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May 30, 2010

Worship by God's Design

Passage: Exodus 15:1-19:8

Preacher: Eric Stapleton

Series: Charting the Course

Category: Worship

Keywords: worship, exodus, music, lucifer, satan, moses, golden calf, praise

Summary:

What is worship? What does God ask of us in worship and why? Where does music fit into it all? What needs to happen before I can worship? We hope to answer these questions as we look at when God started worship for his people as a nation and how it applies to the church today.

Detail:

Worship by God's Design

 

Today, we are going to talk about worship. The video was kind of funny. It brings to mind a lot of the more practical things that we actually may think about when someone mentions worship. Not what we really believe about worship, but sometimes what we picture in church or feel self-conscious about when it comes to thinking about worship in church. My hope is to dispel all of that and get to the heart of what worship really is about. To that end we’re going to look at the inception of corporate worship—when God sought to teach His people as a body of believers about worship. Because it’s different isn’t when you’re dealing with one child on individual basis…like God may have dealt with Abraham or Jacob then opposed to a whole nation. As we saw in Genesis, God really seemed to give a lot of grace to the patriarchs. When dealing with larger groups of people as a body, even a nation it’s different. Those of you who have large families or come from a large family probably understand this better. In the God’s economy with His people making their exodus out of Egypt, God wasn’t just dealing with a nation of individuals, He was setting up his kingdom through human leaders, namely Moses and the Levitical priesthood. That’s just a frame of reference to where we are and maybe why God all of sudden seems more direct and particular about what he wants from his people as worshipers. First things, first though.

 

How many people here their sins have been forgiven them? Great. Now what? Let's talk about it. Well, as an oft used analogy, let’s go back to the nation of Israel in Exodus as symbol of the church. Israel has been set free from the bondage of slavery. It really happened but it also serves as a way of looking at our own spiritual journey in Christ. Christ died for our sins on the cross and he, continually, sets us free from the bondage and slavery of that sin through his ever conquering resurrection from the dead. He has given us the Holy Spirit from God that we might live free of sin. But why? Why does God set Israel free? Why does God set us free from our sin? Let's go to the text.

 

Exodus 3:12 (NIV)

12 And God said, “I will be with you. And this will be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you will worship God on this mountain.”

 

Up until this point in history the most important concept for the people of God to understand is that worship should be reserved for the God who created everything and not merely the created things themselves. God shows them that through his deliverance of the Hebrews from the slavery under the Egyptians, that He is beyond nature, sovereign over it and the symbols of that nature that Egypt has put forth. God does this miraculous ways, by using the plagues to expose the Egyptian gods of nature as powerless. (the gods of the river, agriculture, the weather, fertility, magic and finally the sun). Some may ask, "why didn't God just smite the Egyptians with one fell swoop and free up the Hebrews." Because it wasn't just about setting them free. God wasn't just about setting them free from the affliction of slavery, He was setting them free to worship Him. Application point, don't want to pass it up. God, through Christ Jesus didn't just set you free from your sins so that you would no longer suffer that bondage. God set you free from sin so that you could worship God.

 

Romans 8:2 (NASB95)

2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.

 

Why, in the New Testament does Paul say, he set us free? Well, if you read the book of Romans, the whole thing, I recommend this, you see why. Starting in chapter eight, Paul gives a very thorough understanding, first on what we are set free from and how before we were saved, we couldn't please God (vs 2-8). The apostle goes on to talk about how there is no condemnation anymore and how we have the resurrection and victory. We cannot be separated from God. This is all in chapter eight.

Then he spends three chapters 9-12 setting up a contrast between believers in Christ and Israel who rejects Christ. The apostle Paul points out that the gentiles, non-Jewish people, have access to God through Christ even though the nation of Israel were God’s chosen people:

Romans 10:19–21 (NASB95)

19 But I say, surely Israel did not know, did they? First Moses says,

“I will make you jealous by that which is not a nation,

By a nation without understanding will I anger you.”

