Stale religion or joyous relationship?

If you won’t praise God for what He is doing, He will find someone or something else to do it.

April 19

He replied, “If they kept quiet, the stones along the road would burst into cheers!”

Luke 19:40

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Stale religion or joyous relationship?

The backdrop of today’s verse is what is known as the Triumphal Entry.  Jesus is riding into Jerusalem on the exact date that it was prophesied the Messiah would arrive.  The crowd around him starts laying out their coats and palm leaves in the road ahead of Jesus and they begin to shout and sing praises to God and declare His mighty works.

They create such a stir that a great multitude begins to gather.  Some Pharisees are there, and they tell Jesus to rebuke the crowd.  The reason they want Jesus to rebuke the crowd is because the things the crowd are doing and saying have been attributed in the Scriptures to the arrival of the Messiah.  By telling Jesus to rebuke His followers they are stating their unbelief in Jesus as the Messiah.  It seems strange to me that some of the most difficult people to reach are the very religious ones.

Jesus, in our verse for the day, told the Pharisees that He would not rebuke His followers.  He told them the very stones on the side of the road would cry out in their place if the people were to keep quiet.  Jesus is making a profound statement to the religious Pharisees that the people around them are seeing something about the kingdom of God that the Pharisees are missing.

As we grow in our faith, we must be so careful not to fall into the same trap the Pharisees did.  They came to trust in their religion more than they did in their relationship to God.  It could be that their religion was all they had of God.  We must never allow religion to interfere with our relationship with God.  One of the ways that we can do that is through praise and worship.  The crowds sense a powerful spiritual event taking place and they spontaneously break out in praise of God.  We need to be more willing to do that.  Look around you for the mighty works of God and then praise Him for them.  And this praise should be public and natural.

God will be praised!  He is worthy of all praise.  He created us to be one of the main producers of praise for Him in the world.  As He reveals Himself to the world, He is looking for a response from His people.  That response draws the attention of the rest of the world to what God is doing.  If you won’t praise God for what He is doing, He will find someone or something else to do it.  It would be a great embarrassment to me to have a stone cry out to God in my place because I refused to acknowledge that my God is working in the universe.

If you find worship and praise difficult it could be a sign that you are too religious.  Your heart is bound by the conventions of a religion that may have been created to draw you closer to God but has changed into a prison that binds your relationship with God.  Pure worship will offend the ‘Pharisees’ of the world.  Don’t let that stop you from letting the Spirit lead you to cry out to God.  Jesus, teach us to worship you with every bit of ourselves.

Daily Bible Reading:
Read: Joshua 19:1-20:9; Luke 19:28-48; Psalm 88:1-18; Proverbs 13:12-14

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