Vol. 6, No. 10
~ Page 15 ~
Sometime, in every God-given day, David's words, now 3000 years old, never get out of date: "Come! Let us worship and bow down. Let us kneel before Yahweh our Maker" (Psalm 95:6). "Yahweh" is the best pronunciation of God's Hebrew name, YHWH. It is miscalled "Jehovah" in several translations, as in Psalm 83:18: "whose name alone is Jehovah." Of the four letters, YHWH, God had told Moses, "This is my name forever, and this is my memorial to all generations" (Exodus 3:15).
What a being! Only he could say, "I AM THAT I AM" (Exodus 3:14): "I am the A and the Z, the originator and completer, . . . who is, who was, and who is coming, the Almighty" (Revelation 1:8), "from everlasting to everlasting" (Psalm 90:2). Because the Father and the Son "are one" (John 10:30), Jesus could say, "before Abraham was born [two thousand years ago], I am" (John 8:58).
Daily worship by a Christian, in his or her room, or in a family gathering, involves the sacred Three. Jesus is involved because he is listening, for "we have an intercessor with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous one" (1 John 2:1). Moreover, the Holy Spirit also is listening and speaks up for us:
Likewise, the Spirit helps our praying, because we do not know how to pray as we ought. In regard to our groanings, too deep for words, the Spirit himself intercedes for us. The Searcher of hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, who, according to the will of God, pleads for the saints (Romans 8:26-27).
Thus the prayer of one Christian is not only a duet, with the Father listening, but also a quartet, including Jesus and the Holy Spirit! Marvelous! It is no wonder that Horatius Bonar in 1866 wrote a beautiful hymn including these words: "Glory be to God the Father, Glory be to God the Son, Glory be to God the Spirit . . . Three in One!"
David prayed early in the morning:
Hear my words, O Yahweh! Pay attention to my fervent prayer. Understand my cry for help, my king and my God, for to you I am praying. At dawn, O Yahweh, you will hear my voice. At day-break I will direct my words to you and I will keep watch (Psalm 5:1-3).
On one occasion, when Jesus was an all night guest in Simon's home in Capernaum, "Early in the morning, while it was still very dark, he arose, went out to a desert place, and there was praying. Simon and those with him [Andrew, James, and John] searched diligently for him. They found him and said, 'All are seeking you'" (Mark 1:35-37).
It is no wonder that Mary A. Kidder in 1875 wrote a heart-touching hymn with these words:
Ere you left your room this morning,
Did you think to pray?
In the name of Christ our Savior,
Did you sue for loving favor,
As a shield today?
O how praying rests the weary!
Prayer will change the night to day;
So when life seems dark and dreary,
Don't forget to pray.
David also prayed at night: "I will remember you on my bed, and in the night watches I will meditate on you" (Psalm 63:6). And it is no wonder that an apostle wrote: "Pray constantly. Give thanks for everything, which is God's will in Christ Jesus for you" (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).
Four heavenly "living creatures" have "no rest day or night, saying, `Holy, holy, holy, Lord God the Almighty'" (Revelation 4:8), and "twenty-four older ones fall before him who sits on the throne, and they worship him," saying, "You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive the glory and the honor and the power" (Revelation 4:6-11).
For four great reasons the daily prayers of Christians should ascend to the Father: (1) He is the Creator; (2) He is our Maker; (3) He is our Preserver; and (4) He provided a Redeemer for us.
(1). The Creator: God, with the cooperation of Jesus and the Holy Spirit, "created the heavens and the earth" (Genesis 1:1-2; John 1:2-3; Revelation 4:11). "The sea is his and he made it. His hands formed the dry land" (Psalm 95:5). "The heavens" are "the works of your fingers, the moon and the stars which you set in place" (Psalm 8:3). "It is he who sits above the circle of the earth, . . . that stretches out the heavens as a curtain, and spreads them out as a tent to dwell in" (Isaiah 40:22). "Yours are the heavens and also the earth, the world and its fullness" (Psalm 89:11). "Every wild animal in the forest is mine, the cattle on a thousand hills. . . . If I were hungry, I would not tell you, for the world is mine, and its fullness" (Psalm 50:10-12).