20 And Isaiah is very bold and says,

“I was found by those who did not seek Me,

I became manifest to those who did not ask for Me.”

21 But as for Israel He says, “All the day long I have stretched out My hands to a disobedient and obstinate people.”

 

 

Paul continues to point out that all is not lost for Israel, that even though they walk in darkness, they will return to faith in God even through Jesus Christ. In the middle ages many of the reformers wrote off Israel as dead to the promises of God because there was no evidence. They were no longer on the map as a nation. They were “Christ-killers” and actually, unfortunately, persecuted. Then, 1948 came and Israel is back on the map. Romans 9-12 was there all along. Israel, as a nation hasn’t returned to God yet (they can only do that through Christ) but God is faithful. What a cool God! He keeps his promises in spite of our unfaithfulness. Paul takes these four chapters starting in chapter 8 to set us up for chapter 12:.

 

Romans 12:1–2 (NIV)

Living Sacrifices

12 Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. 2 Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

 

Cliff Notes: "Because you were set free and shown God's mercy, worship him mind, body and spirit.

 

Just like God told Israel when they were on their journey to the promised land.

 

Deuteronomy 6:4–5 (NIV)

4 Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 5 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.

 

 So, we've already told about how God delivered the Hebrews through many plagues, miracles and destroying angels. We talked about the Passover and how God wanted them to remember how He delivered them from bondage and to celebrate it. We talked about how God's desire was to give them a promised land, a land of their own. We've talked about in order to get to the promised land, they had to take their act on road. And now they’re  on that road. They've gathered all their supplies, food and provision for the journey, gathered their families by clans and they are on the road. How long will the journey be to receive all that God has promised them, a land flowing with milk and honey?

 

Exodus 3:8 (NIV)

8 So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey—the home of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites.

 

 

How long will it be before they reap the benefits of the goodness of God? That depends. Before they are ready for that, they need to know what it is to worship a holy God, not the gods of the Egyptians, not the gods of the current residents of the Promised Land.

Application point here. For us to be in that fruitful place where we are reaping the joy and goodness of God, bearing fruit for God and being a true blessing to the world around us, we must know what it means to worship the God who set us free from our slavery to sin.

 

Let me say it again. In order for us, to be in that fruitful place where we are reaping the joy and goodness of God, bearing fruit for God and being a true blessing to the world around us, we must know what it means to worship the God who set us free from our slavery to sin.

 

What is worship?

Well when Israel first sees their enemies, the Egyptian armies, get vanquished by God doing a body slam on them with the Red Sea…what was their reaction?

 

Exodus 14:31 (NIV)

31 And when the Israelites saw the great power the Lord displayed against the Egyptians, the people feared the Lord and put their trust in him and in Moses his servant.

 

Fear. Awe. And then after they were able to close mouths and think about what just happened, they wrote a song and they sang it in response to the great things that God had done.

 

Exodus 15:1–18 (NIV)

The Song of Moses and Miriam

15 Then Moses and the Israelites sang this song to the Lord:

“I will sing to the Lord,

for he is highly exalted.

The horse and its rider

he has hurled into the sea.

2 The Lord is my strength and my song;

he has become my salvation.

He is my God, and I will praise him,

my father’s God, and I will exalt him.

3 The Lord is a warrior;

the Lord is his name.

4 Pharaoh’s chariots and his army

he has hurled into the sea.

The best of Pharaoh’s officers

are drowned in the Red Sea.

5 The deep waters have covered them;

they sank to the depths like a stone.

6 “Your right hand, O Lord,

was majestic in power.

Your right hand, O Lord,

shattered the enemy.

7 In the greatness of your majesty

you threw down those who opposed you.

You unleashed your burning anger;

it consumed them like stubble.

8 By the blast of your nostrils

the waters piled up.

The surging waters stood firm like a wall;

the deep waters congealed in the heart of the sea.

9 “The enemy boasted,

‘I will pursue, I will overtake them.

