Proclaim with me the LORD's greatness; let us exalt His name together. Psalm 34:3, HCSB
As we prepare for this Lord's Day. this scripture reminds us of the purpose of our gathering. It is not "to be fed" as we often hear. Rather, it is to worship the awesome and glorious God we serve. It is not about the style of worship in the church we attend, it is our obedience to God and exalting Him. We should worship/honor all that God is, His qualities, character, and attributes - all the things embodied in His Name.
When the psalmist said: "The nations will fear the name of the Lord" (Ps 102:15), did this mean they feared the letters in the word "Yahweh"? No, they feared the Lord God Himself.
The Model Prayer of Jesus to His disciples (What we refer to as the Lord's Prayer, though I consider THE Lord's Prayer as John 17 when He prayed for US) teaches us to approach God with a sense of awe/fear/reverence. "Our Father....." Who cares for us with true tenderness. Our Father, who meets our every need. "Hallowed be Thy Name...." We are to be praying, may Your attributes, Your nature, Your character, Your reputation, Your person, Your whole being be honored.
Truth is, BEFORE we start asking what we want from God, we need to have the right perspective of God. We are commanded to "be holy..." because the Lord our God IS HOLY! As we approach Him, let us recognize who He IS and admit who we are and pray that God will help us to become blameless, just, and HOLY. Ask God to help us abstain from every evil, speak the truth in love, and do justly towards ALL people. Ask Him to help me walk in the straight paths, sing the new song He has placed in my heart with incorruption. Ask Him to forgive my sin and enter into His presence in a way that allows me to truly and genuinely experience Him!
Several years back I heard a pastor relay how most people "come to church." His crude analogy - in my opinion - helps us to understand why we often fail to experience worship when we gather. It is NOT the music (congregation or special) that interferes with our worship experience. It is not the preacher's "dry sermon," age. or attire. It is not the attitude of others or the comfort of the pews that affects our ability to worship Him. Rather, it is our unconfessed SIN and selfish desire that keeps us from experiencing the fullness of God as we gather to worship.
Read through and meditate on my paraphrase of what this preacher said: "We come to church, not opening the Bible since we left last week. We have not uttered His name unless we used it in profanity. We have not gone to Him in prayer unless there has been a tremendous need during the week. We have not shared the Gospel with one lost soul, not giving any expression of thanksgiving for His blessings in our lives. We've lied, gossiped, cursed, spread falsehoods about others, spent hours reading or viewing pornography, gotten drunk with our friends on Saturday night before we came to church. And now here we sit, demanding that "the preacher bless us with the Word of God and enrich our lives" and to do it before 12 o-clock, because we have places to go and things to do. But then he said the clincher that rings loud and clear almost 20 years after I heard him say it:
"What we offer to God almost every Sunday morning is an open cesspool. I can stand up here and pour expensive perfume in that open cesspool from now to when Jesus comes AND IT WILL STILL SMELL LIKE AN OPEN CESSPOOL."
As we worship Him today (for EVERY day belongs to the Lord and He is to be worshiped), let's examine our hearts and lives. What are we offering Him? He deserves our best--our all---may we submit to Him and allow Him to work in our lives so that we can serve and honor Him better every day!