If we do not worship, stones will cry out. Worship leaders offer us catchy songs of praise, Scriptures of God’s holiness and goodness, and prayers reflecting our hearts. Only the people, however, can bring a readiness and eagerness to bow and adore God…
22 “‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: I myself will take a shoot from the very top of a cedar and plant it; I will break off a tender sprig from its topmost shoots and plant it on a high and lofty mountain. 23 On the mountain heights of Israel I will plant it; it will produce branches and bear fruit and become a splendid cedar. Birds of every kind will nest in it; they will find shelter in the shade of its branches. 24 All the trees of the forest will know that I the Lord bring down the tall tree and make the low tree grow tall. I dry up the green tree and make the dry tree flourish.
“‘I the Lord have spoken, and I will do it.’”
37 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:
38 “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!”
“Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”
39 Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples!”
40 “I tell you,” he replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.”
I don’t think we know who we are dealing with. Someone said to me recently that he has been floored at how the church takes worship for granted. He was commenting on how unengaged congregations can be during corporate worship times. I have read some ideas about worshiptainment and how the culture of entertainment and ‘show’ around us cause the church to head down the path (even without realizing) toward competition with the world’s lights and shiny baubles and spinning toys.
Let’s come back to earth.
The Lord is the one who will bring down the tall cedar and make the seedling grow tall. He is the one who dries up the green tree and makes the dry tree flourish. Ezekiel’s prophecy (while slamming God’s people for being disobedient) bows to the power of God and puts him the rightful place in our lives. He is infinite and infinitely powerful.
So powerful is God, and so worthy of praise and glory, that if people did not respond to God in worship, rocks would cry out. When Jesus was being adored as he entered Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, the Pharisees were critical and suggested Jesus should silence his followers, who were praising him as King.
If they kept quiet, Jesus said, the stones would cry out instead.
Which brings me back to worship, and my friend’s lament about how we might not appreciate and fully participate in the corporate worship of God. If we miss praising him, stones will take our place. The responsibility to make worship great toward our great God is on the hearts of those who belong to God. The worship leader can offer us catchy songs of praise, Scriptures which speak of God’s holiness and goodness, and prayers to reflect the heart of the people.
Only the people can come, however, with a readiness and eagerness to bow and adore God. Only the people. And as people, we are much more lazy than we think when it comes to worship. “How was worship today?” we ask each other. “What did you think of worship?” I thought I was disengaged today and not properly lifting up God. I was distracted by my unconfessed sin. I was selfish in my reluctance to humble myself. Have we ever said those things?
If we do not worship, the stones will cry out.
Worship is up to the people.