I will divide the spoils;

I will gorge myself on them.

I will draw my sword

and my hand will destroy them.’

10 But you blew with your breath,

and the sea covered them.

They sank like lead

in the mighty waters.

11 “Who among the gods is like you, O Lord?

Who is like you—

majestic in holiness,

awesome in glory,

working wonders?

12 You stretched out your right hand

and the earth swallowed them.

13 “In your unfailing love you will lead

the people you have redeemed.

In your strength you will guide them

to your holy dwelling.

14 The nations will hear and tremble;

anguish will grip the people of Philistia.

15 The chiefs of Edom will be terrified,

the leaders of Moab will be seized with trembling,

the people of Canaan will melt away;

16 terror and dread will fall upon them.

By the power of your arm

they will be as still as a stone—

until your people pass by, O Lord,

until the people you bought pass by.

17 You will bring them in and plant them

on the mountain of your inheritance—

the place, O Lord, you made for your dwelling,

the sanctuary, O Lord, your hands established.

18 The Lord will reign

forever and ever.”

 

Exodus 15:20–21 (NIV)

20 Then Miriam the prophetess, Aaron’s sister, took a tambourine in her hand, and all the women followed her, with tambourines and dancing. 21 Miriam sang to them:

“Sing to the Lord,

for he is highly exalted.

The horse and its rider

he has hurled into the sea.”

 

How did they compose that song on the spot and then sing it together? They didn’t even have Power Point. I’m thinking it must have been responsive, that is God’s first human corporate worship leader, Moses, composed the song from inspiration and the people echoed the verses. Or, maybe this is just the condensed version. It might not have even started right away. I’m thinking that right after it happened they just stood there looking at the sea for a little while in various postures. Some with their jaws hanging open. Some weeping. Maybe some already trying to think of words to say. I think this singing probably went on and on for a while. It just took a few minutes to read it here, but I’m thinking this event could have gone on into the night and the next day with some verses probably didn’t make the cut like Pharaoh being a big doo-doo head. They left that one out.

 

The people responded vocally through song, Miriam used an instrument, and there was dancing.

 

There are three elements in the song that I want to draw attention to: The song speaks of what God has done,

The horse and its rider

he has hurled into the sea.

Who He is,

 

He is my God, and I will praise him,

my father’s God, and I will exalt him.

3 The Lord is a warrior;

the Lord is his name.

 

And what He will do,

 

13 “In your unfailing love you will lead

the people you have redeemed.

In your strength you will guide them

to your holy dwelling.

17 You will bring them in and plant them

on the mountain of your inheritance—

the place, O Lord, you made for your dwelling,

the sanctuary, O Lord, your hands established.

18 The Lord will reign

forever and ever.”

 

Basically, faith, hope and love going on here. Recognizing God’s love for them, declaring their faith in Him, and hope for what God will do in the future.

 

That’s how they responded. Was that worship? I wrestled with this one for a while. The first response seems to be yeah, it is worship. The people of God are recognizing the worth ship of God. They are exhibiting a positive response through thought, word and action based on what they know of God. But even with all those elements that I drew your attention to earlier it is premature because they don’t know God yet, they know of Him and they have seen what He can do. They don’t know what He wants from them as worship. This is important. It’s not about feelings. Let me explain. Remember, back in Exodus 3, God said, When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you will worship God on this mountain. That would be Mount Horeb, Moses and the burning bush, etc. See the movie. I hear some of you, “Eric, you’re splitting hairs here, aren’t you?” Good question, I’m glad you asked. No, it’s very important. Not just to me, but to God…let me to show you.

 

You know what? at this point they haven’t gotten to the mountain of God yet. God has still more  to show them. You see, even back then, from God’s point of you, it’s not just about a song. He has more to show them. This is important. It’s not just about the happy feelings we get when things go our way and the connection we have with God ‘feels right’.

 

It took them three months after they left Egypt to get to the mountain of God. So, was God off by three months? Or maybe he meant, “on the way to the mountain you worship God on this mountain.” No and no.