(2). Our Maker: "Know that Yahweh, he is God. He made us, and not we ourselves. We are his people, the sheep of his pasture" (Psalm 100:3). "You created my internal organs, and knitted me together in my mother's womb. I am fearfully and marvelously made! Your works are wonderful! That I know so well! My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in secret, . . . Your eyes saw my embryo, and in your book all its parts were inscribed, and even the days ordained for me when there was not one of them" (Psalm 139:13-16). When a Christian considers the human brain, the nerve system, the skeletal, muscular, circulatory, respiratory and digestive arrangements--systems interrelated, coordinated, and cooperating--he is made to exclaim: "How precious are your thoughts for me, O God! How great is the sum of them! If I should count them they are more than the grains of sand" (Psalm 139:17-18).
(3). Our Preserver: "We live and move and have our being in him" (Acts 17:28). "He himself gives to everyone life and breath and all things" (Acts 17:25). Daniel reprimanded a king because "the God in whose hand your breath is, and are all your ways, you have not glorified" (Daniel 5:23). God gives to Christians their "daily bread" (Matthew 6:11, 31-32), knows the number of the hairs of their heads (Matthew 10:30) and watches over them in their sleep (Psalm 127:2).
Have you not known? Have you not heard? The everlasting God, Yahweh, . . . faints not, neither is weary. . . . Even the youths will faint and be weary, and the young men will stumble and fall. But they who wait for Yahweh will renew their strength. They will mount up with wings as eagles; they will run and not be weary; they will walk and not faint (Isaiah 40:28-31). Behold! he who keeps Israel [now, Christians] will neither slumber nor sleep (Psalm 121:4).
A Christian is privileged to pray "Guard me as the apple of your eye" (Psalm 17:8). Strangely, one of the meanings of the word "apple" is "the pupil of one's eye," and so "figuratively, any thing or person that one cherishes" (Webster). This means that a Christian believes he is so cherished by the heavenly Father in the Father's continuous looking at a Christian that his own image appears in the Father's eye.
(4). The Father Provided a Redeemer: When the world of beauty began to have "thorns and thistles" (Genesis 3:17-18), when the Lord's name, Yahweh, had been taken "in vain" (Exodus 20:7), when "all" had "sinned and come short of God's splendor" (Romans 3:23), even yet the Being who "is love" (1 John 4:8) still loved and provided a Redeemer:
You know that you were redeemed, not by perishable things (as silver or gold), from your worthless manner of life inherited from your forefathers, but by the precious blood of Christ, as an unblemished and spotless lamb (1 Peter 1:18-19).
Back in Job's day, he could say: "But as for me, I know that my Redeemer lives. . . . and after my skin, even this body, is destroyed, then without my flesh I shall see God; whom I, even I, shall see, on my side, and my eyes shall behold, and not as a stranger" (Job 19:25-27). David wrote, "I will bow down toward your holy temple, and praise your name for your kindness and faithfulness" (Psalm 138:2).
Shirking daily worship is a shame. On the other hand, Jesus spoke of those who "go into a private room" and "shut the door" and "pray to your Father in secret," and he said that "your Father who sees in secret will reward you" (Matthew 6:6).
All of the thoughts presented in the above have to do with daily worship, seven days a week, for one or more family members. In addition, faithful Christians "come together in an assembly" (1 Corinthians 11:18) with other Christians "on the first day of the week" (Acts 20:7) to express a solemn remembrance of Jesus in "the Lord's Supper" (1 Corinthians 11:20), and to "offer up the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips, confessing his name" (Hebrews 13:15).
The late and beloved Gus Nichols has written:
Soon after I obeyed the gospel in the fall of 1909, I read of an old brother who had not missed going to worship a single Sunday in 41 years. That story caused me to resolve and to purpose in my heart that I would never miss the worship on a single Lord's Day as long as I lived, if possible to attend. I have missed four Sundays in over 50 years and then it was because of illness.
Once I made that decision, the question has not come up as to whether I would attend church services or not. In fact, I did not decide last Lord's Day to go to worship, nor the Sunday before. That decision was made more than fifty years ago!
It is a sin for any member of the church to miss the worship service unless he is unable to attend. The very nature of our religion is such that those who feel this is a burden, need to be converted. (Taken from the Liberty Letter, published 2-3-02 by the Liberty congregation in Dennis, Mississippi. Ron Deaton is the local preacher).