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August 26 Today’s Reading: Ezekiel 22-23
“Thou hast despised mine holy things.”
It is a sad fact that many to whom God has given the blessed privilege of having his worship established in their midst are guilty of despising his holy things.
It is impossible for me to understand how men and women who claim to love Christ and the Gospel of his grace can willingly absent themselves from the ministry of the Word. It is one thing to despise the labors of a pastor who faithfully seeks a message from God and diligently preaches the gospel, (That itself is horrible!), but a willing neglect of the Gospel is much, much more than despising the labors of a man. It is despising God’s holy things: his Word, his ordinances, his praise, and his people. The Lord Jesus promised that wherever and whenever two or three gather together in his name, he will be with them, in the midst of them. To neglect that assembly is to despise Christ’s company! That is the charge God laid against Israel of old; and that is the charge that must be laid against all who despise the worship of God today.
I know many, many people who have no place of public worship and no faithful pastor to minister to their souls. Whenever a Gospel preacher comes within a hundred miles of them, they get excited and gladly drive the distance to hear the message of redeeming love and saving grace. They plan their vacations around Bible conferences, special meetings, and places of worship. They listen to and/or watch recorded messages every day. When they get a chance to meet with God’s saints and hear his Word, they are the first ones to arrive, and the last to leave. They simply cannot get enough of the Word. They soak it up like a dry sponge soaks up water. When the message is over, they talk about it enthusiastically. They cherish what many despise, who have a faithful Gospel church and a faithful Gospel preacher next door.
I know others, many others, to whom God has given faithful pastors, who have a regular place of worship nearby. There the Word of God is faithfully preached. The saints of God gather several times a week to worship Christ and enjoy the blessed fellowship of the Gospel. Yet, these people, though they profess to love Christ and the Gospel of his grace, seem to care little for the blessed privileges that surround them. If they attend a worship service once a week and give a little money to help with the light bill, they are more than content. In many places, where people claim to love the message of God’s free and sovereign grace in Christ, the Gospel goes begging for a hearing. The evening and mid-week worship services could be held in a closet with room to spare! Without question, it is to such people that God almighty makes this charge. — “Thou hast despised mine holy things!”
Time to Wake Up
If that charge stings you, I am very thankful. I am thankful to know that you are not without sensitivity to these things. “It is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand: Let us therefore cast off the works of darkness...and make not provision for the flesh” (Romans 13:11-14). If you are too busy to attend the worship of God, you are too busy! If you are too tired, you need to give something up, but not the worship of God! If you despise God’s holy things, he will take them away from you and give them to someone else (Romans 11:21).