"Worship God if you want the best; worship opens doors to all His goodness."
- Psalm 34:9 MSG
I recently received a letter from a man who was becoming increasingly disillusioned with the Christian life. He confessed that He was feeling bitter toward God, because He always seemed to be letting the wicked get away with doing wrong. He felt that he had given up everything to follow the Lord, with very little reward for his efforts. It looked like all the evildoers around him were heaping up wealth and prospering, while he and his family were suffering hardship and lack. He said that there were many days when he felt like walking away from Christianity, and living his own way.
I spent some time in prayer for this man, and I asked the Lord to show me how to minister to him. The first thing I told him was that his focus was wrong, and I believed that much of his misery and defeat were the result of his wrong focus. The Bible says, "Worship God if you want the best; worship opens doors to all His goodness." (Psalm 34:9 MSG) Worship and fear of the Lord literally open the door to all of the good things that God has in store for us. The Amplified Bible puts it this way: "O fear the Lord, you His saints [revere and worship Him]! For there is no want to those who truly revere and worship Him with godly fear." (Psalm 34:9 AMP) Instead of focusing on the goodness and greatness of God - and on all of the good in his life - this man was focused on all of the things that he felt the Lord was doing wrong. He was basically saying that God was His problem! Naturally, this kind of attitude was getting him nowhere. Throughout the pages of the Bible, the Lord makes it clear that His provision is connected to our worship of Him. Psalm 11:5 (AMP) says: "He has given food and provision to those who reverently and worshipfully fear Him; He will remember His covenant forever and imprint it [on His mind]." God is committed to richly rewarding those who worship and adore Him with their whole hearts.
Just as worship opens the door to the good things of God, whining and complaining can open the door to troubles and trials. Scripture says: "Blessed (happy, fortunate, and to be envied) is the man who reverently and worshipfully fears [the Lord] at all times [regardless of circumstances], but he who hardens his heart will fall into calamity." (Proverbs 28:14 AMP) The man who wrote me described some of the hard times he had been experiencing. Instead of worshiping and honoring the Lord throughout his trials, he began hardening his heart against God and others. As a result, his problems went from bad to worse. His suffering caused him to begin focusing on the wicked around him who were prospering, and this just added to his bitterness. The Bible warns us: "Let not your heart envy sinners, but continue in the reverent and worshipful fear of the Lord all the day long. For surely there is a latter end [a future and a reward], and your hope and expectation shall not be cut off." (Proverbs 23:17-18 AMP) When we dwell on the prosperity of the wicked - instead of worshiping the Lord for who He is, and what He has promised - we forfeit the bright future and rich rewards that He had intended for us. As a result, we become disappointed and disillusioned, and we have no one to blame but ourselves.
The truth is that if God did nothing else for us except sacrifice His Son so that we wouldn't have to go to hell, He would still be worthy of our worship. But the Lord doesn't stop there. His Word tells us: "He who did not withhold or spare [even] His own Son but gave Him up for us all, will He not also with Him freely and graciously give us all [other] things?" (Romans 8:32 AMP) I challenge you today to believe that God wants to bless you even more than you want to be blessed, and to begin worshiping Him in advance for all of the good things He has in store for you!
Prayer: Lord, forgive me for the times that I whined instead of worshiped. Give me the faith I need to believe that no matter what is going on around me, You are still a good God, and You are worthy of my thanks and praise. When I have a need of any kind, lead me to dig into Your Word and claim Your promises of provision. Thank You that as I worship You through thick and thin, I will experience the very best of Your blessings!
- J. M. Farro