Hezekiah, Josiah, and Nehemiah were three of the greatest leaders ever over God’s people. Each was a prime mover on religious occasions of such a striking nature that those occasions featured God’s people recovering aspects of their worship that had been lost for many years.

Under Hezekiah, the Passover was observed in a manner that had not taken place since the time of Solomon:

2Ch 30:26 So there was great joy in Jerusalem: for since the time of Solomon the son of David king of Israel there was not the like in Jerusalem.

Under Josiah, an even more noteworthy Passover was celebrated that hearkened back to the even earlier days of Samuel:

2Ch 35:18 And there was no passover like to that kept in Israel from the days of Samuel the prophet; neither did all the kings of Israel keep such a passover as Josiah kept, and the priests, and the Levites, and all Judah and Israel that were present, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem.

Under Nehemiah, the people observed the Feast of Booths in a manner that had not been done since the even earlier time yet of Joshua.

Neh 8:17 And all the congregation of them that were come again out of the captivity made booths, and sat under the booths: for since the days of Jeshua the son of Nun unto that day had not the children of Israel done so. And there was very great gladness.

Nehemiah thus recovered something of great value that neither Hezekiah nor Josiah did, even though both Hezekiah and Josiah were great, godly kings.

Interestingly, each of these leaders successively recovered aspects of proper worship that went back to an earlier time than the time of the aspects of worship recovered by those who preceded him.

Let us learn from the examples of these three great Jewish leaders that there may be aspects of proper worship that we need to recover in our day, aspects that hearken back to periods long ago when God’s people rightly worshiped Him in those aspects. Let us also be alert for situations in which we can recover aspects of the true spirituality of God’s people in even greater ways than our predecessors have who similarly recovered aspects of worship that God’s people have not properly observed for many years.

A consistent belief in evolution, natural selection, survival of the fittest, etc. would seem to be possible only for those who believe that there is no God who created all things, etc.

From the standpoint of someone who believes in the survival of the fittest [which is not what I believe], how would so-called racism be wrong since it promotes the idea that some so-called races are better than others?

If you believe that humans in their so-called races evolved to be the way they are, how can you hold that it is wrong for the so-called superior races to do what is the way everything supposedly works (natural selection, etc)?

Disclaimer: I believe what the Bible teaches about God, creation, the Golden Rule, etc and hold that evolution, natural selection, survival of the fittest, superior races, etc. are all false views.

In the entire Bible, there is only one woman who is explicitly called a virtuous woman—Ruth (Ruth 3:11). The glory of her being such a woman provides glorious encouragement for all people in the following way.

When we consider that she was not born into a family that was among the people of God, but was a Moabite (Ruth 1:4) who was born into a family of idolaters (Ruth 1:15), how glorious is it that she yet became a virtuous woman in spite of her heritage, background, upbringing, etc! Ruth is thus a wondrous testimony of what God can do with the life of someone who was not born into highly favorable circumstances but yet came to trust in the true and living God!

Regardless of who you are or what your circumstances in life have been, trust in God and let Him glorify Himself through your life however He sees fit.

Is the use of musical instruments in worship important? Several biblical lines of reasoning provide an answer to this crucial question.

Jewish Use of Musical Instruments in True Worship

Numerous passages of varying types reveal that the use of musical instruments in true worship of the Jews was divinely ordained (Ps. 33:1-3) and divinely accepted (2 Chron. 5:11-14). Such passages make clear that it was essential for God’s people to use musical instruments in worshiping Him.

Pagan Use of Musical Instruments in False Worship

Daniel 3 records a momentous instance of false worship that featured extensive use of musical instruments. In fact, no other passage of Scripture emphasizes the use of musical instruments in worship in quite the same manner as Daniel 3 does.

King Nebuchadnezzar forced people from all the nations that were under his dominion to respond to music as an impetus to false worship of the image that he had erected. No other passage of Scripture documents such an international occasion of false worship that employed what almost certainly was a vast number of musicians playing a vast number of musical instruments.

For reasons that we cannot know, King Nebuchadnezzar deemed it fitting that musical instruments be extensively used for his image to receive the worship that he desired for it to receive on this occasion. Scripture thus reveals to us that the paramount instance of false worship in human history to date involved the use of musical instruments on an unparalleled level in international affairs in human history.

The Divine Mandate for Worldwide Use of Musical Instruments in True Worship

Scripture reveals that God has commanded all peoples of the earth to worship Him using musical instruments:

Psa 98:4 Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all the earth: make a loud noise, and rejoice, and sing praise.

 5 Sing unto the LORD with the harp; with the harp, and the voice of a psalm.

 6 With trumpets and sound of cornet make a joyful noise before the LORD, the King.

Note that these commands were not given only to the Jews nor were these commands an aspect of any of the covenants that God made specifically with them. These commands were not a part of the Law.

All the earth has never obeyed these commands of God. Scripture provides no basis for holding that these commands are no longer the will of God.

Heavenly Use of Musical Instruments in True Worship

Several passages in Revelation teach us that heavenly worship features the use of musical instruments as a prominent aspect of such worship (Rev. 5:8-14; 14:2-3; 15:2-4). We can be certain that such use of musical instruments was not in any way of human origin; the worship of God in heaven has always been and will always be exactly and only what God has ordained.

Because God has given us revelation about the use of musical instruments in heavenly worship, we know that the use of musical instruments in true worship is an essential element of such worship.

Conclusion

God commanded His chosen people, the Jews, to worship Him with the use of musical instruments. He has commanded all the earth to do so.

