 2 Corinthians 13:5
Do we really know if we are walking with God? Have we given to God what we have desired to give Him or are we truly concerned with what He asks of us? Do we set goals for our pleasure and honor or for His glory?
The Bible gives us many examples of those honoring God and those not honoring Him. Of sincere people worshipping Him the way He asks: Abraham, Moses, Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego and the fiery furnace; and the disciples. And God has given us many examples of those not worshipping as He asked...the Israelites every time they turned back to false god’s; the story of Elijah on the mountain top versus the Baal worshippers.
A very clear example of true worship and false worship, true obedience and false obedience was given at the very start of the Bible: Cain and Able. Able desired to serve God with a clear heart and offer to God what God asked for: a burnt offering from the flock of his own sheep. An offering that showed that he knew he was a sinner in need of the blood of the lamb—the Savior that would come. On the other hand, his brother Cain desired to give God what was easiest and would show “his own works and labor,” the fruit from his fields.
“Cain’s gift expressed no penitence for sin. He felt, as many now feel, that it would be an acknowledgement of weakness to follow the exact plan marked out by God, of trusting his salvation wholly to the atonement of the promised Saviour. He chose the course of self-dependence.”
Are we doing this? Do we say in our hearts, I prefer this or that when it comes to worship because it “makes me feel good.” Or, “this style of worship gives ME a better experience.” But what about God?
“Cain would come in his own merits. He would not bring the lamb, and mingle its blood with his offering, but would present his fruits, the products of his labor. He presented his offering as a favor done to God, through which he expected to secure the divine approval.”
How often do we see those helping to lead the services of God making a “show” of worship, to the point that it takes God completely away from the mind and only leaves those watching praising or thinking of the ones giving the “entertaining message,” or playing the music? How often do we deny Christ and his humbleness by partaking in services that have become nothing more than a show that only glorifies those leading the service? Are we truly leaving the doors of our churches each week with the sense that we are sinners in need of a Savior? Are we being encouraged within its walls to live as Able—or enabled to live like Cain?
“Cain obeyed in building an altar, obeyed in bringing a sacrifice, but he rendered only a partial obedience. The essential part, the recognition of the need of a Redeemer, was left out....” CC 25.2
We too can go to church, bring our tithes and offerings but only give part of what God desires from us. This is the time to allow God to search our hearts and see if we are “truly in the faith.” We don’t have to guess, God has written to us what He desires of us.
Declare His glory among the nations, His wonders among all peoples. For the LORD is great and greatly to be praised;
He is also to be feared above all gods. (1 Chronicles 16:24-25)
Our worship, our obedience is to be given to God to glorify Him, not to uplift ourselves or to glorify man.
Jesus said: “the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him.” John 4:23
The days are coming when true worship and false worship will become the focus of the world. Now during this time of silence is the time to search our hearts to make sure we are honoring and obeying God in true worship and truly being obedient to His word and commands. It’s time to put away the idols of this world, and what it has tried to tell us is true worship.
“If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives his mark on his forehead or on his hand, “he himself shall also drink of the wine of the wrath of God....” (Revelation 14:9-10)
When (or if) the doors of the churches open back up, when friends and family are back together again, we should be praying for a revival of true worship, true obedience of heart, and a true humbling of hearts to come to God and give Him what He desires not what we desire to give Him.
The days are before us when times will get tougher and we are going to need the oil that sees us through. Are we prepared as the body of Christ to stand as the great martyrs of old, to sacrifice for God in ways never before imagined. Are our churches preparing us for what’s ahead or lulling us to be asleep when the real crisis hits?
Maybe this time of silence has been given to us to reset and refocus our minds on what is eternally important and to stop thinking on what is only temporary.