Read His Words Before Ours!
When I first read the book of Leviticus and how Israel was to worship God I thought, “Good grief, the Israelites didn’t have time to do anything but make sacrifices.”
But then I realized . . . we were created for God’s glory (Isaiah 43:7) and are called to glorify Him through lives of worship. My heart is pricked when I think about how lightly I take worship. Has it become something we do out of habit? Or only on Sundays? Shouldn’t it be a lifestyle?
In her book, 7 Feasts – Finding Christ in the Sacred Celebrations of the Old Testament, Erin Davis speaks of spiritual amnesia. Oh! How easily we forget our sinfulness and God’s redemptive plan. But God had a plan from the instant He flung the stars into place to redeem His people and cure their spiritual amnesia. “By following God’s commands to stop, reflect, worship, and sacrifice, these memories become the very fabric of their faith. His invitation was for them to interrupt regular activities to rest and remember how He has met every desperate need they had.” (Whitney Capps, First 5)
In studying Leviticus and Hebrews together, I learned how the sacrificial system of worship laid out in Leviticus pointed to God’s wonderful plan of redemption through Jesus Christ.
Two frequent offerings made as part of the sacrificial system were the fellowship/peace offering and a burnt offering. The burnt offering, such as a lamb without blemish, would be offered up in completeness, as a fragrance to God for the forgiveness of sins. (Leviticus 1:10-13) The fellowship offering indicated communion with God, offered willingly from a heart of gratefulness and devotion. (Jay F. Guin, The Tabernacle, Worship, and the Christian)
Today, we know these sacrifices pointed to Jesus, the ultimate sacrifice for our sins! Hebrews 10:11-18 (The Message) explains, “It was a perfect sacrifice by a perfect person to perfect some very imperfect people. By that single offering, He did everything that needed to be done for everyone who takes part in the purifying process.”
King David offered these sacrifices when they brought the Ark of the Covenant into Jerusalem. (1 Chronicles 16) The Ark, which represented the presence of God, had been captured by the Philistines years earlier. (biblestudytools.com) The Ark’s return must have been a glorious celebration!
After the sacrifices, David used familiar psalms to praise God and encourage the people to worship the Lord. David’s song gives us a great template for worship today! Maybe it would sound like this:
Awake, my soul, to sing the glories of God and King!
Bless the Lord, O my soul!
Worship His majesty, for He is worthy!
Testify to love and how I got saved, because His grace still amazes me.
We will remember the works of His hands!
Alleluia, alleluia, for the Almighty reigns.
Tell me the stories of Jesus I love to hear!
How one day, He’s coming, O glorious day!
After this joyful celebration, the people went home to bless their own households. Whitney Capps explains, the people weren’t “just to reflect on God’s faithfulness; they were to rehearse it and live it again and again by telling their children and grandchildren about these stories of real-life faith.” Worship was to be carried to their homes and families.
Theologian and pastor R.C. Sproul stated, “Specifically, God requires heads of households, like good shepherds, to lead their families into green pastures. God expected Abraham to ‘command his children and his house after him to keep the way of the LORD.’ (Genesis 18:19) Consider also the example of Cornelius, who was ‘a devout man and feared God along with his whole household.’ (Acts 10:2) It is no surprise that when [the apostle] Peter came to Caesarea to preach the gospel, Cornelius rallied his household to attendance. ‘We are all in the presence of God to hear everything you have been commanded by the Lord.’” (Acts 10:33) (Family Worship 101)
This still applies to us today.
According to A Simple Guide to Family Worship, worship of God begins with family.
Our homes are a training ground for future generations. (Proverbs 22:6)
Scripture implores us to teach our children about God. (Psalm 78:4-7)
The Lord rebukes those who haven’t offered worship in their homes. (Jeremiah 10:25)
Israel’s great leader, Joshua, took responsibility for his whole family, declaring, “As for me and my family, we will worship the LORD.” (Joshua 24:15)
In the New Testament, fathers are instructed to nurture their children spiritually. (Ephesians 6:4)
Timothy, a leader in the early Church, was living proof that our training leads to salvation. (2 Timothy 3:14-15)
The challenge before us is to engage our families in a lifestyle of worship. Whether we are raising children within our homes or are part of the larger family of Christ-followers, we can live out King David’s example of family worship!
We can share meals together,
those with plenty freely offering to share with those who have need. (1 Chronicles 16:2-3)
In thankfulness, we can recount and praise His faithfulness,
the testimony of one building the faith of another. (1 Chronicles 16:7-36)
Together, we can “minister regularly” (1 Chronicles 16:37) to the Lord in worship,
through lives built around and upon “[giving] thanks to the Lord
for His faithful love endures forever.” (1 Chronicles 16:41)
In doing so, we make our very own fellowship offerings.
Let’s follow Joshua’s lead, declaring, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”
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!