Repentance And Worship


“But no, My people wouldn’t listen. Israel did not want Me around. So I let them follow their own stubborn desires, living according to their own ideas.” 
~Psalm 81;11-12, NLT


Not only does our life with Christ begin with repentance, it continues and progresses with the very same practice of repentance.
~Stephen J. Lawson
Kaley Greer

Psalm 81 is a THANKSGIVING HYMN used in congregational worship at the FEAST OF TABERNACLES.  This festival was celebrated in the fall. It was an eight-day festival beginning on the 15th of Tishri {Sept-Oct} and ended on the 22nd. It had a three-fold purpose: [1] It was a reminder of God providential care for Israel during her wilderness journey; [2] It was an expression of thanksgiving for God’s provision for the year and [3] It was the grand climax or finale of the Jewish festivals. It would be comparable to our THANKSGIVING DAY. It was celebrated with joyful worship: They sang praises, beat the tambourines, played instruments {lyre, harp} and blew horns. I understand that the Jews are obstinate and obnoxious people who have always been unpopular in this world but they know how to worship. Can you imagine King David in a Church of Christ worship service? I can’t either. He would have a difficult time in Baptist churches. We have worked for years to make our worship a celebration but we still have a ways to go.

As a part of the celebration, a priest or prophet would bring a message and in this Psalm, the message begins with verse 8. The message in Psalm 81 is very clear and simple: the Israelites expected God to listen to them {in worship and prayer} but they were not listening to God. Why would God listen to us when we don’t listen to Him. I was talking to an old friend just yesterday and she told me about a 7 hour conversation on the phone. Seven hours on the phone; I get a headache just thinking about it. Have you ever been engaged in conversation and you realized a few minutes in that the person you are conversing with is not listening to anything you say because they are so intent on speaking themselves. It is called a one-way conversation and it gets old fast. Whether we are conscious of it or not, we develop an intolerance to one-way conversations and eventually, we stop listening.

The ultimate result of Israel’s refusal to listen is that God gave them over to their fleshly ways or devices…“But no, my people wouldn’t listen. Israel did not want me around. So I let them follow their own stubborn desires, living according to their own ideas.” The Hebrew word translated ‘ideas’ in the NLT can also be translated counsel, plan, principal, devices or purposes. Device here means a plan, scheme, or trick with a particular aim. Instead of repenting and doing things God’s way, the Jews opted to follow their own schemes which obviously they thought would be more productive than God’s plan. In this area Satan excels as a deceiver and the Jews were deceived big time. God provided in the wilderness with manna and water but He was ready to give them wheat and honey. Manna and water are needs for survival but wheat and honey symbolizes abundance and sweetness. Can you imagine where Israel would be today had they been obedient to God? God ‘s way is always better than ours. We would jump at his will if we had His foreknowledge.

The word repentance is not in the Psalm but it is implied. Israel would have to repent of their stubborn pride before they could listen and they refused to repent. I agree with Lawson’s quote and so did my Father in the ministry, Calvin C. Inman. A person who has no spirit of repentance has never had an initial experience of repentance. This is why pastors are encouraged to see members walk the aisle and kneel at the altar. The last time I preached at DBC, one of our Trustees was the first to the altar. I never worry about this man’s salvation but there are those who I do worry about because in 38 years I have never seen any fruits of repentance, never seen them bow at the altar unless they were coerced and even on some of those occasions I could feel the resentment from their spirit of pride and rebellion. Folks, we sin everyday and we need to repent everyday. The spirit of repentance is an evidence of salvation. If you don’t have the contrite spirit of repentance, you need to be concerned.

  • I think last Saturday, August 12, was the first anniversary of our great niece Kaley’s tragic accident. I know it has been a very difficult year for her sweet mom Elizabeth, her tender hearted dad Paul and her big brother John Paul. I woke up early Saturday morning thinking about them and didn’t even realize why until later in the day when June mentions it had been a year to the day. I am going to dedicate the rest of the August blogs to Kaley.
  • I don’t mention my mentor enough: Calvin C. Inman who was promoted on the last day of 2012 I think. I lose track of the years. His precious wife, Mrs. Lucille Inman is still living just North of Sardis Springs. She is in remarkable health to be 88. She gets the DIGEST and reads the blog occasionally. I will never be able to repay the Inmans for the kindness they have shown me.
  • Had something wonderful happen last night. Rickey and Janet carried me to Ed’s old barn and showed me the tractor they are giving me. That’s right, it is a gift. I am thrilled. It is an answer to prayer. I don’t think I’ve ever had anything like this happen to me before: I shed some tears of joy. This was a unanimous decision by all of Ed and Ruth’s children. I am blown away! That you kids.
  • Mrs. Jewel Roberts is in Decatur Morgan Hospital {Decatur General}. She will be having some test today. Should get to come home late this evening.

Hollywood Heroes of Yester-year

A subtile reminder that Hollywood is not what it use to be!

These men served in the Army Air Corp which I assume is the Air Force and most of them are vets of WWII. Bronson was wounded in battle. Steward reached the rank of General. William Conrad was a fighter pilot.

General Jimmy Stewart
Clark Gable
Charles Bronson
William Holden
William Conrad
Walter Matthau
Russel Johnson
Peter Graves
Karl Malden
Gene Autry
Jack Palace
Deforest Kelly

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