When you yell at the top of your lungs, people pay attention. It is loud. It is usually uninhibited. When I think of someone screaming at the top of their lungs, I consider two things: screaming in delight after receiving some great news or screaming in fear when in danger. These moments are typically moments we do not forget.
When all of Judah and Jerusalem followed Jehoshaphat’s actions, worshiping God together, the Bible says that the Levites were on their feet praising God. How did they praise Him? They praised God “at the top of their lungs.”
This reminds me of my car rides when I have the windows down and I am in the middle of uninhibited worship. I am praising God. I have one hand off the steering wheel raised (which is a no no). I get loud but I don’t care. Once I was even yelled at by a young boy to quiet down. But I kept praising Him for He alone deserves honor and glory and praise. Today I challenge you to get out of your comfort zone. Praise God at the top of your lungs. Aren’t you delighted by Him? Let us jump to our feet and shout! Thank you Lord! Praise you Lord!
“Then Jehoshaphat knelt down, bowing with his face to the ground. All Judah and Jerusalem did the same, worshiping God. The Levites (both Kohathites and Korahites) stood to their feet to praise God, the God of Israel; they praised at the top of their lungs!”
-2 Chronicles 20:18-19 [MSG]
When you give someone a compliment or when a person gets a promotion, there is always a reaction—a response that gives us a glimpse of the heart. Proverbs 27 says that “a person is tested by being praised.” Tested for what? For humility.
I have noticed that people fall into different groups. There are some people who enjoy praise a little too much and they become proud. There are some people who do not accept compliments or praise well at all because they have low self confidence. Then there are those who say “thank you” and point to Christ—they say that it is because of God that this success has come their way.
How do you act when you receive praise? Do you collect it all and beam with pride? Do you deny the praise all together, not thinking that it was a great thing? Or do you recognize the great things God is doing in your life and let people know it is because God has been doing a great work in you?
“Fire tests the purity of silver and gold, but a person is tested by being praised.” – Proverbs 27:21 [NLT]
The other morning when I woke up, I could not yet see because it was rather dark. I ended up walking right into the corner of the door (which had slightly closed through the night) and I hurt my toe. This was not the first time this happened, but last time my head took the brunt of the injury. I am always a bit of a klutz. Sadly, you have to really pay attention when walking in the town I live because there are many pavements that are not smooth and it is easy to trip. I found that out long ago and have some scars for proof.
Today’s verse declares that those people who have integrity “walk safely” while those who do not “slip and fall.” A person with integrity is honest. A person with integrity lives with strong moral principles. Honor. Good character. These things can be said of a person with integrity. If a person is full of lies, or even one big lie, they eventually “slip and fall.” The truth always comes out. But a man with integrity always will “walk safely” because there is no way for him to fall. He’s already living in the truth.
We all can name a person who fell, a person who was found to be involved in a bad situation, a crime, a scandal, etc. We remember how they all fell. We also can remember how we have fallen at times. Thankfully we have a Father who has forgiven us of all the crooked paths we have taken in life. We simply need to believe in Him and walk with Him with integrity. It will be a safe walk—the safest walk!
“People with integrity walk safely, but those who follow crooked paths will slip and fall.” – Proverbs 10:9 [NLT]
The best part of everything that was discussed in this Proverb is making reference to the first of the harvest. Yet we could actually look at all areas of our lives and consider this “best part of everything.” It can really put things in perspective for a person when reflecting upon things with this phrase. There is no better than the best. The best part of everything—that means every single thing.
So do you give God the best of your time? Do you give God the best of your talents? Do you give God the best of your work? Do you give God the best of your relationships? Do you give God the best of your finances? Every single thing. The best part.
Today evaluate how well you honor the Lord. Where are you giving your best? Where can there be improvements? How can you do more to honor the Lord?
“Honor the LORD with your wealth and with the best part of everything you produce.” – Proverbs 3:9 [NLT]
When we are babies, we are focused only on ourselves. When we get older, we start saying things are “MINE.” There comes a time in life when we will start agreeing that everything is from God – that He created everything, that He gave us everything. We thank Him for His provision. We thank Him for providing all we need. For some of us, this we learn in Sunday School; for others, it is something we learn later in life.
As David delivers this prayer, praising God and saying, “But who am I?” we should consider this as well. We live in a culture that expects things; we say, “I am ENTITLED” or “I have RIGHTS.” David recognized, whether he was hiding out from Saul or whether he was gathering materials for Solomon to one day build the Temple, that God created everything and God gave us everything.
We need to remind ourselves of this daily. We need to remember that everything came from God. We need to also remember that everything we give, we were given by God. It was never ours. Remind yourself today—“It all belongs to (God).” Let us continue to praise Him for Who He is and give Him the honor that He alone deserves.
