I want to write to you today about an event recorded in the Bible that brings home an important point about our worship of God. This moment in time was so huge in God’s love story to us, and the account of the words that were spoken at this event are only mentioned one time in the Bible. Let’s take a closer look at the day Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey as the people cheered and worshiped Him.
The story starts to unfold before our eyes in Luke chapter 19: “Then they brought him to Jesus. And they threw their own clothes on the colt, and they set Jesus on him. And as He went, many spread their clothes on the road. Then, as He was now drawing near the descent of the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works they had seen, saying: ‘Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! ‘Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!’” (Luke 19:35-38)
The Bible tells us that a large crowd had gathered and they were screaming and praising God. Can you imagine this scene? Jesus was riding into town on a donkey, and a great number of people were praising Him and laying their clothes on the ground so He could pass over them. Then something happened to interrupt this celebration.
Luke 19:39 informs us, “And some of the Pharisees called to Him from the crowd, ‘Teacher, rebuke Your disciples.’” The Pharisees didn’t like seeing Jesus being exalted, and they instructed Him to “rebuke” His disciples. In essence, the Pharisees said, “We don’t like this. Now, do what we say and make them stop cheering!”
And Jesus’ response was absolutely amazing. He said, “I tell you that if these should keep silent, the stones would immediately cry out” (Luke 19:40). Jesus was declaring, This moment is so important for all mankind’s redemption — every man is about to be purchased. I will become the sacrificial Lamb, and their sins will be forever paid for. I am going to die a sinner’s death, and I will be their Substitute. And I will make it so whoever calls on My name will be saved from their sins and they will be with Me forever. There WILL BE PRAISE! Even if My disciples stop cheering, the rocks under your feet will immediately begin giving Me glory.
How important is it to God that we praise Him? Let’s take a look at three examples of kings who refused to glorify God — and God definitely had something to say about it. First, in Daniel chapter 5, even though God was revealing himself to King Nebuchadnezzar, this king soon became so full of himself that he was not glorifying God. Daniel 5:20 reveals, “But when his heart was lifted up and his spirit was hardened in pride, he was deposed from his kingly throne, and they took his glory from him.” The next verse informs us that after Nebuchadnezzar was dethroned, he lost his mind for a time; he became like a beast, was living with the wild donkeys, and ate the grass alongside the oxen.
And then we read of another Babylonian king, King Belshazzar, who also refused to give God glory — and God noticed. Daniel 5:23 says, “…and the God who holds your breath in His hand and owns all your ways, you have not glorified.” That night there was strange writing on the wall which pronounced the king’s demise. Belshazzar’s kingdom was taken from him and he was killed. God saw that this king refused to glorify Him, but rather, gave and received glory to himself.
You may be thinking, Denise, that’s the Old Testament. Yes, but let’s look at that final example from the New Testament. Acts 12:21-23: “So on a set day Herod, arrayed in royal apparel, sat on his throne and gave an oration to them. And the people kept shouting, ‘The voice of a god and not of a man!’ Then immediately an angel of the Lord struck him, because he did not give glory to God. And he was eaten by worms and died.” Herod also had a bad habit of thinking himself more highly than he ought.
So, what are we to learn from these stories? God sees who gives Him glory. He notices if we are self-deceived and pat ourselves on the back for our accomplishments, and then hold back our praise to Him.
Let’s go back to the Pharisees in Luke 19. What was happening in the hearts of these Pharisees that they wanted to stop the praise and adoration for Jesus? What was in them that they would say to the Savior, “Rebuke your disciples and tell them to be quiet”?
Could it have been fear rearing its ugly head in the Pharisees? Or jealousy — that Jesus would get more praise than them? Maybe envy, offense, judgment, hate, or pride? Do any of these false ways have such an effect on us that we hold back our praise to Jesus? Do we resist bringing Him glory in our daily lives because our flesh gets in the way? I’m not just writing this to you — I’m preaching to myself also.
Psalm 19:10-13 in The Passion Translation really describes how the Scripture is there to protect our heart from departing from any false way.
“The rarest treasures of life are found in his truth. That’s why I prize God’s Word like others prize the finest gold. Nothing brings the soul such sweetness as seeking his living words. For they warn us, his servants, and keep us from following the wicked way, giving a lifetime guarantee: great success to every obedient soul! Without this revelation-light, how would I ever detect the waywardness of my heart? Lord, forgive my hidden flaws whenever you find them. Keep cleansing me, God, and keep me from my secret, selfish sins; may they never rule over me! For only then will I be free from fault and remain innocent of rebellion” (Psalm 19:10-13 TPT).
Do these verses touch your heart? God is so loving and gracious to us that He has given us these precious words to help keep our heart in the right place.
Friend, I realize this letter is rather sobering, but it’s time for us to be strong in these last days. We have to guard our heart with all diligence as Proverbs 4:23 admonishes: “Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life.”
These are the truths that God has been stirring in my heart the last two weeks and I especially wanted to share them with you. These truths we have talked about in this letter will help us continue with joy in our journey with our Savior.
In these times of such instability, I think it causes us all to take a deeper look at the place that the worship and adoration of Jesus has in our hearts. I humbly submit this letter to you that, with me, you would ask yourself these important questions: Like the Pharisees, has my heart become hardened and my praise for God stopped? Or is my heart seeking after Him that He would show me any false ways in me? (See Psalm 139:24.)
Thank you for spending time with me. And please let us know if you have any prayer requests. I want to encourage you to contact us if you have a prayer need and would like someone to stand in faith with you. Just call us at 1-800-742-5593 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We are moving forward together!
Your sister in Christ,