Friday, October 5, 2012
Holiness of Worship
od possesses many characteristics and God also shares some of His characteristics with music. The Lord himself is a very Holy God and the characteristics of God are also Holy. Everything that the priests did was to be conducted in the holiest way a human could obtain. In fact, the high priest himself was, in a way, distinct in the sense that the high priest could only be from the line of Aaron, there could be no physical defects and even what was worn by the high priest was in great detail. In the book of Leviticus, we read of the tremendous detail and the numerous distinctions in the different sacrifices. A trespass offering was different from a sin offering or a meat offering. Distinctions are important to the Lord because He is a very Holy God and demands to be kept separated from all that defiles. The high priest, the animals that were sacrificed and even the type of linen in the clothes the high priest wore during those sacrifices were to be Holy and because God is a Holy God, He wants his people to be Holy. The Lord says “Be ye Holy for I am Holy.” The word Holy means to set apart and the book of Leviticus reveals tremendous amounts of information about the holiness of God and the very specific commandments He gave His people because of His holiness. These commandments were to be obeyed and revered because God was and is to be obeyed and revered. To disobey God’s commandments and to be irreverent when worshipping God, is sin. In Leviticus 26:2, the Lord commands his people to revere his sanctuary and later on in the New Testament, the Lord reveals to His people that they themselves are the temple of God, where the Holy Spirit dwells. We read in the Bible of how God reacted when someone disobeyed His commandments or was irreverent in their worship. The worship that is commanded of the One, True, Lord is not to be taken lightly and the Bible reveals, quite honestly, frightening consequences for not doing things the way the Lord wants them done. In the Old Testament, Nadab and Abihu were killed by the Lord for worshipping THEIR way.
“And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took either of them his censer, and put fire therein, and put incense thereon, and offered strange fire before the LORD, which he commanded them not. And there went out fire from the LORD, and devoured them, and they died before the LORD.”
In the same way, the music that believers engage in needs to be distinct from the world and holy unto the Lord. Music has a powerful message and when and if we choose to represent the gospel or different characteristics of God through music, then we need to choose music that is consistent in representing that God-like message. Most music that is said to be representing a God-like message has a lot of inconsistencies and that in itself is an opposing message to who God is. There are many concepts of what worship is today and let me share something found from one churches website regarding their view of worship.
"It’s foundational to our church. When we join together to sing and worship, we create an outward expression of what’s going on in our hearts. We realize that one worship style doesn't fit everyone, so we worship in many different ways – traditional, contemporary, and in between. We might worship through music, drama, technical arts, dance, choir, the visual arts… or something new entirely. At… it’s all about authenticity. That’s the one common element of all of our worship styles.”
The Lord demands to be worshipped HIS way. It’s folly to think, just like Nadab and Abihu, that we can be casual about our worship and to think that we can create a worshipful atmosphere towards the one, true God. The Bible also tells us in Jeremiah 17:9 that “the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” Believers do not even know what is in their own hearts and so how do we express worship? Reading the above quote tells us that churches desire to express worship on their own terms, instead of how the Bible commands. We need to turn to God’s Word for the answer. Later on in Leviticus, the Lord gives very specific instructions to the high priest in order to conduct the sacrifices. Nadab and Abihu suffered the deadly consequences of worshipping the Lord, their way. Some might be thinking that was in the Old Testament and in the church age, the Lord would never be that forthright. In the book of Acts chapter 5, Ananias and Sapphira were killed for lying and this was during the church age. The Bible tells us that when we worship or serve the Lord, it needs to be with reverence and godly fear. (Hebrews 12:28) In The Old Testament, the Lord set forth many rules and restrictions of how He was to be worshipped, but in the New Testament, the Lord demands a higher form of worship from his children.