We had a great night at Frontline last night! We kicked it off with a good old-fashioned q-tip war, and then moved into worship and the lesson. Here’s a short video of the q-tip war in action!
This weeks lesson was our first of four in the “Silent God?” series. We are looking at reasons that teenagers may not hear from God in the way that they feel they should. This whole series is taken from the book of Malachi and addresses different areas of sin in our lives that can hamper communication with God.
Quick background for Malachi. The people of Judah have been allowed to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the temple and the walls of the city (following their captivity under Babylon). In a time where religious piety should have been at an all time high due to God’s protection through the exile, the people quickly returned to a lazy faith that was even critical of God. In Mal. 1:2, God confesses his love to the people and they have the audacity to ask him “how have you loved us?” The rest of the book is God pointing out areas of sin within the people and a call to faithful obedience.
The first critique that God raises is directed at the sacrifices that are being offered to Him. God deserves and demands the very best that people can offer, but the people were bringing worthless (lame, blind, and sick) animals as their sacrifice of worship to God while withholding their best for themselves. God points out that they would not dream of offering these animals to their governors, and even encourages the people to stop offering anything if all they are going to give to Him is garbage.
As people we all can at times come to worship God full of garbage. We have sin that we are yet to repent of and then we worship God. This should not be. We should go to God, repent of our sins, and then offer ourselves to be used by God in worship and in life. Teenagers are often quick to worship God through song, while not examining their lives to see if what they are offering to God is a pure sacrifice.
We are also guilty of giving God our leftovers as our sacrifice. We are willing to part with our leftover time or energy , but to ask us to give our best time and best energy is often asking more than we are willing. We must combat this. I challenged the teenagers to think of someone they truly admired (perhaps a celebrity, athlete, or politician) who was coming to their house for dinner. What sort of work would they do to make that night go perfectly? Would they research the best meal? Would they tidy up the house? Would they dedicate as much time as needed to so that the person would be pleased to be at the house (and perhaps want a return visit)? I know that I would. Yet, when we have the opportunity to spend time with Almighty God, we are casual. We don’t give any effort to preparing and when we are done we question God saying “Why don’t you ever talk with me?” We truly need to grasp that God is greater than any other person in the world and give Him the time and effort that He deserves.
As a parent, are you modeling to your children that God is greater than all others (your boss, your spouse, your childhood idol)? Children learn their faith from their parents. So examine your life, make changes to your treatment of God if necessary, and talk with your kids about how awesome God is. Show them what a privilege it is to have Him desire a relationship with us.