 

God was not up in heaven saying in response to the song,  “Man, that’s great. You guys are way ahead of the game…I was off by couple o’ months. Who’d o’ thunk it? At this rate I might not even hafta give them the 10 commandments.” No, God has more to show them before they are to worship in truth.

 

They don’t get to The Mountain, that is Mount Horeb until chapter 19. They’re only in chapter 15 right now. In the chapters between the song and that time, they travel a bit and learn a little bit more about following this God who they are confident will lead them. In order for worship to happen for anything, for any god, there needs to be a context. You worship God, which god? In chapter 15, they don’t know the God their singing to. Abraham knew Him, Isaac and Jacob even had an idea of Him. These Israelites here have been saturated by the Egyptian culture and their worship for four hundred years. Starting in c

hapter 15, God shows them who He is to them. and in chapters 20 and on, He shows them how to worship. It’s like this, I say to you all, hey let’s do some karate! And Charlie says, “Hey, I know Karate!” and he puts on some white pajamas and starts going, Hyah! That’s not Karate. It resembles Karate, but it’s not. Poor Charlie probably doesn’t know the difference between a hand sword and a vertical punch, which part of the foot he needs to make contact with or how to properly defend himself if another were to throw a little something something back in his direction. Charlie’s statement of “I know Karate” could be based on a movie or a cartoon…it’s not based on instruction.

 

God needs to show Israel how to worship, first.  Because if they don’t wait to learn how to worship a Holy God, they will get it wrong and bring down God’s wrath. This, in fact does happen. In the meantime, He’s not sitting up in heaven waiting for them to get it wrong. He wants to show them what worship is and he takes the next several chapters to teach them.

 

In chapter 15, God teaches them a little about obedience. There is a situation where they’ve been traveling for a few days and

Exodus 15:23–24 (NASB95)

23 When they came to Marah, they could not drink the waters of Marah, for they were bitter; therefore it was named Marah.

24 So the people grumbled at Moses, saying, “What shall we drink?”

 

What happened to, “You will bring them in and plant them

on the mountain of your inheritance”

 

Exodus 15:25–26 (NASB95)

25 Then he cried out to the Lord, and the Lord showed him a tree; and he threw it into the waters, and the waters became sweet.

There He made for them a statute and regulation, and there He tested them.

26 And He said, “If you will give earnest heed to the voice of the Lord your God, and do what is right in His sight, and give ear to His commandments, and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you which I have put on the Egyptians; for I, the Lord, am your healer.”

 

 

Wait a minute here, His commandments? Up to this point, he hasn’t given them any commandments except for the one about celebrating Passover. What he’s doing here is giving them object lessons of who He is and how they are to regard Him. He’s setting them up to receive the law.

 

Chapter 16, He is their provision. He sends them manna and quail to eat and establishes the Sabbath for them. Food and Rest and self-control. They are to gather the manna 6 days a week but rest on the seventh day. Some get greedy though and God gets a little ticked. They are not used to being reliant on God. They are used to task masters and getting their own provisions.

Exodus 16:27–29 (NASB95)

27 It came about on the seventh day that some of the people went out to gather, but they found none.

28 Then the Lord said to Moses, “How long do you refuse to keep My commandments and My instructions?

29 “See, the Lord has given you the sabbath; therefore He gives you bread for two days on the sixth day. Remain every man in his place; let no man go out of his place on the seventh day.”

And, folks, he’s only given two commandments so far, celebrate Passover, and keep the Sabbath. He doesn’t smite them at this point.

 

Chapter 17, Again with the water. This time there is not water not even bitter water and they are all, “is God with us or not. I don’t see any water, do you see any water? No water. No water, no God.” They are in the God classroom. God provides the water. They also learn that God is their banner, their defender. The Israelites are attacked by the Amalekites and God wins the day through Moses holding up that staff of his.