“But who am I, and who are my people, that we could give anything to you? Everything we have has come from you, and we give you only what you first gave us! O LORD our God, even this material we have gathered to build a Temple to honor your holy name comes from you! It all belongs to you!” – 1 Chronicles 29:14, 16 [NLT]
A big question stood out when I was reading Numbers 16 and the account of Korah’s greed. Does it seem insignificant to you? What a question for us to consider in life. Here Korah and others were aligned together with their selfishness fueling the way. God had given them great positions and blessed them well. All of this blessing was overlooked because they had eyes on Moses’ and Aaron’s calling. Why were they any different than these two men? Why could they not have the same honor? That’s what this group wanted to know. They questioned God’s judgment and were driven by greed.
In response to Korah’s great rebellion, Moses asks this question: “Does it seem insignificant to you…” Korah was chosen to serve the Lord in a way that required them to be near to the Lord. They had a very special position and yet they neglected to see the beauty of that calling upon their lives because they were too focused on Moses and Aaron. This hasn’t ended with Korah’s rebellion. It continues today. Did you ever find yourself looking around asking why God used someone it such a way while you were used so differently?
Remember something—we each have a special role to play in the Kingdom. God has designed us each to do great works through Him. Look at what God is doing in your life. Look at the special calling He has just for you. Does it seem insignificant to you? If it does, you aren’t serving the Lord; you’re serving yourself.
“Does it seem insignificant to you that the God of Israel has chosen you from among all the community of Israel to be near him so you can serve in the LORD’s Tabernacle and stand before the people to minister to them?” – Numbers 16:9 [NLT]
There were different offerings given to the Lord including the Grain Offering. The Grain Offering was to show honor to God. Recently when I was reading Leviticus 2, I read about what was involved with the Grain Offering. There was choice flour, olive oil, and frankincense. But there was something else. Something else was added to the Grain Offering. Salt.
The salt was used to season the Grain Offering. That might sound strange to us because we think of salt as a seasoning for food that we will eat. Why would a person salt an offering that was going to be given to God? This salt was to remind the people of God’s covenant with them. Salt symbolized preservation. Salt symbolized healing. God offers us preservation and healing. This salt reminded people that God was active in their lives. He was active and he was offering preservation and healing and restoration.
Today we are still offered preservation and healing and restoration through Christ. Like salt, God can penetrate our lives and preserve them. He can offer us healing. He can offer us eternal preservation. But have you added the salt? Have you allowed God to penetrate your life? Are you allowing Him to be active in your life?
“Season all your grain offerings with salt to remind you of God’s eternal covenant. Never forget to add salt to your grain offerings.” – Leviticus 2:13 [NLT]
“You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being.” – Revelation 4:11 [NIV]
Recently, as we were sitting in church awaiting the start of the morning worship service, my daughter was looking at the church bulletin. She saw the names of those who were serving that week listed on the last page and she said, “Mom, isn’t that so cool that your name is there?” Then she circled my name. Although recognition is important, those who serve cannot be given the most recognition—attention should be on Jesus. It is to Him we must always point. I took my pen, crossed out the names on the bulletin and wrote, “Jesus,” in large letters. Then I reminded her that we were there for Him, not for our own glory. That with everything we do, it’s all about Him. It’s all for God’s glory.
Too often we can get caught up with the recognition game. We start to get acknowledged for some great thing we did. It feels good. Our hard work paid off. Our time and dedication have been noticed. People are paying us honor for our achievements. I am not against a pat on the back, an award, a gift card, a name on a paper. What I do see as a problem is when we start to live for our name to be in the spotlight. It is a problem when we aim to get attention, and we do something so as to have eyes on us instead of on Jesus. It is a problem when it becomes all about us.
Today, remind yourself that everything you do is for God’s glory. Is there an area of your life when you are trying to stand out? Are you standing out for yourself or to promote the Gospel? Is there something that God has done for you, but you have taken the credit? Let us give God the glory He alone deserves. No one can take His glory—it is His.
“They exchanged their glorious God for an image of a bull, which eats grass.” – Psalm 106:20 [NIV]
I get very sad when I read today’s verse because it mentions something so horrible. To think that the Israelites exchanged God for some man created image to worship instead of worshiping the one true God, our Creator, our Sustainer, our Redeemer. It’s sad.
Sadly, we are all guilty of this too. At one time or another, we have exchanged God for something else that came first in life. Perhaps it was a job, a relationship, money or pleasure. The list is endless. We are all guilty.
Today look at where you are currently at with your relationship with God. Is He number one or is something else first on your list? Where are you spending your money? Where are you giving your time? What means most to you? You don’t lose out by having God first in your life—you’re richly blessed. Are you focused on your glorious God, or is there a grass eating bull in your life?