2 Chronicles 5-8, Psalm 72
A new pastor transformed himself into a homeless man and went into his large church. He said hello, with no response, only glances. He asked change to buy food, no one in the church gave him any. When he sat in the front of the church, ushers asked him if he would please sit in the back. As the announcements finished and the new pastor was introduced, he stood up from the back of the church and walked to the front and began to read from Matthew 25:31-46, where Jesus describes his judgment on the nations describing those who did and did not feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, give lodging to a stranger, give clothes to those who needed it and visit prisoners. After reading this passage he described his treatment at the hands of those sitting in the church. Many began to cry others just bowed their heads in shame. He then said, "Today I see a gathering of people, not a church of Jesus Christ. The world has enough people, but not enough disciples. When will you decide to become disciples?"
In today's reading we see good examples of authentic worship, prayer and repentance; along with God's response. In 2 Chr 5 we see a scene of passionate worship as the ark is brought into the Most Holy Place of the temple and in response we see in 5:13-14, "...the house of the Lord, was filled with a cloud...for the glory of the Lord filled the house of God." After Solomon's long passionate prayer in chapter 6, we see God's response in 7:1, "When Solomon had finished praying, fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices; and the glory of the Lord filled the temple." We then see God's promise to those who would authentically repent before Him in 2 Chr 7:14, "if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land."
Authenticity should be the desire of our hearts, daily. When we worship, do we notice who is entering the sanctuary, what people are wearing, etc. If our eyes are sharply focused on the Lord during worship, nothing else should distract us. When we pray, especially out loud, do we carefully choose our words, carefully quote Scripture, use popular Christian jargon to sound spiritual, or do we pour out our hearts with abandon knowing that our prayers should be focused on God alone, even if we stumble on our authentic words in the process. When we repent, do we truly see ourselves in the sinful state that we are in, comparing ourselves not to others, but seeing ourselves in comparison to the perfect, sinless, Lamb of God. Our nation desperately needs revival. True revival can only come from authenticity in the walk of those who claim to belong to Him.
Messages from Pastor Lloyd Pulley: