Tuesday, August 30, 2011

A connection between scripture work and worship


Worship remains a broad term in the minds of most. If it were possible to extract what we honestly think of worship, our answers would differ significantly. The reading, studying, or mediation on scripture both sharpens worship and sets it on fire. I am currently studying Hebrews 9 for a message I’m preparing to give next week. It’s a part of scripture I have quickly read through in times past so that I could get to the “good” stuff. However, I have been surprised, I should not have been, that I find myself burning with new worship toward God through my meditation on material that previously had seemed like background without much meaning. (It's possible that you need more background to follow what this text is talking about, but I'm taking the risk to throw it at you as is.)
Hebrews 9:1–7 (ESV)  Now even the first covenant had regulations for worship and an earthly place of holiness. For a tent was prepared, the first section, in which were the lampstand and the table and the bread of the Presence. It is called the Holy Place. Behind the second curtain was a second section called the Most Holy Place, having the golden altar of incense and the ark of the covenant covered on all sides with gold, in which was a golden urn holding the manna, and Aaron’s staff that budded, and the tablets of the covenant. Above it were the cherubim of glory overshadowing the mercy seat. Of these things we cannot now speak in detail.
 These preparations having thus been made, the priests go regularly into the first section, performing their ritual duties, but into the second only the high priest goes, and he but once a year, and not without taking blood, which he offers for himself and for the unintentional sins of the people.
Why does thinking about this passage move me to worship? The precise details of how God instructed worship in the temple to take place impresses on me the holiness of God and my own sinfulness. This is especially true when I ponder verse 7-8 and their description of the priests entering into the holy of holies only one time per year. All of this sets up a contrast with how wonderful the good news about Jesus who made one sacrifice for all time and then sat down at the right hand of the father. Lingering over these verses doesn’t give me new information about God, but it presses their significance onto my heart in a fresh way that generates worship.

Serving effectively as a worship leader, requires a growing worship life.

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