Ichabod, The Modern Church ?
by Carl MacMillan
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The Modern Age Church
The church world of today is dramatically different from just a generation ago. The major change that has taken place is the implementation of worldly, modern music, as a mechanism of worship. For generations, the music played at times of worship, were calm melodies which allowed for the believer to concentrate on the words. In those times the words told an inner story of which the believer could relate. The words and story came from within the depth of ones heart and allowed each and every believer, having surrendered themselves unto the Lord, to communicate with God directly from the heart through the spirit. God is spirit and to worship Him one must do so in spirit and truth.
Over the years, words and meanings often times differ and change from their original intent. As worship included songs and singing, and the melodies took on rhythm and drama, the result claimed to be a representation of actions in human life. Drama is a composition intended to be represented on the stage, reflecting actions of human life. But, one must thoroughly remember as a believer, ones human life is supposed to turn into and be a spiritual life in order to worship God. These changes began occurring in the mid twentieth century. The reverent, devout religious worship including music of melody advanced through the wording of “Praise and Worship”. Praise is a wonderful word and has been in Gods word since the book of Genesis. Praise was a lifting of ones hands as part of worship, representing the casting out of ones self-will desire of sin and giving confession and thanks unto God. The lifting of the hands with the cleansing of the heart and thankfulness unto God is true and solid worship. Song, music, lifting of hands, having confessed from the heart through honest thanks unto God is worship. Honest thanks is a true perception [having perceived] who God is, what He desires from you and has for you, while understanding the wickedness in the world with all its deceptions, which can be so very easy to accommodate and accept. Having perceived, one can truly give thanks, praise and worship unto God as a child of God.
The New Tradition
Praise in the modern church world refers to the music with lifted hands and more. This modern form of worship with its emphasis on praise took on a modern name of Charismatic. With praise and worship having been a formed process, as stated above, and with the connection of Charismatic, the age old form of worship has taken on a new meaning. When discussing this change with church leaders, many of them reason that it promotes new people and provides for a growing church. In most cases, today, this is true for it is almost impossible to find a church with true spiritual music whereby a child of God can become one with others and worship, through thanks to God almighty. This change to allow growth gives the purpose of gathering, over to the desires of man. The bible speaks about this condition in the book of Matthew chapter 15. A complete sermon could be given but I’ll try to sum it up. The scribes and Pharisees asked Jesus why do the disciples transgress the traditions of the elders? Jesus responded with question as to why they, scribes and Pharisees, also transgress the commandments of God? Jesus continued to point out how they change the wording in a situation, effectually causing the outcome to be different than the commandment of God, yet, they indicate their change will provide the same results. Jesus clearly states, you have made the commandments of God of none effect by your traditions. V.7-8; Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you saying, This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. V.9; But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.
As is stated, modern traditions teach the doctrines of men to fulfill the commandments of God.
Solomon, through the book of Ecclesiastes had many happy men that stood before him to hear his wisdom. The account of Solomon’s apostasy from God, in the latter end of his reign, is the tragical part of his story. Yet, when he delivered Ecclesiastes, he had grown old and for the burdens and decays of age, he speaks freely. He begins referencing that “all is Vanity” and refers back to vanity through the book. He concludes the whole matter stating: Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.
In chapter seven, after giving many proofs and instances of the vanity of this world and the things of it, Solomon recommends to us some good means, proper for the arming of ourselves against the mischief we are in danger of from it, that we may make the best of the bad, for care of our reputation and its seriousness, v.1-6, calmness of the spirit, prudence in the management of our affairs, submission to the will of God in all events and more. This booklet being short, we will address v.1-6, only.
Our Reputation Unto God
Solomon has a concern for ones reputation unto God and provides an area that clearly displays the mechanisms of wickedness and how easily one can become subject to such vile [morally impure]. Ones reputation unto God is not the same as to the world. But, in both cases it is an established character. Ones character in the world can do most things, yet, ones character unto God is limited to His commands. v.1. A good name is one having a good reputation unto God, v.2. It is better to go to the house of mourning than to go to the house of feasting: for that is the end of all men; and the living will lay it to his heart. Mourning is to lament, tear the hair and beat the breast, where a feast is to consume, waste and to entertain sumptuously V.3 Sorrow is better than laughter for by sadness of the countenance the heart is made better. Sorrow is grief, indignation and provocation. Laughter is to strut and walk in haughtiness and pride.
V.4. The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning; but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth. Fools are silly and foolish as the house of mirth is a house of rejoicing and feasting. The house of mirth is a house of glee, whereby to cheer up and make merry. It is a house of noisy gaiety.
V.5. It is better to hear the rebuke of the wise, than for a man to hear the song of fools. The wise are intelligent, skillful, artful, wise hearted. The wise are wise in mind and word and teach wisdom.