 

In this journey beyond the Red Sea to Mountain Sinai, they are learning that to worship God, means total reliance on him.

 

Chapter 18, They learn about God being a God of order. They spend all day going to Moses for each and every problem to solve. Moses sets up a provisional government to help maintain order. John talked about that a few sermons ago on Mother’s Day. Even though that chapter is more about Moses finding a more efficient way to manage his calling and his family, an underlying truth is the people were learning that they needed a system for resolving conflict. Moses sets up a provisional government, but there is still no law to undergird it. We’re in chapter 18 folks! Where’s the law?

 

Finally, Chapter 19, they get to the mountain. And God says, “wait.” A few weeks ago, John talked about how God addressed the people and basically asked for a commitment to follow Him based on the uh…well, the contents of that song they sang a few chapters back, “the deliverance, the redemption all that.” He asks them for a commitment. He didn’t ask them for commitment when brought them out of Egypt. He didn’t ask for this commitment when He destroyed Pharaoh’s armies. He asked for this commitment after bringing them on a three month journey through the desert when all they really could rely on was him. He was faithful! So, He brings them to the mountain and say to them, through Moses,

 

Exodus 19:4–6 (NASB95)

4 ‘You yourselves have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings, and brought you to Myself.

 

The bearing on eagle’s wings was their trek through the desert, the brought you to Myself is them standing in the shadow of the mountain like he promised them. God is on the mountain.

5 ‘Now then, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be My own possession among all the peoples, for all the earth is Mine;

6 and you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words that you shall speak to the sons of Israel.”

 

Only after he gives them an experience of Himself does He ask for a response. And what do they say?

 

Exodus 19:8 (NASB95)

8 All the people answered together and said, “All that the Lord has spoken we will do!” And Moses brought back the words of the people to the Lord.

 

They are a little better informed now. This past three months for them was like the granddaddy of spiritual retreats.

 

So Moses goes up to the mountain and gets the law from God…lots of law and instruction about living together—civil law, property rights, festivals,

 

He comes back down, gives them the law including that little ditty about how not worship. Don’t bow down before idols or make graven images. Moses still hasn’t told them how to worship, just how not to…this is important. He goes back up the mountain for further instructions on . . . worship the order of worship and the construction of the place of worship.

 

It was important to God. It was worth waiting for. God took his time revealing all He needed to reveal to Moses. He didn’t even start talking to Moses while he was up there for a week. And for chapters 24 – 31, God gives instructions on worship, the tabernacle, the priesthood, the offerings, everything else relating to worship. It takes while and the people get impatient. Now he had given them all they needed…the law was there, they knew how to get by, the provisional government was in place. But they think maybe Moses is dead. So what do they do, they decide to worship. But they haven’t been given instruction on worship yet. They just know how to sing songs. So, what do they do? They do what they know from Egypt, they make a graven image, a golden calf and they bow down to it.

 

Exodus 32:1–6 (NIV)

The Golden Calf

32 When the people saw that Moses was so long in coming down from the mountain, they gathered around Aaron and said, “Come, make us gods who will go before us. As for this fellow Moses who brought us up out of Egypt, we don’t know what has happened to him.”  

2 Aaron answered them, “Take off the gold earrings that your wives, your sons and your daughters are wearing, and bring them to me.” 3 So all the people took off their earrings and brought them to Aaron. 4 He took what they handed him and made it into an idol cast in the shape of a calf, fashioning it with a tool. Then they said, “These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt.”

5 When Aaron saw this, he built an altar in front of the calf and announced, “Tomorrow there will be a festival to the Lord.” 6 So the next day the people rose early and sacrificed burnt offerings and presented fellowship offerings. Afterward they sat down to eat and drink and got up to indulge in revelry.

 

They couldn’t wait for it. God had a plan for worship. He told Moses, they will worship me on this mountain. God gave Moses instructions about the tabernacle, offerings, the utensils, etc. All this was instruction about worshipping God. This system of worship was based on a perfect sacrifice, offerings, prayers, and obedience but root of worship was something else and still is that…I’ll get to that in a few moments, but first I want to address a burning question.

