Digging in Deeper: Zechariah 7:2-5

“Now the people of Bethel had sent Sharezer, Regem-melech, and their men to plead for the Lord’s favor by asking the priests who were at the house of the Lord of Armies as well as the prophets, ‘Should we mourn and fast in the fifth month as we have done these many years?’ Then the word of the Lord of Armies came to me: ‘Ask all the people of the land and the priests: When you fasted and lamented in the fifth and in the seventh months for these seventy years, did you really fast for me?’”‬‬ (CSB – Read the chapter)

Have you ever done something for someone a long time only to later discover they either had never noticed or didn’t want you doing it the whole time? That would be a frustrating experience to say the least. But, what if some point early on in your efforts, the other person had communicated her position to you in some way that you ignored? You ignored it and forgot about it and kept right on doing whatever it was. That changes things, doesn’t it? Now who were you really doing it for? It wasn’t her anymore. You were really doing it for yourself. Well, what if the object of this unwanted affection were to be God?

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Morning Musing: Zephaniah 1:4-5

“I will stretch out my hand against Judah and against all the residents of Jerusalem. I will cut off every vestige of Baal from this place, the names of the pagan priests along with the priests; those who bow in worship on the rooftops to the stars in the sky; those who bow and pledge loyalty to the Lord but also pledge loyalty to Milcom.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

I have some good friends, a married couple, who live in a divided house. What I mean is that one of them cheers for one college team, and the other cheers for their arch rival. Oh, they get along just fine. But when the two teams play each other things are just a little more interesting than usual. The thing about these divided-house situations, though, is that while each partner may tolerate living with fans of their rivals, they don’t usually start actually cheering for them. Instead, they tend to double down on their commitment to their own team…sometimes just to get under the skin of each other. Trying to cheer for each at the same time would just be weird. God agrees…sort of.

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Digging in Deeper: Amos 5:21-24

“I hate, I despise, your feasts! I can’t stand the stench of your solemn assemblies. Even if you offer me your burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them; I will have no regard for your fellowship offerings of fattened cattle. Take away from me the noise of your songs! I will not listen to the music of your harps. But let justice flow like water, and righteousness, like an unfailing stream.”‬‬ (CSB – Read the chapter)

Have you ever received a gift you really didn’t want? I remember playing a big family White Elephant game when I was growing up. I can’t remember exactly what the first gift I opened was, but it was something pretty cool and I was pleased. But then, my uncle used his turn to steal it for my cousin. The second gift I opened was literally a paperweight. I was crushed. I may have gotten a gift, but I most decidedly did not want it. That was a little bit like how God felt about the worship of the Israelites here. He wanted one thing, but they kept giving Him another; and He wasn’t happy about it.

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Digging in Deeper: Matthew 5:23-24

“So if you are offering your gift on the altar, and there you remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled with your brother or sister, and then come and offer your gift.”‬‬ (CSB – Read the chapter)

Have you ever tried to do something while you were distracted? I’m trying to write this while my kids are watching a mid-90s teenybopper sitcom—not so easy. We weren’t made for doing multiple tasks at the same time. Some people may seem to have the ability to multitask, but the truth is that trying to do more than one thing at the same time is just going to result in not doing any of them very well. Rather uncomfortably, this goes for worship as well as life generally.

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Morning Musing: Deuteronomy 4:39

“Today, recognize and keep in mind that the Lord is God in heaven above and on earth below; there is no other.” (CSB – Read the chapter

Idol worship is silly. The idea of bowing down to some statue like that statue could do anything is ridiculous. Even bowing down to a statue like it represents some kind of meaningful power and that power could impact you is laughable. Right? Sure, if you live in a culture where monotheism has been the most fundamental worldview assumption for most of 1500 years. If you don’t, it’s not nearly so laughable as it perhaps seems. And, just because monotheism is one of a culture’s guiding assumptions doesn’t mean that idol worship goes away, it simply changes forms. 

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