This Sunday was so much fun. I've relished the collective sense of anticipation to see God move in our family each week. Yesterday I answered Lauren William's question, "what am I supposed to do during worship?" We looked at the Tabernacle of Moses to give us a template for how to worship the Lord (Exodus 25-27; Exodus 35-40).
So, what does this have to do with our worship? It shows us what to do on Sunday.
Thanksgiving - The Gate - Psalm 100:4 says we "enter into His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise". It ain't easy to worship each week. Sometimes we flat out don't feel like it. One of the ways we combat this tension is through thanksgiving. Gratitude marks a believer (Colossians 2:7) and it helps us guard the atmosphere of our minds. When you are thankful, you don't have time to complain. Practically this means when we start worship, start thanking the Lord for specific things in your life. You can say it out loud, write it down or meditate on it.
During the week thankfulness looks like keeping a journal about what you are grateful for. When I get in a rut I keep a thanksgiving journal, listing 20 things each day I am grateful for. Not only that, I bring friends and family into it. At dinner, my family will often share with one another one thing we are thankful for and why. Then we rejoice with what the other shared. Joy and gratitude go hand in hand.
Praise - The Altar - The altar is where the priests would make atonement for sin in order to inter into the Holy Place. Jesus became our lamb, our atonement for sin (John 1:29; Hebrews 10:10; 1 John 2:2). At the altar, we praise the Lord. We give Him a sacrifice of praise (Hebrews 13:15). Praise means to confess Jesus is Lord out loud. So, we sing! We shout. He is enthroned on the out loud praise of His people (Psalm 22:4). When we begin to praise out loud His rule becomes apparent. Praise is usually high and lifted up, more upbeat, more joyful and it leads us to the next part of worship:
Worship - The Holy Place - After the priests made atonement, they entered into the Holy Place. Using the tabernacle as a template, after the altar (and praise) we move into worship. Worship is much more intimate than praise. Worship means "bow down". When Moses met with God in Exodus 34:8 he bowed his head before the Lord. This is something that requires vulnerability and humility. This week whether in group, with your spouse or with your friends, you can bow the knee as an act of worship to Jesus. Having practiced gratitude and praise, worship becomes more natural. And your physical posture proceeds presence. Sometimes we don't *feel* anything because we are not giving out loud praise and humble worship to God. Therefore, we position our body in a place to receive from the Lord.
I found this quote from Andrew Murray in Humility very helpful.
When God created the universe, it was with the one object of making the creature partaker of His perfection and blessedness... The life God bestows is imparted not once for all, but each moment continuously, by the unceasing operation of His mighty power. Humility, the place of entire dependence on God, is, from the very nature of things, the first duty and the highest virtue of (a person).
Worship puts our hearts in position to receive the very life of God.
Thanksgiving, praise and worship - this is template to help us worship the Lord. Next week we will learn about what happens in the most holy place (the hot spot of God's presence).