Restore to me the joy of your salvation and uphold me with a willing spirit (Psalm 51:12).
Consider and answer me, O LORD my God; light up my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death (Psalm 13:3).
I don’t know about you, but my hallelujah these days is puffy-eyed and groggy. Exhausted, in the rawest sense. Somewhere in the mix, it has become a quiet chore. Somewhere along the way, I stopped expecting and started living on yesterday’s Word from God, which became last week’s, which became last month’s. This is not to say that the Lord cannot or will not fall fresh on Scripture that you have read a million times, but it is to say that you/me/we cannot survive spiritually on just assuming that what the Lord did for us yesterday will fulfill today’s needs.
Think about it like this: you make a batch of lemonade, and it is the best lemonade you’ve ever tasted. You leave the squeezed lemons out on the counter overnight and come back to make a new batch the next morning. You grab yesterday’s lemons and squeeze them, only to find that they are completely used up. This does not change the fact that yesterday’s batch of lemonade rocked your world—it simply means you need new lemons!
I think sometimes, though—if not most times—it is easier to just set the lemons down and drink something else rather than going all the way to the store to buy new ones because you don’t feel like it. The getting dressed, the time, the money, the gas—it would all encroach on what you had planned for your day.
Sound familiar? (Hint: we’re not really talking about lemons. I mean, we are, but we’re not.)
Neither is new wine put into old wineskins. If it is, the skins burst and the wine is spilled and the skins are destroyed. But new wine is put into fresh wineskins, and so both are preserved (Matthew 9:17).
Worship begins with a thankful heart. And with that, often comes the mistake of correlating a fuzzy, warm, “feel good” moment for thankfulness. While, yes, thankfulness can come in that package, where this becomes dangerous is when we are only thankful when things feel good. And if we allow ourselves to get real for a second, when things don’t feel good, when they hurt, or when we are tired, opening our Bible and getting with Jesus sounds exhausting. This is why it is referred to as a sacrifice of thanksgiving on so many occasions in Scripture (Psalm 116:17, Hebrews 13:15, Psalm 50:14). Therefore, we must acknowledge that hallelujah isn’t there for the sole purpose of making us feel good.
In his letter to the Romans, Paul warns the people not to get comfortable in the patterns of this world, but to be transformed by the renewing of their minds so that they could receive and discern God’s perfect will for their lives (Romans 12:2). The same stands true for us in 2021. If we enable ourselves to fall into a thankless pattern of stagnancy, if we come unexpectant, void of true worship and pursuit of the Lord, we open the door and set out the welcome mat for heartache.
To cease our expectations of the Lord is a dangerous place to be. We have to first be transformed, renewed, willing to let the Spirit fall on fresh, cultivated—ready, soil—no one puts new wine in old wineskins or a new word in a complacent heart.
Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert (Isaiah 43:19).
For the LORD comforts Zion; and makes her waste places and makes her wilderness like Eden, her desert like the garden of the LORD; you and gladness will be found in her, thanksgiving and the voice of song (Isaiah 51:3).
And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ (Philippians 1:6).
If you are still reading and have heard nothing else, please hear me when I say: Jesus didn’t spend thousands of years divinely appointing people to fill the pages of a book with empty promises.
He is a gentleman. He is always on time. He is trustworthy. He desires to do a new thing in us if we would only let Him.
Then he said to me, "Prophesy to the breath; prophesy, son of man, and say to the breath, Thus says the Lord GOD: Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe on these slain, that they may live." So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived and stood on their feet, an exceedingly great army (Ezekiel 37:9).
My prayer today is that we would call out to our dry bones, expecting the Lord to breathe life and a new word into them. That we would WAKE UP our hallelujah! That we would believe that He is more than able to quench the deepest thirsts of our hearts and that He will be faithful to see to the end the work He has started in us.