I was recently challenged concerning the lyrics to a song we sing at church called “Come, Now Is The Time to Worship” – particularly the line “Come, now is the time to worship / Come, just as you are before your God”. This person’s concern was that for salvation we certainly come just as we are and God purifies us through faith in Jesus. BUT for worship – if we are coming to worship the holy, all-powerful God of the universe, we shouldn’t hastily rush into His presence without first preparing ourselves. I thought that was a pretty good point.
So, it immediately came to mind this morning as I started Exodus in the chrono read and we are introduced to Moses. In Chap 3 we find the famous calling of Moses by God himself by way of the burning bush. (See? and you thought I’d never get to the picture…ye of little faith). What struck me was that God himself instructs Moses in how to be proper and respectful in his presence:
4When the LORD saw that he turned aside to see,(A) God called to him(B) out of the bush, “Moses, Moses!” And he said, “Here I am.” 5Then he said, “Do not come near;(C) take your sandals off your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.”
In a sense, Moses was instructed that since he was in the presence of God himself he could not be there “just as he was” – he needed a physical action to display the understanding of what it mean to be in the presence of the most High God.
When we come to worship – to gather together with the body on Sundays and worship the same God that appeared to Moses in the burning bush, why then would we not stop to pause and prepare our hearts properly? Let’s face it, we are all running 900 miles an hour and sometimes we literally run into the pew (maybe a few minutes late) worship is already happening and we just join in, the lingering thoughts of the business of the morning, or what lies ahead in the afternoon still floating thru our head.
If you are a worship leader, I would strongly urge you to lead your people to prepare their hearts. Pause before or during the set to just be silent for a few moments. Then lead with a song that focuses on our position before God, confession of our heart-wandering, and dependance on Christ. As they direct their thoughts to God and quiet their hearts, ask God to search them (Ps 139:23-24)
For the “worshippers” – consider this before you come into worship – I would encourage you to be aware of the risk of running into the King’s presence without searching our hearts and providing proper perspective of who we are in light of a Holy God.
Like Moses – the place you are standing is holy ground – not because it’s a church, but hopefully because God is there thru the Holy Spirit.