Worshiping Up Close and Personal

I have designated this month ‘God Pride Month’ in our church. I will post a series on worshiping God up close and personal. We are going to boast and brag about our God, our heavenly Father, our Savior King, our Redeemer, our Messiah, our mediator of a new covenant. We are going to proudly speak His Name in praise and worship as we focus on Him and worship Him!  

In Exodus 19 we find Moses about to go to Mount Sinai to meet with God. We know from reading Exodus 19-40 that Moses has a powerful, fateful encounter that sets the course of history for hundreds of years. He receives the covenant of the Law…all of the legal requirements for spiritual and social righteousness that would guide man’s relationship with God.  It was a frightful, earthshaking experience for Moses and especially for the Hebrews. They were so filled with fear they were glad that only Moses was called to the mountain. They were glad that God was not going to talk to THEM!  They told Moses ‘Speak to us yourself and we will listen. But do not have God speak to us or we will die.’(Ex. 20:19) That encounter, followed by the giving of the Law, set the stage for mankind’s worship of God until the time of Jesus. 

The Law prescribed construction of a Tabernacle, celebration days, and described the form and process of worship. Within the tabernacle was the ark and in the ark was the Testimony (the 10 Commandments). It was here (the Holy of Holies) that God’s presence would reside. A curtain provided visual and physical separation between the presence of God and the people. Only one person, the high priest, could enter God’s presence and, then, only once a year on the Day of Atonement following the required blood sacrifices. Hundreds of years of worship can be summarized by the words of Ex. 20:21; the people remained at a distance, while Moses approached the thick darkness where God was. Mankind’s worship experience was relegated to worshiping at a distance.

We know from scripture that Jesus’ death on the cross changed the covenant and, therefore changed man’s relationship with the Father. We know that the moment Jesus gave up His spirit on the cross, the earth shifted and all things became new in terms of our relationship with the Father. And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit. At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook and the rocks split. (Matt. 27:50, 51)   The words from Hebrews 12 summarize our new relationship in worship via the work of Jesus; a work that opened the door to intimate, personal and corporate worship of the Father.
You have not come to a mountain (Mt. Sinai) that can be touched and that is burning with fire; to darkness, gloom and storm; to a trumpet blast or to such a voice speaking words that those who heard it begged that no further word be spoken to them., because they could not bear what was commanded: ‘If even an animal touches the mountain, it must be stoned. ‘The sight was so terrifying that Moses said, ‘I am trembling with fear.’ But you have come to Mt. Zion, to the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the living God.  You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the judge of all men, to the spirits of righteous men made perfect, to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel. Heb. 12:18-24

We live and worship under a new order; freely approaching the Father knowing He put Mt. Sinai in the past and Mt. Zion in our present. We enter His presence boldly and confidently. We worship accompanied by thousands of unseen angels in a heavenly scene. We worship as a church, a corporate body of believers, the ‘church of the firstborn’ whose names are ALREADY written in heaven.  YOU and I now worship with confidence and freedom approaching the throne of grace in joy because our spirits have been ‘made perfect.’  Thank you Father! You are awesome, oh God!

We no longer worship ‘at a distance’. Today’s experience and our reality of God’s presence should be up close and personal! We come to Him freely. So, enter His presence with thanksgiving and joy today! Brag about Him. Boast of His greatness and His grace as you worship Him!!

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