 

Now many of you are probably thinking, when is he going to start talking about music? Should I? God didn’t. That whole time when Moses was up there on mount Sinai which is above Mount Horeb, where God told Moses Israel would worship Him, nary a word was mentioned about songs, power point lyric slides, hymns, slow songs, fast songs, everybody participating together, organs, guitars, keyboards, nothing.

 

Which isn’t to say that music has no place in worship, just not at this point in Israel’s history…that is it is not up there on God’s priority list of what God qualifies as true worship.

 

Music doesn’t even really make to the worship context until the time of guess who? King David—poet and inventor of some musical instruments.

 

OK, so does it mean that music isn’t that important to God? No. In fact, I think it shows that music and specifically music in worship is very important God.

 

Check it out, earlier who did I point to as being the first human corporate worship leader for God. Yeah, Moses. But, actually, it’s been suggested that God had a previous worship leader. He got fired. Know who that was?

 

I don’t either. But, some theologians have suggested that it was Lucifer otherwise known as Satan. The reason why? In Isaiah, the prophet, as the voice of God takes up a lament over the king of Babylon

Chapter 14

11   Thy pomp is brought down to the grave, and the noise of thy viols:

            The worm is spread under thee, and the worms cover thee.

      12   How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning!

            How art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!

      13   For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven,

            I will exalt my throne above the stars of God:

            I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north:

      14   I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.

      15   Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit. [1]

 

Even though this is poetic language…God isn’t merely addressing the king of Babylon but the spiritual influence/controller behind him.

 

Also in Ezekiel 28 New King James Version:

2 Son of man, take up a lamentation upon the king of Tyrus, and say unto him, Thus saith the Lord God; Thou sealest up the sum, full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty. 13 Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created. 14 Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire. 15 Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee. 16 By the multitude of thy merchandise they have filled the midst of thee with violence, and thou hast sinned: therefore I will cast thee as profane out of the mountain of God: and I will destroy thee, O covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire. 17 Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness: I will cast thee to the ground, I will lay thee before kings, that they may behold thee. 18 Thou hast defiled thy sanctuaries by the multitude of thine iniquities, by the iniquity of thy traffick; therefore will I bring forth a fire from the midst of thee, it shall devour thee, and I will bring thee to ashes upon the earth in the sight of all them that behold thee. 19 All they that know thee among the people shall be astonished at thee: thou shalt be a terror, and never shalt thou be any more. [2]

 

Again, it is very widely accepted among both Jewish and Christian scholars that these verses are not merely referring the kings mentioned in them, but are referring to none other than Satan. This interpretational method is consistent with other passages…King David in psalm 22 laments over his hands and feet being pierced and people casting lots for his clothing. Uh, this didn’t happen to David. David wasn’t crucified…that form torture was still few hundred years in the making. What is David talking about? Christ…his great, great, grandson. In an ecstatic moment, David receives a vision of something else. Same thing with Isaiah and Ezekiel. They start off talking about a particular person and God takes them in a different direction. The King of Tyre was never in garden of Eden and was never a guardian cherub.

 

The theory that the angel Lucifer was actually a great worship leader before God, is relatively recent and not widely accepted. It’s based in part on reference to the musical instruments in the King James translations. I think it’s also become popular because of the division that churches get into over musical worship. And yes, I could easily believe that a disgruntled ex-worship leader would want to thwart efforts of God’s current worship leaders…who would be….?

 

Us. Do see the poetry in this? Do you see the drama in it? Lucifer, God’s anointed guardian cherub bringing praises to God with music, replaced by man. No wonder Satan hates us. We were created to worship. We were set free from sin to worship God.

 

In any case, if you don’t accept that, and that’s OK, accept this though, the object of those prophetic laments was viewed by God as perfect in beauty because of the art, the precious stones and because of the music, the flutes, the tambourines...etc. He was cast down because of pride. What’s the opposite of pride? Humility. Submission.

