The Old Men Wept

The Old Men Wept

why do old men weep they weep over loss

Why do old men weep? They weep over loss.

King Cyrus of the Medo-Persian Empire by revelation of God declared the release of the captive Jews to rebuild the temple of the Lord in 536 BC. With the vessels of the temple in hand, an estimated group of less than 50,000 returned to build. In the seventh month of that year, the children of Israel began to again sacrifice to the Lord in Jerusalem. In the second year, they laid the foundation (Ezr 3:11-13):

And they sang one to another in praising and giving thanks unto Jehovah, saying, For he is good, for his lovingkindness endureth for ever toward Israel. And all the people shouted with a great shout, when they praised Jehovah, because the foundation of the house of Jehovah was laid.

But many of the priests and Levites and heads of fathers’ houses, the old men that had seen the first house, when the foundation of this house was laid before their eyes, wept with a loud voice; and many shouted aloud for joy: so that the people could not discern the noise of the shout of joy from the noise of the weeping of the people; for the people shouted with a loud shout, and the noise was heard afar off. “

In this piece of History, we see Israel doing the work they were set free to do. When the foundation of the temple is laid, there is relief and a sense of accomplishment that gives rise to joyful praise of the Lord. Then, a contrast occurs. It is much like the cry of victory on a battlefield coming to the horrific silence and realization of the great loss that has been suffered. Old men who had seen the temple before, begin to weep in a loud voice. They see the temple as did the eyes of Haggai prophesying to the Lord (Haggai 2:3):

“Who is left among you that saw this house in its former glory? and how do ye see it now? is it not in your eyes as nothing?”

The Solomonic Temple covered in Gold, rising twice as high, and more expansive including the ark of the Lord, could never be mistaken for what laid before Israel. The temple build by Zerubabbel and later restructured by Herod would never compare favorably. The old men wept for what had been. They wept for the Spirit of God which abided with the temple. They wept over the corruption that had taken place. They wept because the prior glory of Israel in God, was gone.

Today, there is a gulf among Christian generations which many do not understand. The masses shout joyfully in praise over innovations. They draw crowds with choices of traditional or contemporary worship. They lure the world to congregational assemblies with children’s church, community meals, drama, waves of emotion, youth ministers, grandiose presentations, and a come as you are atmosphere with sermonic words that are designed to tickle ears and fill pews. The air is like that of a community picnic or social club. The focus is the comfort and pleasing of man. And the old men weep. They weep over the days when families came in reverence to worship. They weep remembering open Bibles, deep lessons, respectful and modest dress, children worshipping with parents, voices raised in song where God was the audience, and the gospel of Christ was the motivation that humbly brought them. The weep over the memory of families taking care of the social and the gathering of the Church to worship focused on the spiritual.

The Temple which Solomon built, could never be nor will ever be brought back. The men of Israel wept. Christians now weeping over the Church that Christ established can bring back what once was and should be.

Romans 12:2 – “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”

Deuteronomy 5:32 Ye shall observe to do therefore as Jehovah your God hath commanded you: ye shall not turn aside to the right hand or to the left.

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Praise Worship

Should We Have “Praise Worship”?

is a praise team just another gimmick

Is a Praise Team Just Another Gimmick?

How do you address this new “praise worship” in the church where groups lead in singing during the song service, clap hands, and shout? The reason stated for all of this is for increasing numbers, and meeting the needs of the people in the new millennium, because our traditional worship is boring and not working.

First, to change the way we worship because “our traditional worship is boring and not working” is not a proper attitude to have toward the worship of God. God has defined for us the different avenues of worship within the scriptures. We must worship in action as God has told us to worship (else we are creating a righteousness of our own; Romans 10:1-3) and we must worship in attitude the way God told us to worship: in spirit and in truth (John 4:24). Worship must be based upon knowledge of God’s word and it must be done with the right attitude. So for us to add anything new to the worship of God, and call it worship is to create our own righteousness. Such will not place us in a favorable position with God. Additionally, for us to place things in worship because the “old” way is not meeting needs, is boring or is “not working” is to have the wrong attitude in worship. When we worship, it is all about God, not about self. We worship God because He is worthy of our worship (period) (Psalm 18:3).

Clapping, humming, shouting, and other distracting things are not worshipping God decently and in order. Neither are they authorized in worship to God. We have already noted that we don’t have the right to add to or take away from God’s word. So to add these things would be changing the worship to conform to our own standards of righteousness. The Bible says that when we make music in worship to God it is to be through singing (Eph.5:19; Col.3:16). To sing, one needs to have words or lyrics. Whistling is not singing; humming is not singing; clapping is not singing. Those are all ways that man tries to add his own righteousness to the worship of God. If we do those things, then we are not worshipping according to knowledge and are going about to establish a righteousness of our own (Rom.10:1-3).

