is to prostrate or humble person/self as we
behold, dwell, focus on the presence of His Highness
within us …
It is the continual expression of our love and adoration
that results from an intimate relationship with our beloved who is …
JESUS CHRIST !!
* * * * * *
For so long I have pondered on the manner in which worship has been and still is looked upon. I hear familiar sayings such as:
"Excuse me, I need to worship for a few minutes, it's the only time I have each week" or
"I love the Sunday morning worship" or "It's okay if you can't come during - the - week service, our 'real' worship time is on Sundays.
From my own observations, I became sad on Sundays, I saw so many dressed up and 'ready for a good time in worship'. Meanwhile hardly anyone attended the mid - week services and even if they did, the desire to worship was not there. Somehow this did not appear right in my eyes because I found that the same excitement I experienced on Sundays was present at all other services. This experience among many others led me to question - WHAT IS WORSHIP? As God started to faithfully reveal the answer, I was blessed. I pray that as you receive this, you too will be blessed as you realize that ...
WORSHIP IS A DAILY LIFESTYLE!!!
In the Old Testament, worship speaks of a prostration of oneself unto a higher authority or royalty; to do reverence (Strong's 7812). In the New Testament, we see worship bearing the meanings - to revere, to adore, to kiss (Strong's 4352, 4576). As I compared these two meanings, I asked God to reveal to me the true meaning of worship. This is what he said:
"WORSHIP within us …It is the continual expression of our love and adoration that results from and intimate relationship with our beloved who is …JESUS CHRIST !!
Therefore, worship is EVER present in an EVERlasting relationship with Christ. Oh hallelujah.
Another comparison between the Old and New testament is that on the subject of the ALTAR which has been and still is the place where worship is expressed. But, what is the difference between the altar then and now?
In the Old Testament, we see that the altar is a place carefully chosen or built:
"An altar of EARTH ..." (Ex 20:24)
"And if thou wilt make me an altar of STONE, thou shalt not build it of hewn stone ..." (Ex 20:25)
"And thou shalt make an altar of SHITTIM WOOD, 5 cubits long, 5 cubits broad; the altar shall be foursquare and the height thereof shall be 3 cubits." (Ex 27:1)
"And the GOLDEN altar ..." (Ex 39:38)
" ... an altar of WHOLE STONES" (Josh 8:31)
"Behold the PATTERN of the altar of the Lord ..." (Josh 22:28)
In these verses and several others, we se a PRECISION with which the altar was built - it was not carelessly thrown together but because it was in honor of GOD ALMIGHTY, it had to be perfect to the last cubit. Also, when the place of worship was being chosen, there is evidence again of the care with which this was done.
"... went up OUT OF THE CITY to worship yearly and sacrifice unto the Lord of hosts in SHILOH ..." (1Sam 1:3)
"... unto JERUSALEM to worship" (Zec 14:16)
"... shall worship the Lord in the HOLY MOUNT at Jerusalem" (Isa 27:13)
Everything that these people did was by the law and thus was extremely structured. Prior to the renting of the veil, man sought God in many external ways. But we know what was done in those days was a TYPE or SHADOW of that which was YET TO COME !!! (Heb 8:4,5)
Once the altar was meticulously constructed, the gifts or offerings of sacrifice were placed upon it - involving the slaying, killing, slaughtering of animals:
... offered burnt offerings and sacrificed peace offerings of oxen unto the Lord" (Ex 24:5)
"And thou shalt take the breast if the ram ... and wave it for [an] ... offering before the Lord" (Ex 29:26)
"Moses burnt the whole ram ... and offering made by fire unto the Lord" (Lev 8:21)
"... then shall they offer bullocks upon thine altar" (Ps 51:19)
In general, worship was done at a particular time, in a specific place and very often for a direct purpose.
We also notice that the building of the altar and the gathering of the animals were all human efforts to achieve something spiritual. There were periodic meetings with God by a people who were not yet privileged to enter boldly into His presence and enjoy an intimate relationship with Him.
The type and shadow brethren indicate that we must STILL use the altar to worship and we must still place gifts upon that altar. Furthermore, it is still important HOW we construct that altar, WHAT we offer as gifts and sacrifices, WHERE we should be WHEN we worship and hallelujah we will still BE humbled (as we fall on our faces) at the altar as we worship before Him. The DIFFERENCE is that there is the elimination of OUR physical efforts and works. As we worship, we will glorify Him not only when we see fit to do so but we shall give "the glory due His name" (Ps 96:8). Let is closely examine what the following types and shadows represent;
The precise construction of the altar
The gifts and sacrifices offered
The specific place where we should be when we worship
The idea of falling on our faces as Joshua did in Joshua 5:14
Firstly, the altar is no longer a physical, well - designed structure but it is existent within us - a place where we invite His highness to dwell in us (Heb 2:12, Is 12:6). Let us note here that even though the altar in the Old Testament was built to meet with an unknown God, a God that was somewhere on the outside, it was built with great precision. Therefore brethren, how much more care and precision should there be now as we prepare an altar that is used to worship a God who liveth and reigneth in the very midst of us?!! Our altar, Saints, is our lives - how we live, what we say and do that reflects our spiritual standing before God. Revelation 11:1 states:
"Rise and measure the temple of God and the altar and them that worship Him"
We know that in the natural buildings, the altar is WITHIN the temple or the church.
