Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Your Face, O Lord, I Will Seek

We ought to tremble
In this time when many are alarmed at earthly things that are happening, we ought to tremble with dread at a spiritual thing that isn't happening.

We have been shifting from God to man
For generations, churches have lost the true sense of the reality of God among us.

Less and less, have we sought His involvement or offered that which pleases Him; more and more, we have innovated to involve more men and please more men. It has been a long, slow, slouch toward functional atheism in how we handle the things of God.

If ever there was a time to reverse the shift, this is the time

This is the time for churches to insist that public worship is essential.

This is the time for Sabbath-breaking to cease—with the Lord of the Sabbath having shut down so much of His competition, so that the Lord's own Day might again be kept holy unto the Lord of the Sabbath.

This is the time for entertainment/involvement worship to be replaced by simple, Scripture-commanded, Christ-led worship from heaven that involves the whole of every person in the whole congregation the whole time.

This is the time for superficial demonstration and emotional self-stimulation in the holy assembly to be replaced by weighty grappling with the reality of God, and humiliation before Him for our coldness until He Himself is pleased to warm our zeal by His grace.

This is the time for a morning-only church to become a morning-and-evening-and-Lord's-Day-prayer-meeting-church.

This is the time to stop shrinking worship according to the less and less that we can tolerate, and to train daily at home in the waiting-and-working of faith that depends upon Him, so that slowly we may again be able to expand worship according to what God enables us to offer.

It has always been this time. But when God adds the flashing of His lightning through a calamity to the continual rumble of His thunder in the ordinary display of His wrath, then this is the time all the more!

But it depends upon God, and God is free, so what if this is not the time?
If God does not bring it by His Spirit, then faithful men will continue to plod along in the means of grace, day by day and week by week, and may God grant that they do not grow weary in well-doing.

But it is a dreadful thought to such men that we might "go back to normal." And it is a dreadful experience to such men to ask about having more called worship and receive the response, "that's really too much—let's just have more recordings, more live streams, more devotional shorts." Too much? Too much of what?

If even such days as these cannot induce us to SEEK GOD'S FACE more in public worship, to return to a dependence upon the involvement of Almighty God, to offer as much as we may every Lord's Day of what pleases Him, then perhaps the transformation is nearing its completion. Perhaps this is such churches' Ichabod moment.

So, God grant that this would be our Psalm 27 time!
Lord, have mercy upon us! Let us consider well the place of the tabernacle, the place of public worship, in vv4–10 of Psalm 27 (NKJV):

A Psalm of David.

    1      The LORD is my light and my salvation;
    Whom shall I fear?
    The LORD is the strength of my life;
    Of whom shall I be afraid?
    2      When the wicked came against me
    To eat up my flesh,
    My enemies and foes,
    They stumbled and fell.
    3      Though an army may encamp against me,
    My heart shall not fear;
    Though war may rise against me,
    In this I will be confident.

    4      One thing I have desired of the LORD,
    That will I seek:
    That I may dwell in the house of the LORD
    All the days of my life,
    To behold the beauty of the LORD,
    And to inquire in His temple.
    5      For in the time of trouble
    He shall hide me in His pavilion;
    In the secret place of His tabernacle
    He shall hide me;
    He shall set me high upon a rock.

    6      And now my head shall be lifted up above my enemies all around me;
    Therefore I will offer sacrifices of joy in His tabernacle;
    I will sing, yes, I will sing praises to the LORD.

    7      Hear, O LORD, when I cry with my voice!
    Have mercy also upon me, and answer me.
    8      When You said, “Seek My face,”
    My heart said to You, “Your face, LORD, I will seek.”
    9      Do not hide Your face from me;
    Do not turn Your servant away in anger;
    You have been my help;
    Do not leave me nor forsake me,
    O God of my salvation.
    10      When my father and my mother forsake me,
    Then the LORD will take care of me.

    11      Teach me Your way, O LORD,
    And lead me in a smooth path, because of my enemies.
    12      Do not deliver me to the will of my adversaries;
    For false witnesses have risen against me,
    And such as breathe out violence.
    13      I would have lost heart, unless I had believed
    That I would see the goodness of the LORD
    In the land of the living.

    14      Wait on the LORD;
    Be of good courage,
    And He shall strengthen your heart;
    Wait, I say, on the LORD!

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