Amos 9:11 “In that day I will restore David’s fallen tent. I will repair its broken places, restore its ruins, and build it as it used to be.”
Several Bible interpreters have taken this verse to indicate the restoration of the tabernacle that David erected for the Ark of the Covenant, before Solomon built the first temple. That in itself seems without dispute, but they go further to say that this is talking about the 24/7 praise and worship that went on there, and the fact that ordinary people could approach and see the Ark, and they say that the worship style that has arisen since the start of the Pentecostal Movement over a hundred years ago, and especially the Charismatic movement that began around 50 years ago, is the fulfillment of this verse. In the service yesterday we sang the song, Days of Elijah, that directly references that understanding. I wouldn’t swear that is the correct interpretation, but it certainly seems possible. Heartfelt praise and worship certainly bring us to a level of intimacy with God that is quite apart from religion as such. We go through all sorts of things in the name of religion, but God desires honesty and intimacy. James deals with the honesty part when he says, “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” (James 1:27) However, that can become cold and legalistic without the intimacy of offering ourselves to God in praise and worship. It’s not an either/or situation, but very much a both/and one. It’s very much like something I referenced in a message recently. In the early days of the Pentecostal Movement, deep Biblical scholarship seemed to be in short supply, but the seminaries of “mainline churches” were so enamored of human intellect and the ideas that spring from it that they fostered what has become essentially a negation of the truth and authority of the Bible. Thankfully, Pentecostal scholarship has become far deeper, and interestingly, the Charismatic Movement sprang up in “mainline” churches because the people were so hungry for a real connection with God. On our own we can’t keep the balance, but God in His mercy will enable us to do so if we will ask and allow Him to.
I was raised in a home that was steeped in Scripture, but I didn’t encounter Charismatic worship until I was already a father. In fact, it was around the time of the birth of our second daughter. My family was very musical and we loved singing hymns together, but I wouldn’t say we got very deep in praise and worship. At the same time, many of the “worship choruses” seem shallow, and some of the current “worship music” seems downright monotonous. I am not to discard the old hymns that are rich in meaning, but neither am I to despise songs that really trigger emotion. As Jesus said, I am to worship in spirit and in truth, (John 4:23-24) submitting my mind and my emotions, my body and my lifestyle, to Him.
Father, thank You for this reminder. Thank You also for the awareness that I can’t walk the line without Your help. May every part of my life be pleasing to You, that I may walk in the intimacy that You desire, and by Your grace I desire as well, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!