1 Timothy 4, Isaiah 1, Jason, Jeremiah 23, Jeremiah 8, Pastor, Pastoral Ministry, Shepherding, worship
Every week we stand in the pulpit and declare, “Thus says the Lord!”. It is a treasure and joy to preach the Word and tell people the good news who IS our Lord and Savior! We have the privilege of feeding the sheep Him. We present Him every week. We stand in the gap as ambassadors! Our goal is to be filled with the Spirit communicating the depths of Him. We desire to be filled with His wisdom and understanding so that the people feast on Him not our man-contrived wisdom!
Preaching is a privilege and honor done by men gifted by Him to proclaim Him. He, like Isaiah and Jeremiah, gifts men to preach and proclaim His Word. From the beginning of time God choose the voices that will declare Him to lost, hurt, and saved sheep.
Let us as pastors, men who preach habitually, first and foremost feast on God! Our week can be hectic and crazy as we prepare messages, lessons, counseling, and administration tasks. We are no busier than our sheep who have busy lives too. We pray and urge our sheep to take serious their commitment to the Lord every day. We ask they be faithful, available, and teachable so the Lord will use them! May we be the same! May we wake in the morning and yearn and desire to know and follow Him! May our studies not be compilations of texts, doctrine, and application. Rather may they be the fruit of our worship and what we learned about our Triune God! We need to first and foremost be men who follow and love God! We become and lead others to follow what we worship!
Our sheep are commanded to imitate us! They are to imitate our faith (Heb 13:7). That is humbling for me. Could my sheep imitate me when in the car behind someone doing 25 in a 45? Could my sheep imitate my love for my wife? Could they imitate my desire to know God? Could they imitate my integrity, character, faithfulness, availability, humility, love, and desire for God?
Before Israel’s exile, God indicts Israel for her cold worship. “What are your multiplied sacrifices to Me? . . . I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams And the fat of fed cattle; and I take no pleasure in the blood of bulls, lambs or goats. . . . ” (Isaiah 1:11-15). All of Israel’s worship looked exactly as God declared in the Law. But Israel’s heart was far from worship. The Lord would not even listen to their prayers any more (Isa 1:15).
The priests did not ask where is the Lord. They did not know His Law — they did not know Him! In fact, their preaching was according to the false gods (Jeremiah 2:8). They led people astray in a time when they needed to be reminded of God (Jeremiah 23). Their nation was on the brink of exile and destruction. God desired people’s hearts to be cleansed by repentance. But the worship at God’s Temple was sick and the leadership (both Kings and priests) were sick too.
God relates the leader’s worship with the followers’ worship!
We as pastors need to feast on God! We need to pursue Him, love Him, and follow Him first and foremost! We need to know Him! Our desire is to see people go from dead in sin to alive in Christ as followers. God relates the leader’s worship with the followers’ worship! They follow our lead! It’s an unfortunate relationship on one hand because we are sinful people. But it also charges us to trust and follow Him! We must make our worship of Him primary! What believer fails to lead properly and worship when his or her eyes are fixed on Christ? The marathon runner runs focused on the goal line running to receive the prize. No marathon winner ever won by stopping off for some personal time during the race. We must stay focused on Christ and pursue Him (Hebrews 12:1-3).
Spend time in God’s Word sitting at His feet. Spend time learning His character and actions. Remember, we become what we worship. And therefore we need to learn, know, and worship the God of Scripture! We need to spend time getting to know the God who reveals himself in Scripture. Our view of Him must be well rounded and not one dimensional. If your God is a god who only hates sin, you will become like this God and find you hate people! But if you remember He, who hates sin, sent His Son to reconcile people too, then we begin to portray the right balanced view of God!
Why do we labor and strive? What should motivate us? What should motivate our actions? Him! “For we labor and strive, because we have fixed our hope on the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially believers” (1 Tim 4:10).