Monday, July 29, 2013



Nearly every fast food restaurant today has a "Value Meal". 
These menus contain items that do not cost much, with a wide selection of choices for every taste. Although it's nutritional content may be limited, the menu is designed for people who feel hungry but do not want to spend much time or money on food. Spiritually, are we "Value Meal Christian"? We feel hungry, but in a hurry to get somewhere else, choose only quick bite of so called worship that does not cost much. As a result  of our choice, we often become spiritually weak and under nourished.
What can we do? We need to derive our patterns and practices of worship - all of them - from teaching and examples in God's Word. We must compile the examples and the plain instruction of Scripture and then determine the most reverent way to express our love, thanksgiving, and devotion to God. When our worship is based on the fact of God's Word, then we have a foundation to stand upon even when our feelings fluctuate.

The first recorded example of worship in the Bible is that of Abel and Cain. the second that of Noah.
In Genesis 8:20 we read that Noah walked out of the ark, built an altar, and worshiped God. Why? The Bible does not give a specific reason for Noah's action. But common sense dictates that Noah's immediate circumstances instilled the fear of God in him. He had just survived the greatest cataclysm in the history of mankind. He had been through an amazing sequence of events that left an indelible image of God's power stamped on his mind. Many years earlier, God had revealed to this man His will about the flood of destruction, the ark, and the salvation of his family. He spent much of his life building a structure that made no sense to him or to his incredulous neighbors. But obeyed God's Word as the writer of Hebrews recorded that:
"By faith Noah, being divinely warned of things not yet seen, moved with godly fear, prepared an ark for the saving of his household, by which he condemned the world and became heir of righteousness which is according to faith." (Hebrews 11:7)
This man of faith must have marveled when it came time to load up the ark. Where did the animals come from? How did they know that they should come to the ark? How did they know where the ark was? apparently, God brought the animals to Noah. Then over the next few months Noah witnessed with his five senses the absolute destruction of all life forms from the entire earth. It was phenomenal! Mind-boggling!
Noah was right to fear God in response to this display of power. Yet Noah had respected God even before God had fully demonstrated His power. From the onset, Noah had done all that God commanded Him (Genesis 7:5), even though men must have have ridiculed and resisted him. While the scoffers jeered, Noah trusted God. Noah completed God's will because he feared God instead of man. As a result of his fear of God, he saw the mass destruction that befell his accusers and he experienced God's hand of deliverance. What did Noah see when he walked out of the ark? How did Noah feel? It is no wonder that he feared God.

Noah worshiped God because he feared God. The Genesis story indicates that the first thing Noah did when he walked out of the ark was to build an altar to the Lord. But noticed that there is no indication that God commanded Noah to build an altar and make a sacrifice.
"So Noah went out, and ... built an altar to the LORD, and took of every clean animal and of every clean bird, and offered burnt offerings on the altar." (Genesis 8:18-20)
Why was the building an altar was Noah's first act upon leaving the ark? Was he following a religious tradition that he believed was expected of him? No, the most reasonable explanation is that Noah, having been delivered from certain destruction, was motivated to worship God by a sincere desire. This explanation is especially probable in light of "clean" animal and every kind of "clean" bird. That statement is an interesting one. Not until hundreds of years later, in the time of Moses, did God incorporate into Israel's sacrificial system a distinction between clean and unclean animals. 
Remembering that Noah took on to the ark two of each kind of unclean animal, but seven of each clean animal. It seems likely that the term "clean animals" is a reference  to those animals that could be domesticated herds. Therefore, when God commanded Noah to take extra number of clean animals, it seems He was preparing to sustain Noah's family with those animals after the flood.  The next chapter, of the Bible contains God's command that allowed the eating of animals for the first time. So although the clean animals played a vital role in the sustaining of his family, Noah gladly sacrificed them in the process of worshiping God.
His example stands in stark contrast to the practice of our own day, when so many Christians prefer worship of convenience, worship that meets their needs but demand nothing from them. It is at this point that "Value-Meal Christianity" may be at odds with the example of Noah.  
Noah worshiped out of a HEART that feared the awesome power of God and was thankful for deliverance from destruction. Then he demonstrated his attitude through worship in which he sacrificed something of himself. Are we doing the same in our own worship?  

The fact that God was satisfied with Noah's sacrifice unfolds a picture of His grace. The account of Noah's sacrifice states that it pleases God, for "the Lord smelled a soothing aroma" (Genesis 8:21). It speaks of the whole person of Noah that was involved in worship. God saw the evidence of Noah's HEART of OBEDIENCE all through his experience with the ark.  He saw Noah's fear. He heard Noah's prayers. And God was pleased. He accepted this expression of worship. 
That wonderful grace of God must undergird our worship. If Noah had not experienced God's grace, he would not have been able to give Him true worship. Noah's life and practice teach us a very important truth. When we attempt to live for God, to serve and worship Him, without applying His grace to our lives, our efforts result in worship that is not pleasing to God. (an extract from True Worship by David Whitcomb and Mark Ward)

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