When he came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen: “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples!” “I tell you,” he replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.” As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it and said, “If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace—but now it is hidden from your eyes.
The days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in on every side. They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls. They will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognize the time of God’s coming to you.”
Seize the Moment!
Not every moment is an equal opportunity moment. It is a real wake-up call for us to understand that you don’t decide the time of breakthroughs and miracles. You don’t decide when you’re going to just do God’s will, but we can miss our time of visitation. I want to talk about recognizing those moments, and about the high cost of low enthusiasm. Did you know that you can miss your moment when you don’t respond to God when He speaks to you?
In 2 Kings 13 Elisha was on his deathbed. The Bible said that Joash the king came running in, and he shouted, “The enemy is coming! What do I do?” The old prophet got out of the bed and did a strange thing. He grabbed a bow and arrow and put his hands around the young king, Josiah.
Elisha said, “Shoot these arrows. But before you shoot them, take these arrows and beat them on the ground.” The Bible said that that king took those arrows and he hit the ground three times, and then stopped. This angered the prophet so much so that he went back to bed, pulled his covers up, and said, “What a foolish person you are.”
When God gives you a direction or a word, you don’t take it and tap the ground three times unenthusiastically, as though some human being just spoke to you. You are to react with great enthusiasm! Elisha said to the young king, “Those arrows were the arrows of the Lord’s deliverance, and you will smite the Syrians three times because you hit the ground three times. But if you would have hit it with GREAT enthusiasm and excitement, you would have completely and utterly destroyed all of your enemies.” That king would soon pay the price for low enthusiasm. Sometimes, that’s how we are when we praise. We just go through the motions. We hear a message, and it’s just another Sunday.
There’s a high price for not getting excited about serving Jesus. We have opportunities that come our way, and we all respond differently. There has to be an excited response inside of us, or we miss unbelievable opportunities. Not all moments are created equally. There are intersections in life that come, and if you respond properly, God says I’m going to do exceedingly, abundantly above all they can ask or think.
Here are five things to consider when you enter God’s presence and offer your praise and worship:
1. Don’t be lukewarm. Jesus said if you’re lukewarm, He’ll spew you out of His mouth. Do you really think its possible to truly be in God’s presence and feel nothing? If you feel nothing, then it is very doubtful you have been in His presence at all.
2. There is good news: Heartfelt praise and worship ushers you into God’s presence. Bottom line, you are as close to God as you choose to be. It is a choice. Choose wisely.
When God began to lay His hand on my life, things changed. I didn’t stay the same—a seriousness gripped my life. Suddenly I said, “If I have to fast, I’ll fast. If I have to read 40 chapters a day, I’ll read 40 chapters a day.” Whatever I had to do to obtain the blessing of God, I was willing to do it. I knew no matter what, I didn’t want to pay the price of missing God’s plan for my life. There is a high cost to low enthusiasm and zeal for the Lord. A high cost.
3. Sometimes your enthusiasm will draw negative attention and criticism. Be enthusiastic anyway!
All of Jerusalem lined the streets as the king of Israel, David, was bringing the Ark of the Covenant home. David’s wife looked out the window of her palace and when she saw her husband magnifying and dancing for the Lord with all of his might – she had ice water in her veins. She was the inspector general. She began mocking, and making fun, and getting angry with him.
The problem with religion is that the more religious they become, the more likely they are to sit quietly during praise and worship, simply observing, and let’s be honest … judging. If you know so much, you should be praising the loudest!
4. Never forget … if the world does not approve, simply remind them, “I wasn’t dancing for you. I wasn’t even thinking about you.”
David said, I was thinking about the one who gave me that bearskin on my barn, and that lion rug in front of the fireplace. I was thinking about the God who took me from the sheepfold to the palace. I was dancing for him.
Worship is more than noise. It’s more than hiring people to make musical instruments praise God. We must never let it become lackadaisical. We must have excitement and enthusiasm.
5. There are things you’ll never give birth to until you learn how to put on the garment of praise.
Weeping may endure for the night, but joy comes in the morning. And I’m going to praise Him now until the dawn of the sunshine comes again in our life. Praise Him if you’ve had a hard week. Praise Him if you’ve had a setback. Praise Him. Get enthusiastic and say, you know what? God’s still on the throne, and I will praise Him. Hallelujah. Sometimes God has to break us so that we can really praise Him.
There’s a breaking going on in the church today. Let Him break you. Don’t hold back your emotions. Give Him your enthusiasm. Give Him your emotions. Give Him your excitement. If you hunger for more, don’t be afraid. There’s a time and a place to praise the Lord, and we are in that time.
If you want more, ask Him. He will fill you. Open your mouth, and say, "Holy Spirit, fill me." Tell him, “I want the fire of the Holy Ghost.”
Take a moment and walk through the following:
- Rate your enthusiasm for the Lord on a scale from 1-10 (zero being none and ten being overflowing)
Question: What would it take to move your score closer to a ten?
- Think about your times of praise and worship, private and public.
Question: Are you enthusiastic? Why or why not?
Question: How did this message study change the way you see your responsibility when you give your praise and worship?
- Ask the Lord to show you what He wants to birth in your life if you’re willing to enthusiastically pursue and worship Him. Share your answer with someone.