Without a doubt, COVID-19 has wreaked havoc on many churches and their congregations. It has forced many believers to resort to online or streaming church services, conferences and meetings. While this kind of technology has given thousands an opportunity to remain virtually connected to their faith communities, it can also be dangerous and damaging to the life of believers as it endangers the biblical model to gather, assemble and worship.
One of the most dangerous effects of virtual church is the obvious stripping away of the joy of congregational worship. The need to assemble ourselves together silently diminishes with the convenience of jumping online, therefore, prolonging and creating preference for the attendance of virtual church rather than assembling together to attend a live worship service among fellow believers.
In turn, a cycle has inadvertently been established by perpetuating this pattern of "convenient" church. Be aware that this pattern does not come without penalty, as the tendency to make worship an item of ease dissolves its sacrificial benefit and severely diminishes its value. This devaluation of God's worship is not new and is recorded in Scripture in 1 Kings 11-14, during the reign of King Jeroboam.
King Jeroboam is known as one of the most influential men in the history of Israel. Jeroboam was famed for being the king that God used to remove the whole kingdom from the house of David. The outcome of King Solomon forsaking the ways of Jehovah, even though his son Rehoboam was his rightful heir, enabled Jeroboam to become king over 10 of the tribes of Israel. The Lord guaranteed this unprecedented change through a prophecy given to him by Ahijah, the prophet.
While Solomon was still in power, he became a war criminal with a bounty on his head. He fled to Egypt and came under the asylum and protection of Pharaoh Shishak. Upon Solomon's death, Rehoboam took the throne, became king and was told by the Israelites that though his father Solomon put a heavy burden on them, they would serve Rehoboam if he lightened their loads. As a result of Rehoboam's inexperience, he consulted with the elders who had served his father. The elders advised him that the people would serve him as long as he was a servant unto them.
Rehoboam refused to listen to the counsel of his elders and instead turned to the younger men, with whom he was familiar from his youth and were now his servants. They advised Rehoboam to entreat the Israelites even more harshly than Solomon had. Rehoboam listened to this foolish council, became a harsh leader, and placed unnecessary burden upon the people through excessive taxation. Consequently, Jeroboam formed a delegation, returned to Israel and went before Rehoboam, petitioning for a cap on the taxes, to which Rehoboam refused. As a result of the rejection of Jeroboam's petition, 10 of the tribes withdrew their allegiance from the house of David and proclaimed Jeroboam as their king.
Only the tribes of Judah and Benjamin remained loyal to Rehoboam. Even so, Jeroboam continued to dishonor God's law. Sadly, this split resulted in proponents of Jeroboam's unauthorized and convenient worship, congruent to the patterns of worship we see emerging in many churches today.
Stay tuned, as we further examine the results of Jeroboam's actions in my next article! In the meantime, listen to this episode of Equip a Generation with Apostle Nona Parker on Charisma Podcast Network, The Effects of Devaluing Worship.
Apostle Nona Parker is a 21st-century apostle dedicated to cultivating guardians for God's kingdom. Apostle Nona desires to see men and women of God move from being simply consumers of His grace to becoming producers of His power. Her ministry impact moves people from fear to greatness and unveils their rightful place in His kingdom. Her resources, services and programs are designed for those who want to build, edify, expand and advance the Lord's church. As a 21 year pastor of Antioch Christian Assembly in Joliet, Illinois, Apostle Nona has learned how to become a "wise master builder." Merging more than 7 church entities into a single collaborative vision, she has garnered years of experience and expertise in church planting, ministry development, leadership training and coaching, including mediation and conflict resolution. Apostle Nona is often sought out to speak and teach as well as train apostles, prophets, fivefold leaders and upcoming ministers in kingdom advancement, guardianship and governance. This dynamic leader has developed prophetic curriculum and hosted numerous conferences and workshops, including the establishment of an online training camp titled "Shamar Prophets." Learn more by visiting nonaparker.com
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