Second, there are different styles of worship provided that these styles do not conflict with God’s word. For example, we could have one long 30 minute sermon. Or, we could have three short ten minute lessons broken up with songs and prayers. Those are all decisions that men must make about how we are going to fulfill our obligations to worship. We could have short songs or long songs. We could have sad songs or happy songs. We could have slow songs or fast songs. We can put the Lord’s Supper at the beginning of the service or at the end. We could put it in the middle. The only governing principle that we have for the order of our worship is found in 1 Corinthians 14:40 “Let all things be done decently and in order.” So as long as we are doing these things in a decent and orderly fashion, we have authority to carry out the Lord’s instructions regarding our worship in whatever order we please. These are ways that fulfill the instructions that God has given us to worship.

So here are my concluding thoughts: 1) we first need to make sure that our worship is pleasing to God and not pleasing to self. 2) We must worship in the way that God has taught us to worship. 3) God has taught us to worship him with singing that teaches and admonishes. 4) Clapping, humming, whistling, and instrumental music is not singing and those items don’t teach and admonish. 5) Singing new hymns with different lyrics and rhythms is still singing. 6) Changing the order of worship is also not changing the worship itself. 7) Everything must be done decently and in order.

One last thought. We ought to seek things that will promote unity within the church, not division. There are those who are seeking to impose their own order of things upon the church. Some do this in disregard to what is taught in the scriptures. Such is wrong and sinful. Others, however, do this not necessarily disregarding what the scriptures teach, but in a divisive manner. This is sinful as well. To cause needless division within the church is a sin, whether the things that are suggested are scriptural or not. We must maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace (Ephesians 4:1-5). Here is the final principle to determine whether we are to make scriptural changes in our manner of worshiping God. Are the changes going to promote unity within the body of Christ?

Post Script

Some in the religious world today seek to justify their religious practices based upon the way things were done in the Old Testament. They may use passages such as Psalm 47:1 and Psalm 5:11 to justify such worship practices as clapping. We must also realize that David offered sacrifices of animals in worship to God as well as burnt incense. The fact of the matter is that the things under the Old Testament done in worship to God were shadows (Hebrews 10:1). Such things were abolished according to Ephesians 2:15. Thus, to appeal to the Old Testament as our authority for worship today simply isn’t going to do. We have a better system of worship, a spiritual system which was paid for by the blood of Christ. Others may call upon the Old Testament to justify their religious practices, but such are only going to fall from God’s grace according to Galatians 5:4. Let us do all things as authorized by the New Covenant, the covenant for which Jesus died and shed His blood.

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Hasty Judgment

Do Not Make a Hasty Judgment

are you quick to make a judgment

Are you quick to make a judgment?

A couple arrived at the theater and proceeded to their seats. As they went down the aisle, they arrived at their seats only to find a man sprawled over them. The wife looked at her tickets to confirm that they are indeed at the right place, and said to the man, “Sir, you must be mistaken—these are our seats.” He barely noticed them and grunted in their general direction. She spoke louder with the same words, threatening to get the manager, but to no avail. The couple brought back the manager, who spoke to the man, “Sir, you are in the wrong seats. These seats belong to these customers. Where is your ticket?” The man grunted at the manager with no inclination of moving. The manager threatened him, “If you do not move immediately, I will call the police!” The man did not even stir. The manager left and brought back a police officer, who saw the man sprawled over the respective seats. He bent down and asked the man, “What is your problem?” Finally, the man barely whispered, “My problem is that I fell out of the balcony!”

Often times, we are quick to judge others. Jesus warns us in the Sermon on the Mount,

Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. (Matt. 7:1-2)

Yet, so many people misinterpret and misquote these verses. As the passage continues and the context declares, Jesus is not condemning the act of judging in and of itself, but of hypercritical judging. To state the case in point, in the verses that follow this admonition, Jesus said,

Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you. (Matt. 7:6)

Thus, one would have to make a call of judgment to determine who are considered dogs or swine.

Elsewhere, Jesus also declared, “Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment” (John 7:24). This ought to be the rule of our lives. Far too often, we are quick with our judgment based upon appearance—in such, we are not to be a “respecter of persons” (cf. James 2:1). Rather than being hasty with our judgment, we are to wait for all of the facts. Only then can we make the proper judgment. The inspired wise man Solomon declared,

He that is slow to wrath is of great understanding: but he that is hasty of spirit exalteth folly… Seest thou a man that is hasty in his words? There is more hope of a fool than of him. (Prov. 14:29; 29:20)

Be careful about how you judge!

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