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27th October 2013
Have you ever been to a football match? I'm a Liverpool fan and, let me tell you, the atmosphere at Anfield when my team is playing at home is electric! But picture two million Israelites celebrating that their God has just rescued them from the tyranny of the Egyptians by parting the Red Sea! PARTING THE SEA! What must that celebration have looked like? Imagine the atmosphere there!
When we read 'the song of Moses and Israel' in Exodus 15, we witness the exuberant praise that comes from being rescued by God and knowing His power, provision and protection. Just as the chanters at a football match declare their team's supremacy and taunt the other team, so the people of God declare His wonders, remind both ourselves and 'the opposition' that He is King over all.
It's easy to do this when we feel like we're 'winning' – when life is going well and we are feeling good – but what happens when we're facing tough times, when life is difficult and joy seems hard to find?
The Israelites made a decision, an active choice, and so can we. Their song started: "I will sing…" and went on: "I will praise… I will exalt…" When we don't feel like worshipping and praising, we need to firstly remind ourselves of who God is and what He has done for us – we have been rescued from the slavery of sin, ransomed, chosen, forgiven, accepted, welcomed, all our guilt and shame has been removed, death has been defeated and we will enjoy eternal life with Jesus! So this is why we sing!
But, let's face it, we can easily be distracted, either by emotions, our preferences not being met, or just by our minds wandering. The reality is that in the same meeting some of us will be gazing into Heaven while others are gazing into space!
We need to prepare our hearts for worship; make that active choice, the "I will" decision. We mustn't just stand there and wait for something to happen. When we push through the distractions and choose to focus our hearts and minds on God, He promises to come near to us (James 4:8). We need to form a habit of deciding to worship God, regardless of how we feel on any given day or the distractions that are vying for our attention.
If you're finding it difficult to worship and praise God, look again at His greatness and all that He has done for you. Focus on Him rather than on yourself, your circumstances or those around you. Lift your head, lift your eyes and praise the One who never changes, who always loves you, always has fresh grace and mercy for you – the One who died for you and gave you new life! He is so worthy of all the worship and praise we can bring!
To download the sermon and life application PDF, click here.
Posted by Santino Hamberis