Therefore, our reputation unto God requires adopting unto His rules and living within His commandments. As Jesus revealed in Matthew 15, “But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men”. It is most important also, to listen to Solomon, as he points out the wickedness of man as Jesus also revealed. To change to a Charismatic tradition of praise for the purpose of gaining an inflow of man, works the same way. The Charismatic praise music uses and teaches the doctrines of men to fulfill the commandments of God. When true believers in God arrive at church they would have spent prior time in quietness with the Lord, preparing for a unification of other true believers to worship in spirit and truth. As one lives with God they always are anticipating and thankful. Although they praise and worship Him on a daily basis, when arriving at church they have the opportunity of sharing in worship through wonderful melodies with songs from the heart which opens up an ever greater faith within and a peace of God that passes all understanding. Having arrived with joy and happiness their desire was to unite with others through the heart and hear wisdom spoken. The true believer has no reason to be expounded with rhythm to bring glee and happiness. If there are people in the congregation that need the knowledge and understanding to receive the spirit of faith, peace, the joy of the Lord and the basis to live life daily with happiness, Charismatic music will deter them from the opportunity to receive the wisdom to be spoken. Remember Solomon, The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning; but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth. One must be able to digest the wisdom to know and understand their purpose in God. With this knowledge and understanding they will be able to relate the truth with God and mourn daily. Does this mean they are not happy? Absolutely not! In fact the ongoing mourning is caused because of their knowledge of God and their purpose in Him. Also remember, it is better to go to the house of mourning than to go to the house of feasting and sorrow is better than laughter, for by sadness of the countenance the heart is made better.
Now, it takes much teaching of truth and wisdom along with a steady studying of Gods word to arrive with the knowledge and understanding of ones mourning, but that is part of the process of running the race, in order to win. As has been proven by Gods word, songs of gaity and happiness and laughter does not replace the command of God to worship in spirit and truth. Once again, as has been stated, v.6, For as the crackling of thorns under a pot, so is the laughter of the fool: this also is vanity. Teaching for doctrines the commandments of men is vanity.
One can only worship God in a spiritual life
If you have gotten to this point after reading all prior pages, I give you honor with respect, believing you have been listening to the Holy Spirit. A great deal of bible information has been presented being directed specifically to the worldly music within the modern day church with its negative effect on spiritual worship.
My wife and I recently went to an Easter Sunday service and were overcome by the modern Charismatic music. After one and a half songs we made an affirmative decision and had to leave. This decision was made either by the flesh or the spirit. Having a regenerated spirit and filled with the Holy Spirit, the decision was not soulish [fleshly]. The subject of the “Soul” is another deep subject, but it should be recognized the fall of man was due to the soul abiding by mans will and not the spirit of which God breathed into man creating a living soul. That being the truth with man, following the commandments of God, which is His “Will”, will enhance ones reputation unto God.
In 1 Samuel 4, the name Ichabod is introduced, being the name of a child given by the mother. She was the wife of Phinehas, who had recently died along with his father Eli, while battling the Philistines. During this battle, Israel fled and the Philistines took the Ark of God. The ark symbolized the presence and power of God. The ark had major importance to the Israelites who used it superstitiously by placing their faith more in the ark than in God. Because the Ark of God was taken away, the wife felt and believed that the “Glory of God” was taken away so she named her new son to reflect the condition of the land, being “Inglorious” or ICHABOD. Psalm 78:61, refers to the ark as delivering strength into captivity; “And delivered his strength into captivity and his glory into the hands of the enemy”.
Abiding by the will of man in place of the commandments of God places His strength into captivity and His glory into the hands of the enemy. A situation of “Inglorious” results with a character reputation of Ichabod.
A child of light [Eph.5:8] has perceived and lives a life in sorrow. He is allowed through intuition to be taught, for one must study to “shew” oneself approved unto God [proper character reputation]. Sons of God are shown the truth and because of this truth, they are sorrowful and do mourn. Sorrow is being grieved and provoked with knowledge of truth, which is surrender and captivity of glory. Mourn, is crying out unto God, beating the breasts, desiring to know how much longer will He allow surrender to Ichabod [Ingloriousness] allowing the strength He wants His people to absorb to be placed into captivity and His glory into the hands of the enemy. Charismatic music denies a spiritual relationship not only with God but with others. When the spirit of God is denied, communication with God is impossible. Charismatic music takes the presence of God with His power which is available to His people who abide by his commands and gives captivity to the enemy.
I pray and mourn through sorrow regularly, that churches give glory unto God through the spirit and escape an inglorious reputation unto God. As each individual denies themselves and seeks to carry out the will of God they will be giving true glory unto God and will escape the name of “Ichabod”.
As has been proven from God’s word, Charismatic music is inglorious and not only reflects the condition of the land but surrenders to the enemy.
Oh God, allow those who are in sorrow, power through the spirit, to help people survive and not hand over your glory to the enemy. Amen.
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