All Creation Does Its Part

Yesterday and today, the psalmist has been beating a very repetitive drum.  Psalm 147 & 148 both call for God's people to praise Him but he also calls on creation to join in and do its part.  The psalmist calls on stars, snow, sun, moon, water, mountains, kings & princes, beasts & cattle, creeping things and so much more to praise the Lord!!  Many believers simply assign 'praise' to Sunday morning worship services. But when the Scripture calls on God's people (or creation) to praise Him, He is referring to more than a Sunday morning experience. 

So we need to ask ourselves, "What does praising the Lord look like for 'hail'"?  Yes, 'hail' is called on to praise Him!  (Ps. 148:8) Texas sees its share of hail, as Dallas roofs will attest, but people do not normally communicate their appreciation for this part of creation.  Yet, hail can praise the Lord...but how?  By 'fulfilling His word' (Ps. 148:8).  Praise or worship is something that occurs when created 'things' fulfill their created purpose.  When creation does what the Lord has created it to do, He receives praise!  

What is your purpose?  Why has He created you and to what purpose are you called?  Jesus said, "By this is my Father glorified (praised/worshiped) that you bear much fruit" (Jn. 15:8).  Your calling is to praise your heavenly Father.  You do this not simply by singing between the hours of 9am and Noon on Sunday mornings but by 'fulfilling His word.'  Find your purpose and praise Him with your life!  

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You'll Become Like Your Idol

Azariah was 16 years old (!) when he became king of Judah. Today's text states that 'he did right in the eyes of the Lord' but failed on one important front. It seems he allowed the 'high places,' those places where other gods would be worshiped, to remain in place.  As a consequence, the Lord caused him to be leprous until the day he died, living separately and having his son administrate his kingdom.

Many of the kings of Israel and Judah failed because their reigns and their lives were characterized by the 'sins of Jeroboam.'  Jeroboam, king of Israel, reigned as the nation was first divided. And, because the Temple was outside his kingdom, he was fearful that as the people made their pilgrimage to Jerusalem their hearts would return to the king of Judah. So he built places for them to worship and sacrifice within the borders of his kingdom. They no longer would need to, or be allowed to, travel to the Temple to worship. His fear led to increased and encouraged idolatry and it brought the wrath Lord.

Idolatry is nothing new and is something that should cause concern. Idolatry is even the focus of today's New Testament reading as the Ephesians were rioting because so many were turning to the Lord and away from Artemis, their local deity.  Here is a warning in the form of a question:  what do you love more than the Lord? Do not allow idolatry to take root in your heart or your surroundings. The punishment to Azariah was leprosy...a deadening of the nerves so you cannot feel. And a 'failure to feel' will lead to all sorts of bad decisions, devastated relationships and missed opportunities.

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