Those who had set their hearts to seek the Lord God of Israel came after them from all the tribes of Israel to Jerusalem to sacrifice to the Lord, the God of their ancestors. II Chronicles 11: 16 NRSV
Rehoboam, Solomon's son and heir, planned a greater taxation that his father which made ten of the twelve tribes leave the kingdom and form their own. However, the new King of this Israel did not want the priests, Levites and the faithful to go to Jerusalem to worship for that was where Rehoboam reigned over the tribes of Judah and Benjamin. So, he set up his own religion with his own appointed priests in his kingdom of Israel. Therefore the Levites and priests all fled to the kingdom of Judah. Those who were faithful to God followed them so that they could worship the Lord their God. For the Old Testament Jews, God was present with the Arc of the Covenant which at this time was located in the Temple in Jerusalem.
Is your relationship with God so firm that you would leave your home, kindred and all you know to go where you can worship God faithfully? In other words, would you give up all you had so that you could worship God fully and truthfully?
I doubt there are many Christians who would do the same type of thing. Many Christians today have abandoned the corporate worship in order to worship God privately. They have many good reasons including mistrust of Church leadership, hypocrisy, abuse, lack of time, other priorities, and even just getting out of the "habit" of going to church. For the modern Christian, God is everywhere -- not just in church. Why go to a particular place to worship when one can do it in the privacy of one's own home?
I am convicted that there are many different reasons to find a Body of Christ with whom to be a part. I fully believe that we are not meant to journey with Christ alone, that it does take a congregation or body of believers to help us along the Way. That doesn't mean that sometimes we get distracted or can do really stupid things in the church. But we work together to correct each other, forgive one another and learn to love one another. If we don't learn to love one another in the church, where else will we learn?
God, I pray that each person who reads this devotional is either in a community of faith or that you will lead them to the community in which you would like them to belong. In Jesus' holy name I pray. Amen.
Copyright 2010 Amelia G. Sims