Read His Words Before Ours!
It’s happened a wonderful amount of times to my heart.
This sense of total abandonment to something bigger, grander,
more glorious than I can imagine.
I’ve stood in large worship centers, filled to the brim with people, and it’s as if a giant wave, like one gracious, incredible embrace, flooded my soul.
I’ve sat in my living room, my small group friends gathered close, while children wiggled and tiny voices raised with adult ones, “We love you, Jesus. You are good. You are good.”
I’ve shared communion with believers, washed the feet of my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, I’ve stood in tiny churches in Mexico and the inner city, I’ve sat at my kitchen table as we’ve sung or prayed together, I’ve knelt at the front of my church,
and each time I’ve felt the same awe-full embrace.
God With Us.
It’s as if touching the untouchable God.
This is worship.
I’ve also gone running because the stress at home was too high, so I ran to flee.
I’ve screamed at the same God.
I’ve begged to know why.
I’ve raged that I don’t understand.
He allows the screaming, the pent-up fury, and then He whispers.
He whispers truth.
And though I’m tempted to fight back, I’m reminded how good and gracious my God is.
I’m reminded of Scriptures that state the truth about His character, and about me and my limited perspective. Steadily He woos me back, until my feet stop and I’m face down on the pavement with tears of humility and awe at the beautiful tenderness of my God.
This too is worship, deep worship.
I didn’t start in humility.
I didn’t start with tears of intimacy and awe.
It was a process, a drawing in, a mutual knowing.
Worship was always intended to draw us deeper.
As we’ve studied the nuances of the Old Testament tabernacle, we’ve seen parallels to the New Testament, we’ve seen the handiwork and creative design of a God who has never been random, and we’ve seen His heart more clearly.
We’ve seen His love evidenced beautifully and the vast lengths He went to,
just to rescue us and bring us near.
We’ve seen that His heart was never about our performance,
but about a tender, loving, deep and intimate relationship.
And so, we come to Tabernacle worship where we find an incredible pattern,
a rhythm, a dance, an invitation to come deep, to know Him, be fully known,
and be drawn in to worship!
Our friend, Tawnya, did an amazing job helping us understand all the purposes behind all the pieces of the Tabernacle. (Check out her Journey here!)
Taking that same model, let’s walk through as if we were worshippers coming to sacrifice to Yahweh.
We enter the gates.
We sacrifice and confess at the Bronze Altar.
We are cleansed and forgiven at the Bronze Basin.
Moving into the Holy Place, the priest is invited to worship at the Table of Showbread and the 7-Branched Lampstand.
Then, gloriously, there is an encounter with Yahweh Himself at the Ark of the Covenant in the Holy of Holies with the High Priest, once a year on the Day of Atonement.
While much is different between the Old Testament sacrificial system and the wonderful fulfillment Jesus brought in the New Testament, this biblical model of worship is an open invitation for each of us to be drawn in to encounter the One True Living God!
We no longer need to make sacrifices,
as Jesus died once and for all, spilling His precious blood for every single sin, small and great.
1 Peter 1:18-19
We no longer are required to rely on a High Priest to intercede for us,
as Jesus Himself sits at the right hand of God interceding for us.
We no longer need to wait for the annual Day of Atonement to encounter the Living God in the Holy of Holies,
as the very Spirit of God lives and dwells right inside of every believer.
1 Corinthians 3:16-17
But the model is the same.
When I sat in my living room with my small group friends, I had entered simply by being present. I had cleared my calendar and I had prioritized that evening, setting it aside for worship.
My sacrifice in each instance of worship was my heart, as I recognized anew that I couldn’t do it all, didn’t have all the answers, didn’t have all the solutions, and needed a Savior at every point.
Whether I was running and screaming to the Lord, or sitting still waiting for His presence, or standing with a congregation, arms flung wide in expectation,
my heart was the necessary sacrifice.
When the sacrifice is truly brought, no strings attached, laying our hearts openly and brokenly before the King of Kings, His presence greets us, His forgiveness overwhelms us, His peace and His cleansing deeply wash away all sin and shame and fear.
This is true worship.
And unlike our Jewish brothers and sisters of the Old Testament,
and because of the Holy Spirit living inside of us,
true worship automatically begets a real encounter with Yahweh, the One True Living God.
It simply doesn’t get better, my friends.
To worship the Maker, as we were designed to do, following the rhythmic dance He created,
encountering Him, in all His glory, is priceless!
I challenge you to follow this Tabernacle model next time you sit alone in your quiet time, or stand in church, or engage with your family.
Worship is one thing you will never regret!
Embracing God’s fullness in our lives is rooted in scripture and memorizing His word is vital to our continued growth and depth with Jesus. Tap and hold from your mobile device to download this week’s verse and make it your phone’s lockscreen!