Isaiah called out oppression and the mistreatment of the poor. There is a definite theme of repentance that runs throughout the entire book of Isaiah. God is calling out the unrighteous, the oppressors, and those who mistreat their neighbors. In chapter 66, God is saying what Jesus often repeated–that sacrifices are an abomination to God if the hearts are corrupt.
God says, “I also will choose harsh treatment for them and bring their fears upon them, because when I called, no one answered, when I spoke, they did not listen; but they did what was evil in my eyes and chose that in which I did not delight” (Isaiah 66:4 ESV).
God reminds the people that He is the one who made the heavens and earth, and that the earth is his footstool. Our destiny is in God’s hands. He also reminds us that being humble, ashamed of our sins, and faithful to his word will get his eye: “All these things my hand has made, and so all these things came to be, declares the Lord. But this is the one to whom I will look: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word” (Isaiah 66:2).
Jesus Christ had the same message. He preached repentance and called people to humble themselves. When people are humble and contrite, God looks upon them. The Lord is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love!
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We began summer singing camp this week. It’s not just because we want to have fun singing, but there is a deeper biblical reason. God created us to sing and enjoy song! As part of his infinite wisdom, He created us to express our love for Him and each other in the form of song. Last week we talked about the difference between improvising music and improving it. We should be constantly improving our music. Music doesn’t just happen. We have to learn, practice, and grow. Just like with every other walk of our Christian faith.
We mature and grow by having a steady diet of discipline. And the really neat thing is that the Bible is clear about the excitement we should have in our worship of praise! Psalm 150:6 says, “Let everything that has breath praise the Lord! Praise the Lord!” Isn’t that inspiring? We were created to give praise to God with our lips.
Song is one of the most beautiful forms of expression of our praise and adoration. We need to continue to instruct, practice, and grow in our ability to sing out in praise!
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Improvise: To make, invent, or arrange offhand
Improve: To enhance in value or quality: make better
Next week we will be hosting a summer singing camp at church. As an a capella church, it’s especially important to learn and practice music. We understand this when it comes to preaching. We send our preachers off to schools of preaching, college, graduate school, or even all of the above. No church would hire an untrained, unprepared preacher who improvised each sermon. A synonym for improvise is “to fake.”
Are you someone who improvises or do you improve? The Bible talks a lot about training, running the race, being disciplined, etc. Never does it say to just wing it, fly by the seat of your pants, or just hope that things improve. To the contrary, Christians are commanded to be disciplined, ready for action, and to be unified.
Music is an important (and highly enjoyable!) part of our worship. Did you know that in ancient Israel the musicians were on duty 24/7 and were not to perform any other duty? 1 Chronicle 9:33 says, “Now these, the singers, the heads of fathers’ houses of the Levites, were in the chambers of the temple free from other service, for they were on duty day and night.”
Music was always a vital part of worship. Jesus sung the Psalms with his disciples. Many of our songs come from the Psalms. The Israelites did not improvise when they sang. They worked to improve. They rehearsed songs every day. Music was a discipline. We have been given a wonderful gift of song by God our Creator! We are excited to learn, practice, and grow.
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