In the spiritual, it is the same but the difference is that OUR BODY is the TEMPLE of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, within this temple/body, exists the altar/place where we worship Him:
"Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is within you ... therefore glorify God in your body and in your Spirit which are God's [belong to God]" ( 1Cor 6:19-20)
Oh glory! If, as the altar is within the temple so the Holy Spirit is within our body - then where do we worship? We are accustomed to worshipping at the altar which is within the physical church/temple. Therefore in the spiritual sense, we worship where the Holy Spirit dwells within our body. And, like the olden altar, we have to keep ourselves pure - spirit, soul and body - according to the pattern God had dictated (Matt 5:48).
Secondly, the gifts and sacrifices (animals) offered were types or shadow of the slaying/sacrificing of ourselves, our flesh, today so that gifts of his nature could be offered up - gifts of love, joy, peace, healing, longsuffering, teaching, holiness, righteousness and others that purely manifest His nature and thus cause a people to return unto Him. Please note that these gifts are not physical but spiritual and hence could only BE because HE IS!!!
"Oh worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness [or with the GIFT of holiness] " (Ps 96:9)
" ... present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed unto this world, but ye transformed by the renewing if your mind, that ye may prove [demonstrate] what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God" (Rom 12:1, 2)
Thirdly, the specific place (e.g. the Holy Mount of Jerusalem which is mentioned in the Old Testament) is now significant of where we are in God. Beloved, we cannot worship Him anywhere, meaning, in any old lifestyle we are living. Again, we are worshipping not an unknown God but one with whom we share an intimate relationship; one who has chosen to deposit all that He is within us:
"The Spirit of truth dwelleth with you and shall be in you" (John 14:17)
"For the Father loveth the son (you and me) and showeth him ALL things that himself doeth ..." (John 5:20)
He is the One who had rent the veil thus giving us the full opportunity to boldly and confidentially enter into the most Holy place - How privileged we are precious saints of God. But we are taking advantage of this privilege, of this opportunity of an everlasting, fulfilling relationship with Him? Friends, He does not care whether we go to Jerusalem or Judea to worship Him. He has given us new directions and specifications of where we worship - and this is in the place of SPIRIT and TRUTH. Oh alleluia.
When the woman of Samaria said to Jesus:
"... I perceive thou art a prophet. Our fathers worshipped in this mountain; and ye say that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship ..." (John 4:19)
"Woman, believe me, the hour cometh when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem worship the Father ... But the hour cometh and NOW IS, when the TRUE worshippers shall worship the Father in SPIRIT and in TRUTH: for the Father seeketh such to worship Him!!" (John 4:21, 23)
Oh just rejoice and praise His Holy name.
Fourthly, the type and shadow of falling on our faces is that of humility in the light of Him. Please note that there is nothing wrong with physically falling on our faces before Him - the difference now is that it is no longer a mere symbol of respect to someone in authority (some do this in the presence of their natural King). It is not even a mere act of reverence anymore. The point is that it has nothing to do with HUMAN action or thought - it is an INWARD bowing that automatically happens as we BEHOLD ALL THAT HE IS IN THE MIDST OF US!! As we exalt his loveliness, His holiness, His righteousness, His beauty, His perfection - we cannot help but bow self which is seen for all that is in the light of His TRUE HOLINESS. This inward bowing may or may not result in the physical bowing of our bodies and totally totally depends on the individual's experience - the only importance is that self must and will fall as He rises in the midst of us. Glory!! I had some experiences while praising God at my piano or in my bed and I HAD to get up and physically prostrate myself before Him as my body could no longer withstand His power and might. There were other times, when instead of prostration, I stood upright and my hands lifted as I exhaled who He is within me. Do whatever comes to you but understand WHY you are doing it or WHAT exactly is happening to you - it is nothing that you are or did but who HE IS and what HE HAS DONE.
"He must increase but I must decrease" (John 3:30)
Therefore brethren, once Christ lives and reigns within us we experience a daily relationship with Him. We will be humbled and experience a gush of love that demands expression in worship - as we use words, songs, instruments, mediation etc. to accomplish this.
Whether you are alone or with fellow believers, continue to be aware of your relationship with Him. Think for a moment of someone who is very near and dear to you - the more you think of that person, the more you want to express your love in one way or another. In the same way, as you dwell on Jesus Christ, your beloved, you ARE going to want to adore, revere, worship Him. Saints, you do not express love to your loved ones periodically, or on Sundays only etc., so why should you with Jesus? And, I assure you that NO relationship on this earth can surpass the eternal joy and happiness you feel when you KNOW, truly KNOW your beloved JESUS CHRIST!
I ask you to do away with the 'special' Sunday worships that cause you to ignore the need for daily worship - as you daily behold Him individually or with others. Saints, we can lift hands, dance, shout, sing until we faint but it will NEVER bring about worship!! Not many of us realize this and as a result despite the gifts we are offering on the altar - whether they please God or not, whether we are in the right place or not, we still PHYSICALLY have a 'good' time to 'worship'. Beloved, the Lord has burdened my heart to share with you that:
Praise cannot birth worship but is WORSHIP that births praise, alleluia!!
You see, as we relate to Him, our lives ARE going to change as a result of this relationship and it is from this intimate union with Christ that worship or the expression of our love will flow and hence praise is birthed as we find ways to express what we feel.
Saints, I reiterate that the altar (our lives) has to be right, our gifts have to be right, the place where we are in Him has to be right and finally as we behold Him true humility is birthed within us.
I pray that WORSHIP will have a new fresh meaning in your lives as you:
"WORSHIP THE LORD IN THE BEAUTY OF HOLINESS"
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