It’s Sunday morning and I’ve been reading and reflecting on the topic of authentic, God-pleasing worship… Here’s the issue: Can I approach God any old way I want to, or do I need to prepare my heart and life in order for my worship to please Him? Will he accept and honor the haphazard – whatever seems appropriate and available at the moment, or does He expect me to enter His presence worshipfully on His terms, with a prepared heart and life? This is important to me today, because it’s Sunday – “the Lord’s Day” – and before long I am going to be gathering with fellow Christians for… You’ve got it – WORSHIP!
I think my Bible reading this morning helps provide an answer to that question…
David, with sincerity of heart I think, after a long time decided it was time to return the exiled Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem. So in his mind, the most natural and practical way was to get an ox cart, put the ark on it, and make the journey from Kiriath-jearim to Jerusalem. Somewhere along that journey, the oxen stumbled and the Ark teetered and almost came off the cart. A man by the name of Uzzah, reached out to steady it, and the Bible says, “The anger of the Lord was kindled against Uzzah, and he struck him down because he put out his hand to the ark, and he died there before God.” (1 Chronicles 13:10) The problem? Although their worship was sincere, they were not doing things God’s way! (Check out Exodus 25:10-16 and Numbers 4:15)
David learned a painful lesson… We cannot approach the Living God any old way that seems practical and convenient… Worship must be done God’s way!… So David, a little later tried God’s way…
“Then David said that no one but the Levites may carry the Ark of God, for the Lord had chosen them to carry the Ark of the Lord and to minister to Him forever… And he said to them, ‘Consecrate yourselves, you and your brothers, so that you may bring up the ark of the Lord, the God of Israel, to the place that I have prepared for it. Because you did not carry it the first time, the Lord our God broke out against us, because we did not seek him according to the rule.’ So the priests and the Levites consecrated themselves to bring up the ark of the Lord, the God of Israel. And the Levites carried the ark of God on their shoulders with the poles, as Moses had commanded according to the word of the Lord… So all Israel brought up the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord with shouting, to the sound of the horn, trumpets, and cymbals, and made loud music on harps and lyres!” (From 1 Chronicles 15)
So this Sunday morning as I approach the time when I will worship with fellow Christians, I want to take some time to prepare my heart for worship! …Some time for cleansing my heart of any sin, some time for reflection on what Christ did for me on the cross to make access into God’s presence possible, some time for thanksgiving, some time taken to become aware of the great privilege I have!
“Therefore, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water!” (Hebrews 10:19-22 ESV)