Reckless, reverential obedience

Today’s faithful daily read is 1 Chronicles 15 and Revelation 2:8-11

The story of the Ark’s journey to Jerusalem continues in our Chronicles reading today… this time with greater reverence and appropriate care. David summons the Levites and instructs them to consecrate themselves in preparation for bringing up the ark. This time they do it properly, putting their shoulders to work rather than resting the ark on a cart (you may recall, things did not go well last time they tried this). Interestingly, greater reverence here manifests not in a greater depth of feeling but in greater obedience to God’s word . For me, I am reminded that the depth of my love and devotion to God should always manifest in obedience – to do anything less is to flaunt the grace of God.

In the latter half of the chapter we are witness to the sheer exuberance of the procession. We see a myriad of musicians, thousands of Israelites shouting and singing and the ol’ harp and lyre rocking out with ‘loud music’. A veritable cacophony of glorious, celebratory sound! And there is David, dressed resplendently in his underwear, dancing like there was something worth rejoicing. Yes! God dwelling in the midst of his people! David’s response to God is a joyful, heartfelt expression of praise. It makes me wonder if I truly know how to celebrate? In fact, sometimes I find myself identifying more with David’s wife Michal, who is more concerned about how things might appear to others than rejoicing freely for what God has done (2 Sam 6:20-22).

For the Levites, their response was obedience to God’s word, with due reverence and consecration. For David, his response was to rejoice with free abandon. I have no doubt that the Levites rejoiced in their obedience and David was obedient in his rejoicing – I need to remind myself that obedience and rejoicing are not mutually exclusive – in God, obedience IS freedom and absolutely worth rejoicing!

Our reading in Revelation relates to the church in Smyrna. As Al pointed out yesterday the letters to the churches in Revelation typically follow the pattern of commendation, complaint, judgement and promise. EXCEPT here in Smyrna. The Lord Jesus has no complaint against Smyrna. He sees their affliction, their pain, their suffering and knows that some will be imprisoned and martyred! Yet He promises that ‘the one who conquers will not be hurt by the second death’. While we regard martyrdom as an unlikely event here in Australia, many Christians around the world face this possibility (and reality) daily – let us pray that they (and us) would cling to Jesus Christ as saviour beyond death. Romans 8:38-39 states I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
This is indeed reason to celebrate in wild, reverent, unashamed obedience.

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7 thoughts on “Reckless, reverential obedience

  1. Rejoicing and obedience…two excellent reminders Steve. Thanks for these thoughts. Interesting to note that my Greek grandfather was born in Smyrna which is now called Izmir. It was also the birthplace of Aristotle Onassis. I went there back in the early eighties.

  2. Thanks Steve for your reminder. We do take God’s promises for granted at times. When I stop and ponder the magnitude of all that He has done through Jesus, just for me, I want to rejoice and be thankful. I love your last line! May we all celebrate with wild, reverent, unashamed obedience – wow! What a picture!

  3. I wonder how loud it was 🙂 Would love to have been there. I think exuberant praise is really infectious. While I may rejoice in the Lord in my underwear………. don’t expect me to so at Fuse. And all the people said AMEN!

    • Keep your kit on Al. But then again, maybe you can take an item of clothing off for every 10 decibels you turn the sound up! Seriously though, while this passage looks like a proof text for volume, you would have to think about a whole bunch of factors before projecting into sound policy and worship theology. I know that isn’t where you were headed Al (maybe)… I know your chief concern is for appropriate clothing levels 😉

  4. Thank you Steve. My lecturer at college, last semister when teaching to us about how we are to praise God. He said there was 2 things that stopped him from lifting his hands in church as he praised God.

    1. Pride in one hand and
    2. Fear in the other

    and as he came under the Holy Spirits conviction to repent of this he was set free to praise God in a way where he was no longer bound by what others thought of him. He was more interested in what God thought of him. He obeyed the Spirits prompting.

    As we carefully read our bibles we will see that the church in Philadelphia was also spared a rebuke from The Lord.

  5. Hillsong taught me how to do that in my search of more of Him and also of His love for me. Knowing His love enabled me to truly worship forgetting about myself and focusing on Him alone is the freedom He promises to each of us.

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