 

This the basis of Hebrew worship and Christian worship is submission. As I think of some of my favorite praise songs they start out that way, “come let us worship and bow down, let us kneel before the Lord our God, our maker” “I will worship, I will worship, I will bow down, I will bow down,” In the song Blessed Assurance…the words “Perfect submission” is repeated in two of the verses.

 

The music. The music is the icing on the cake. The music is for after we submit.

 

Romans 12:1 (NIV)

Living Sacrifices

12 Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship.

 

In the song Blessed Assurance…the words “Perfect submission” is repeated in two of the verses: whose perfect submission? Who in here is perfectly submitted to God? Neither was the author, the author is referring to the perfect submission of Christ.

 

Submission. It’s not proper to sing love songs to God without submission to His role as God. Jesus is not your homeboy. He’s your Lord and Savior. Our submission to him is all that we can do. We can’t offer ‘personal holiness’ to God apart from Christ.

 

A few weeks ago, I mentioned that one of things that we do for health, that is to nurture spiritual health is to worship.

 

That’s what we were created to do, to glorify God, to worship.

 

“True Strength lies in submission, which permits one to dedicate his life, through devotion, to something beyond himself.”—Henry Miller

 

So, are you ready to worship? First, we need to submit. What is it that you need to submit to God in? Is there something he’s putting his finger on in your life where you need to submit? It could be a habit you need to give up, a sin to repent of, a relationship that needs mending, a phone call that needs to be made…you know.

 

Oh, Israel’s act of worship at the base of Mount Horeb was this:

 

 

Exodus 19:8 (NASB95)

8 All the people answered together and said, “All that the Lord has spoken we will do!” And Moses brought back the words of the people to the Lord.

 

That is worship, not complete, but it’s a start, the answer of a good conscience toward God in response to His revelation.

 

So, we’re going to pray together now. Like John said last week, at Mosaic we want to bring more prayer into the Sunday service. Last week we got a taste of that. We certainly plan on doing that again. Today, we’re going to do something a little different. We’re going to do a responsive prayer. I’ll read a line of prayer that ends in “Lord, in your mercy and you respond, , hear our prayers. Sometimes it’s kind of intimidating to go up and ask someone to pray for you and that’s cool, but I think everybody should pray…this is just another way to do it together.

 

Lord, Gracious Heavenly Father, we acknowledge as the supreme king of the universe. Lord, in your mercy,

 

Hear our prayers.

 

Our lives are temporary here on earth, please teach us to number our days aright. We submit our lives to you and ask that you reveal those areas that need your touch. Lord, in your mercy:

 

Hear our prayers.

 

We seek to magnify you but we often fail and come short. We confess those shortcomings, those sins, now. both what we have done and what we have left undone. Because of Christ’s blood, shed for us, we know we can receive forgiveness. Please forgive us our sins. Lord in your mercy:

 

Hear our prayers.

 

Lord, we ask for your wisdom and guidance not only for us but for those you’ve placed in authority above us. We ask that you give them wisdom and guidance and the ability to lead in a way that most glorifies you, President Obama, Our state representatives , Mayor Verner, pastor John and the fathers and mothers and school teachers of our congregation and city. Lord, in your mercy:

 

Hear our prayers.

 

We ask for healing of mind, body and spirit for those who are sick in our congregation and for those who are close to us. Lord in your mercy:

 

Hear our prayers.

 

We pray for the salvation of the lost, not just the nameless lost but those most dear to our hearts. Lord, in your mercy:

 

Hear our prayers.

 

Our  Father who art in Heaven…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



[1] The Holy Bible: King James Version. 2009 (Electronic Edition of the 1900 Authorized Version.) (Is 14:11–15). Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

[2] The Holy Bible: King James Version. 2009 (Electronic Edition of the 1900 Authorized Version.) (Eze 28:12–19). Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.