Sunday, July 22, 2018

Open doors, not the earth!

How much time do you spend "pondering"? Pondering is way more than just letting your mind wander here or there. Pondering carries with it the idea of considering something so carefully that we are going through the mental process of weighing all the details, with an attentiveness to the details that help us to not miss a thing. God actually commends those of us who spend time in such a manner! This is how God wants us to be considering his actions on our behalf. There is nothing more rewarding than to truly begin to consider God's love and grace in action - it has a way of refocusing our attention and directing our attitude away from "me, me, me" - something we need more help with than we might want to admit. We are very 'me' focused individuals - even if we don't see it, others can attest to this fact!

We pondered your love-in-action, God, waiting in your temple: Your name, God, evokes a train
of Hallelujahs wherever it is spoken, near and far; your arms are heaped with goodness-in-action. 
(Psalm 48:9-10)

Do you know who the sons of Korah were in scripture? There were five sons of Korah that joined King David as expert warriors, but their heritage is marked by some pretty serious rebellion in their forefather, Korah. Korah was one of the individuals who rebelled against Moses and Aaron because he was jealous of all the attention and authority they received. His rebellion led to a few hundred followers also rebelling, but also to their ultimate end as the earth opened up and swallowed them! It just goes to show that when 'me' gets in the way of what our true focus should be, the outcome may not be to get what we really wanted! We also know from the record of the lineage of Korah, that his family line was numbered among the Levites (those that kept the temple in order). They were the door-keepers of the temple and were responsible to help carry the articles contained within the temple from place to place as Israel wandered in the wilderness. When they were not on the move, they stood at the threshold of the temple in their duties of service. As the temple became a permanent structure in the city of Jerusalem, we find their names recorded as men who were charged with the responsibility of setting prophesy and praise to song, along with melody from musical instruments. Today, we'd think of them as the men that "open the service in praise and worship" - worship leaders. If we consider their "station" in the temple, they are the ones who provide the way into the holy presence of God through praise and worship - a long way from the rebellion of their forefather.

There is importance in speaking the name of God. We are told that it invokes praise and worship where it is spoken. Why is this? There is power in the name of God - creative, restorative power that just beckons one to cry out in praise. We may not always see the immediate effect of his name being spoken, but there is a power so intense in that name that all of heaven and earth sits at attention when it is spoken. It is by that name that all things are held together - even us - think on that one for just a moment. Praise is the "pondering" of God's movement in our lives. It is the frequent and consistent consideration of the keeping, strengthening, delivering power of our God. When we become less focused on ourselves, and more focused on honoring God with every word that proceeds from our mouths, we open doors. We may not have the "job" of being the door-keepers in the temple of our God, but we do have a similar opportunity in opening doors for a hungry and thirsty world. We need only begin to speak of God's graces and someone who is hurting can be drawn into the presence of the one who can minister to that specific hurt. In the exalting of the name of God, they are ushered into the arms that are filled with all goodness in action - all the grace they need awaits them.

If you want to learn how to be a "ponderer" of God's graces and his goodness, God honors that desire with his presence. If you want to learn to express the wonder of his love even better than you have in the past, he will meet you in the moment of your praise. So, praise on! There is nothing wrong with opening a few doors, when those doors lead into the presence of God. We don't want to become so 'me' focused that what we encounter is our pride and rebellion. We will do much better by allowing God's presence to wash over us, turning our eyes again toward him, and seeing just how magnificent his presence is for those who stop long enough to 'ponder' him. Just sayin!