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1/5/16 – God: Praise and worship to a God who never changes

Written by Carlton L. Arnold

“Blessed be your glorious name, and may it be exalted above all blessing and praise. You alone are the Lord. You made the heavens, even the highest heavens, and all their starry host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them. You give life to everything, and the multitudes of heaven worship you.  Nehemiah 9:5-6

They refused to listen and failed to remember the miracles you performed among them. They became stiff-necked and in their rebellion appointed a leader in order to return to their slavery. But you are a forgiving God, gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love.Therefore you did not desert them.  Nehemiah 9:17

These two passages are from the book of Nehemiah.  This is one of the last books in the chronology of events in the Old Testament.  All of Israel had been dispersed by Assyria and Babylon.  The Temple and the walls of Jerusalem had been destroyed.  The Temple was rebuilt first, but the people grew tired and complacent in rebuilding the walls for protection.  Nehemiah had come from Babylon to encourage the people to rebuild the walls.  The walls were completed around 445BC.  After the walls were rebuilt, Ezra led a great revival of the reading of the Word of God.  The people stood for days listening to Ezra read.  Eventually, the people recognized their sins against God.  I share this passage with you to help you in your praise of God.

They first lifted the name of God above everything that existed and everything that they knew: “may your name be exalted above all blessing and praise.  There are many names used to refer to God in the Old Testament.  Make it a goal that you will learn some of the names of God and what they mean. 

The priests spoke of God’s Creation and its completeness.  They included everything that they could physically see: you made the heavens, even the highest heavens and all their starry host.  This is interesting because it implies that there are many heavens.  Spiritually speaking, we are very ignorant of all of space and the spiritual realms.  There is much more than we can see.  God created the earth and all that is in it.  God gives life to everything meaning that all of life is in the hands of God.  This is why it is so meaningful to realize that Jesus defeated death and was resurrected, as all Believers will experience.  It is for this reason that death has no hold on Believers, and we do not fear death.  The final statement in the first passage references all the multitudes of the heaven as worshipping God.  This is what we should think on when we are praising God.

I included the last passage as a rebuttal to those who believe that the God of the Old Testament was a harsh, wrathful, judgmental, and different from the God is love in the New Testament.  The passage clearly describes the forgiveness of God.  It describes the grace and compassion of God toward the people who were repeatedly disobedient to Him.  Finally, it describes His patience (slow to anger) and His love.  I do not know how anyone can conclude that there are two different Gods in the Old and New Testament.  He is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow.  Praise His name above everything that you and I know.

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