Back into the Valley… No More!

By Not Known

Last Sunday, we ended our celebration of ORPC’s 159th Anniversary cum 498th Anniversary of the Protestant Reformation with the rousing “Hallelujah Chorus” by Handel.  We declared our God as the “King of kings, and Lord of lords” who reigns for forever and ever.  Whenever and wherever this Chorus is sung, it is customary that God’s people stand in honour of the Most High God.  Indeed, Soli Deo Gloria (Latin meaning Glory to God Alone)!
Starting this Sunday, we are “back into the valley” with the Book of Judges. Like the radiant Moses coming back down after encountering God on Mount Sinai to meet with the idolatrous Israelites, we too shall be greeted by a totally different refrain – “In those days, Israel had no king; everyone did as he saw fit.” (Judges 18:1; 19:1; 21:25) In the last chapters, the writer emphatically declared that the Israelites rejected their God as King and Lord.
The sharp contrast between these two Sundays is like a parable to our Christian life, isn’t it?  From the high and holy ground of orderly worship where God is God, we launch into the week, into the valley of a lowly and disordered world where Man is lord.  Responsively, we have three ways to live: (1) Overcome worldliness with godliness; (2) Be overcome by the worldliness; (3) Forge a friendly arrangement where God is King on Sundays, but Man is lord on weekdays.  How have you been living?
Sunday worship highlights the week that has passed and lights the way into the week to come.  It means that the quality of our day to day discipleship affects our Sunday worship; a godless week never leads to a vibrant worship service.  No amount of Sunday spiritual hyping can do good to our discipleship either.  Without the fear of God as our King and Lord, we can do all that is right and required in church, yet lead a very wayward life in the world.  This is called “human religion”… Many are indeed pious followers of such a religion.
God is not pleased with our human religiosity. He is not impressed with piety on our own terms.  We cannot sing with gusto Soli Deo Gloria on Sunday, and then “Sorry God, got to do life my way” come Monday morning.
With what attitudes should we go back into the valley?
•    Decide this day who is to be your Lord and King;
•    Denounce anything and decline anyone who seeks to be lord over your life;
•    Deny yourself the rights and privileges that promote worldly pleasures;
•    Declare your identity as a child of God and your allegiance to Christ;
•    Demonstrate God’s glory by your godliness in thoughts, words, and actions.
Let us show and tell everyone every day that because God is our king, we cannot do as we see fit.  Rather, we are constrained to live as we have declared – Soli Deo Gloria!