The paramount instance of idolatrous worship recorded in Scripture included the vast use of instrumental music— how much more must true worship of the living and true God include such use of musical instruments. Revelation about heavenly worship confirms this view about the necessity of using musical instruments in true worship by showing us that musical instruments are central to the worship of God in heaven.

Based on this biblical data, the lack of specific NT mention of or command for such use in worship does not provide any valid basis for holding that we do not need to use musical instruments in our worship today. We must use musical instruments in our corporate worship to give God the glory that is due His name!

In a NT passage that speaks directly about an actual service in a local church, Paul declares the following:

1Co 14:23 If therefore the whole church be come together into one place, and all speak with tongues, and there come in those that are unlearned, or unbelievers, will they not say that ye are mad?

24 But if all prophesy, and there come in one that believeth not, or one unlearned, he is convinced of all, he is judged of all:

25 And thus are the secrets of his heart made manifest; and so falling down on his face he will worship God, and report that God is in you of a truth.

This text speaks of an unbeliever who comes into the midst of a whole church that has gathered together into one place and everyone prophesies with the result that the unbeliever comes under genuine conviction and is brought to worship God openly in their midst.

Because this divine revelation plainly speaks of God’s using the combined ministry of an assembled local church to bring an unbeliever to worship Him, we have biblical warrant for inviting people to come to church with us so that they are put in the position of having God work in their hearts in the manner spoken of in this passage.

Whether God chooses to work in such a manner in any given service is not our responsibility—our part is to put them in the position for Him to do so, should He see fit to do so.

Christians should invite unbelievers to come to church with them.

Two remarkable statements by God reveal the unparalleled excellence of Job among all the people who were alive on the earth in his day:

Job 1:8 And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil?

Job 2:3 And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil? and still he holdeth fast his integrity, although thou movedst me against him, to destroy him without cause.

An analysis of these statements provides all believers with profound instruction.

Comparative Divine Assessment of Human Excellence

God twice informed Satan that Job was uniquely excellent in his day (Job 1:8; 2:3), a truth that Satan would never have been able to know otherwise. These statements show that God had assessed all people who were living at that time and deemed that Job was superior to all other human beings in the qualities that God valued the most.

As human beings, even redeemed ones, we are incapable of correctly making such an assessment. Nonetheless, we must not allow our inability to lead us into holding any false views about divine assessment of all human beings—God knows and cares about who in the world is uniquely excellent in His sight!

Based on this revelation, we learn that God makes comparative assessments of all human beings and that it is false to say that in the sight of God we are all deemed to be equals because whatever good qualities we have in us are solely due to the work of God in our lives and the fruit of His grace bestowed upon us. Being saved by grace alone does not mean that we are all equally excellent in the sight of God!

Divine Desire for Human Excellence

God inspired the writer of Job to record these profound statements for our benefit. We can be certain that through this revelation, God has made known that He desires that all human beings strive to be excellent before Him in all the same ways that Job was.

We must not allow the contemporary overemphasis on grace to detract us from our continually pressing on for such excellence. Knowing that God makes such assessment of human excellence and knowing that Job attained such excellence should impel us to strive to be as Job was before God!

Cosmic Significance of Human Excellence

Knowing that God informed Satan about the unique excellence of Job and challenged Satan to consider Job’s excellence teaches us about the profound cosmic significance of human excellence. We do not have any way of knowing what God through us desires to display to fallen spirits in heavenly places.

We must live our lives with the awareness that comparative divine assessments of human excellence matter to both God and other heavenly beings. Let us allow these lessons that we learn from the unique greatness of Job to challenge us to strive to be uniquely excellent on the earth for the glory of God!

This fairly recent article (2012) explains the origins of rock music. It is not written by a “wacko” fundamentalist with an ax to grind—the author is a rock musician.

Reading this article (and many others like it) should make clear to any Christian the ungodly origins and nature of this musical style. God demands that we “have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness” (Eph. 5:11), including any such musical styles.

Note: I did not watch any of the videos that are in this article and would recommend strongly that you do not do so either.

Scripture instructs us to praise God for numerous things. The author of Psalm 71 teaches us to praise God for His role in our being born:

Psalm 71:5 For thou art my hope, O Lord GOD: thou art my trust from my youth. 6 By thee have I been holden up from the womb: thou art he that took me out of my mother’s bowels: my praise shall be continually of thee.

Have you given God thanks and praised Him for taking you out of your mother’s womb?

 

Reading in Hebrews recently, I noticed again an important verbal and conceptual link:

Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. 2 For by it [faith] the elders obtained a good report.

Hebrews 11:39 And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise:

By noting that the writer of Hebrew begins and ends this glorious chapter with the same statement, we can be certain that he intends to highlight the truth that all the “heroes of the faith” spoken of in this chapter obtained a good report by faith! Let us do the same.

 

 

God intends that biblical revelation about angels transform the way that believers live. Because of the angels who observe what we as believers do, we must live our lives not only with the awareness that we are in the sight of God but also with the awareness that we are in the sight of angels.

2Ki 6:16 And he answered, Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them. 17 And Elisha prayed, and said, LORD, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the LORD opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha.

Mat 18:10 Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven.

1Co 4:9 For I think that God hath set forth us the apostles last, as it were appointed to death: for we are made a spectacle unto the world, and to angels, and to men.

1Co 11:10 For this cause ought the woman to have power on her head because of the angels.

Eph 3:10 To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God,

1Ti 5:21 I charge thee before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, and the elect angels, that thou observe these things without preferring one before another, doing nothing by partiality.

Heb 1:14 Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?

We must live godly because of the angels!