By Brooke Holt
“Sing praises to the Lord, for he has done gloriously; let this be made known in all the earth. Shout, and sing for joy, O inhabitant of Zion, for great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel.” (Isaiah 12:5)
I must make a confession right here at the beginning of this devotion. For years, I was concerned about an eternity in heaven. It wasn’t that I didn’t believe in God or want to see him or be with him. It was that I could not fathom an eternal worship service. As a child and even a young adult, I did not enjoy church or the act of worship, so the thought of eternal worship did not excite my soul.
As he addresses the nation of Israel, Isaiah does not suffer from a misconception of heaven and eternal worship like I once did. Isaiah continually calls himself and others to worship the Lord. It flowed from him, consumed him, and provoked him to admonish others to shout, sing, and praise God with their whole beings. Why was worship so compelling to Isaiah? Read his words again: “for great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel” (Isaiah 12:5). Isaiah recognized God’s infinite glory, his goodness, and the joy of his presence. Isaiah delighted in God’s presence so much that he couldn’t help but praise, shout, and sing to the Lord.
What about you? Are you like Isaiah or more like me in my younger years? Do you set aside time daily to worship the Lord, offer yourself before him, and recognize his presence? Then, do you prioritize coming together as the body of Christ to worship the Lord corporately? Do you find joy in the communion of the saints as you bring your heart, mind, and spirit before him? Does the love of the Lord consume you so that you cannot help but praise, shout, and sing?
No one would answer these questions affirmatively all the time. However, we are made to worship the Lord, the King of all kings, the glorious one in our midst. When we neglect worship, lives get out of order. Priorities get out of whack, and we do not fulfill our God-given roles in this world.
Isaiah called his people back to worship, back to recognizing the majesty of their King, back to surrendering their lives to him alone and leaving behind their lives of carnality and secularism. Through the prophet Isaiah, the Lord calls you to do the same. This world is seductive and draws God’s people out of the act of worship. Today, 40 to 60 percent of Americans have not returned to their home churches since COVID. Why? They have fallen out of the love and discipline to offer themselves to God in worship.
Sadly, as hearts fall away from worship, they get hardened and complacent toward the Lord. Heed the words of Isaiah today and check your heart towards worship of the Lord. If you have fallen away, turn back to him. Recognize how “great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel” (12:5), and worship him with a renewed heart and spirit.
How is your heart towards worship of the Lord? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
Face the Dawn: Advent is like celebrating a national holiday in a foreign land — like observing the 4th of July as an expatriate. Locals do not understand the fuss. Advent is equal parts cherishing and missing home. AND it’s a mix of loving this world while getting ready to leave it behind. This makes Advent the most human and most complex celebration we have. Isaiah the prophet, David the psalmist, Paul the apostle, John the Baptist, Mary, Joseph, and Jesus all lived in one world and longed for the next. They loved this world and loved the world to come even more. In these 28 devotions in Face the Dawn, join them in wearing the paradox of Christianity- this world may be our home, but that world is HOME.
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