In First Samuel 20, one reads of the threatening of David's life by Saul. In verse one, David posed the question to Jonathan "What have I done? what is mine iniquity? and what is my sin before thy father, that he seeketh my life''? In verse three, David stated that there is "but a step between me and death''. Therefore, this chapter reveals that David proposed a plan in order that Jonathan may know assuredly that his father did intend to bring evil upon David (v. 5-7). David said in verse five, "Behold, tomorrow is the new moon, and I should not fail to sit with the king at meat: but let me go, that I may hide myself in the field unto the third day at even''. David told Jonathan that if Saul missed him to tell him that David "earnestly asked leave'' that he "might run to Bethlehem his city: for there is a yearly sacrifice there for all the family'' (v. 6). David proposed that if Saul said in response to his absence that "it is well'' then he would be in no danger. However, if the response was that of anger, then David would be in danger. Jonathan agreed to this proposal and promised to give David the response of Saul (v. 12-13). Verses 14-17 teaches of the covenant between Jonathan and David. Finally in verse 18 Jonathan said to David "Tomorrow is the new moon: and thou shalt be missed, because thy seat will be empty''.
In this article, we desire to apply the statement "thou shalt be missed because thy seat will be empty'' to those who absent themselves from the worship of God because of choice. The Hebrew writer commands that we not forsake "the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching'' (Heb. 10: 25). We desire to make it clear that we are dealing with the forsaker. We are not directing this article to those who are absent from the worship services because of sickness or reasons beyond their control. Therefore, with these things before us, let us notice exactly who indeed misses those whose seats are empty in worship services.
God Misses Those Whose Seat's Are Empty.
In studying the Bible, one will notice that God desires and yea, commands that His children be faithful (Rev. 2: 10; Matt. 6: 33; Col. 3: 1-2). Faithfulness to God involves both work (1 Cor. 15: 58) and worship (John 4: 24). It has often and correctly been said that "we enter to worship and we depart to serve''.
The Bible teaches we are to worship our Creator (Rom. 1: 25; Acts 10: 25-26; Rev. 22: 8-9). If we fail to worship God, as we should, then on the Judgment day the eunuch will rise up and condemn us (Acts 8: 27). Let us be of the same attitude and disposition of David when he said "I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the Lord'' (Psalms 122: 1). Yes, erring brother or sister, God misses you when your seat is empty! Indeed, the "Father seeketh such to worship Him'' (John 4: 23).
Christ Misses Those Whose Seat's Are Empty
In opening the word of God, one reads that Jesus while on earth met with men to worship God (Luke 4: 16-20). Furthermore, when Satan tempted Jesus in Matthew chapter four to forsake God and to worship him, Christ replied "Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve'' (Matt. 4: 10).
The Bible teaches that we are to come together on the first day of every week to worship God (Acts 20: 7). The Bible, our standard, also teaches that Christ is in the assembly spiritually (Heb. 2: 11-12). Those who forsake the assembling of the saints cannot truthfully say as did Christ "I must be about my Father's business'' (Luke 2: 41-52). Yes, Christ misses those whose seat's are empty!
Faithful Brethren Miss Those Whose Seat's Are Empty
Just as God and Christ misses those whose seat's are empty, faithful brethren are also in sorrow for their absence. Some forsakers may speak the statement of David "no man cared for my soul'' (Psalms 142: 1-7). They may blame the church for their unloyal and unfaithful behavior. However, faithful brethren do care for the souls of men (Matt. 16: 26; Gal. 6: 1). Yes, faithful brethren do miss those whose seat's are empty!
Up to this point we have noticed that God, Christ, and faithful brethren indeed miss those whose seat's are empty. Now we want to discuss briefly "what you miss when your seat is empty''. Those who forsake the worship services of the saints on Sunday miss: a lesson from God's word (Acts 20: 7; 2 Peter 3: 18); praying to God (1 Cor. 14: 15); singing spiritual psalms and hymns to God (Eph. 5: 19; Col. 3: 16); giving as you hath prospered (1 Cor. 16: 1-2); and the Lord's Supper (1 Cor. 11: 23-25). Those who forsake other worship assemblies miss ample opportunities to worship God and to "grow in the grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ'' (2 Peter 3: 18).
Finally, what else will you miss when you forsake the worship of God? You will miss heaven! John, the beloved apostle, said that those who will inherit heaven will be "before the throne of God'' and will "serve him day and night in his temple'' (Rev. 7: 15). Therefore, those who fail to worship God here will not be privileged to worship Him in the hereafter.
Yes, those who forsake are missed. God, Christ and the faithful miss you ! Do you miss us?
By Howell Bigham
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