A great perspective on how congregational singing in general is fading away.
God is not distant or removed from mankind. We often struggle with the fact that God is not tangible or visible as material matter that we can relate to. If God was material, mankind would attempt to define God, rationalize God or contain God. Since God is in a different dimension than we are, man either finds God to be greater than we are, or man has determined that God does not exist.
God has revealed Himself to man in a number of ways:
1) Creation. All that God has created reveals Himself and His handiwork to us. So often in Scripture when mankind struggles with understanding God, God points man to His creation (Book of Job and Isaiah).
2) Jesus Christ. God has revealed Himself to man through the person and work of Jesus Christ. God Almighty taking on the form of flesh in the person of Christ.
3) The Word of God. God has revealed Himself to mankind through the Holy Scriptures. All of the Word of God is verbally inspired and alive for you and me.
4) The Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit, sent from God to dwell in the life of the Christian has revealed God to man. This revelation should be very evident to the believer to whom He is given, but also to the unbeliever in how He has impacted and changed the lives of the saved.
5) Israel. God revealed Himself in the past and He will reveal Himself once again through the Nation of Israel and His workings and dealings with them.
6) The Book of Revelation. God allowed the Apostle John to be transported as a spectator to the throne of God in a vision which John has given to us in the Book of Revelation. We can get a glimpse of God and Heaven through the eyes and pen of the Apostle John in Revelation chapters 4 and 5.
God speaks to His people in Isaiah chapter 40 and reminds them that He is the God that has created all that we see and know.
Who hath measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, and meted out heaven with the span, and comprehended the dust of the earth in a measure, and weighed the mountains in scales, and the hills in a balance? Isaiah 40:12
God challenges the human race to measure the amount of water upon the earth. The water that is in the oceans, under the earth, flowing in the rivers, held in the vapor of the clouds and falling over the earth in the form of rain. How much is it? How much water do we have? God tells us He knows; He has measured it in the hollow of His hand!
How large are the heavens? God challenges man to measure the universe. Of course man cannot measure the universe because we cannot find the left side, nor the right side, nor the top, nor the bottom. The universe cannot be measured because we cannot find a place to start measuring from. God informs us that the universe is just a span of His arms!
How much dust and dirt are upon the earth? Can we measure that? God knows! How heavy are the mountains and hills? God tells us He knows exactly how heavy all of the mountains and hills are!
Thus leading to His probing question of Isaiah 40:21:
Have ye not known? have ye not heard? hath it not been told you from the beginning? have ye not understood from the foundations of the earth?
Prayer is not intended to get God to bend to our will and desires but rather to prepare our hearts to submit to His will and plan for us. – Andy Stanley
We too often approach God as if He is the great ATM machine in the sky. If we punch in the right combination, He will give us what we want. We believe that we must approach with the right balance of: lack of sin, sensitivity to His will, Godly desires, thanksgiving and praise. If we get these just right, than God will allow us blessings from His store house. This is a selfish and warped view of how our Heavenly Father operates.
If we approach God with full adoration and praise ‘Hallowed be thy name … thy kingdom come, thy will be done…” than we are adequately preparing our hearts and conforming our will to meet His. When we are heavy on the adoration we become light on the wants and requests.
God has ordained government to establish rules and regulations for our lives. Jesus even established the precedent and showed the importance of paying taxes. Government today has established licensing in order to regulate and tax the citizens’ activities. Government has established drivers’ license, car registrations, fishing licenses, hunting licenses, permits to carry firearms concealed, etc. These are areas that our elected officials have deemed necessary in order to provide safety and order for the entire electorate. Two hundred years ago there were no drivers license or car registrations because there were, of course, no automobiles. It would have seemed outrageous to issue a license to everyone who fished or hunted in order to provide food for their families. These licenses became necessary as the populace grew.
Government also issues marriage licenses. These licenses allow the government to make sure that no one is manipulating others through deceit (ie. marrying multiple spouses) and to make sure no one is marrying a relative. However, Government did not create the institution of marriage. People have been getting married for over six thousand years.
Today, Government and culture are attempting to redefine what marriage is. Thus the spiritual issue: Government does not and never has defined what marriage is – God instituted and defined what marriage is. God created the bond and the role of marriage for mankind. (Genesis 2:24)
The parameters and institution of marriage were so important to God, that He used that same picture to show His relationship to the nation of Israel in the Old Testament (Isaiah 54:5-10) and the relationship of Jesus to the Church in the New Testament (Matthew 25:1-13). Christians know that the Bible tells us that in Heaven, during the Tribulation period, the Church will be presented to Jesus Christ as the ‘Bride’, there will be a marriage ceremony which will be followed by a marriage feast. God puts great emphasis on the institution of marriage. It is not for man to decided what a marriage is – it is from God.
Everyone will give account for his/her own actions before God someday (Romans 14:12). Exactly how foolish will one look standing before God and telling Him that we were aware of what his Holy Scriptures said about marriage, but we ‘thought’ and ‘felt’ our idea was better.