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Sunday, December 2, 2012

You ready for the first step?

There is a posture to worship we often do not consider, but as the holiday season is fast upon us, I'd like us to take a moment or two to just stop and reflect on the purpose and position of worship.  The psalms are great "stopping spots" for discovering words of encouragement, utterances of praise, and moments to just "rest" in adoration of our King of Kings and Lord of Lords.  This morning, let's consider the words of Psalm 95.  It begins with "Come, let’s shout praises to Godraise the roof for the Rock who saved us!
Let’s march into his presence singing praises, lifting the rafters with our hymns!"  Then it goes on to proclaim the "why" of worship.  It is always good to know the "why" behind our actions, isn't it?  

So come, let us worship: bow before him, on your knees before God, who made us!  Oh yes, he’s our God, and we’re the people he pastures, the flock he feeds.  (Psalm 95:6-7 MSG)  

The why?  "Because God is the best..." (vs. 3)  Jehovah, the unchanging one, is the best!  The one true God, creator of all things, the one who holds all things in the palm of his hand, and by whom all things are held together - he is the BEST.  When our psalmist uses this word, I think he means the most desirable!  There is nothing and no one else which can satisfy our deepest longings like he can.  As a matter of fact, no one knows our deepest longings quite like he does!  

The how?  We "come", "bow down", assuming a humble posture, "on our knees" before him.  Now, "posture" tells us much about a man's heart and mind condition, does it not?  Ever encounter someone in the throws of depression?  What is their "posture" like?  Head down, shoulders slumped, every movement seemingly a great effort, shuffling gait - not to mention the posture of their facial expressions and the lack of clarity in their eyes!  These are "tell-tale" signs - posture.  On the other hand, come across the one who has just come from a deep, intimate experience with God and you will see an entirely different posture.  Head high, joyful steps, exuberance in actions, and facial expressions reflecting the presence of the Almighty.  

In assuming a "posture" of worship, the first step is to just show up!  David says, "So come".  The first step out of our "funk" is often the hardest, but it is in "showing up" that we are in a position of having the weight of this world lifted from our already too burdened hearts!  Sometimes the hardest step is the most needed step!  David would not tell us to "come" if there was not a pull to "stay away".  It is only in approaching God's presence that healing can begin.  Distance is our adversary.  Closeness is our salvation.  Just sayin!

David does not leave us there - in fact, he tells us to "bow down".  First, we show up - we take steps toward God - then we remove the masks.  When we bow down, isn't this what we are doing?  There is an old word we seldom use anymore, but it speaks volumes - "prostate".  It means to "lay flat" - in other words, we are to put down the things we hide behind and get real with God.  This is where we get the term to "humble oneself".  It is a position of being stripped down and bare.  In the presence of a doctor, you remove your clothes in order to be examined, don't you?  In the presence of your God, should you expect any less?  It may not be a literal removal of clothing, but I believe God expects us to "get real" with him in worship.

The result?  We are fed!  As the sheep of his pasture, our needs are attended to in worship.  We follow, he leads.  We take in what he provides, leaving all other sources of "fulfillment" behind.  Worship is first and foremost about God.  What we bring to him is nothing more than ourselves.  As scarred, beaten up, and wounded as we are.  Yet, in this honest presentation of ourselves before him, in honor of his position as the one who holds all things in the palm of his hand (including us), we bow down.  In submissive honesty, we get real with God - he connecting with each beat of our heart and feeling each breath of our nostrils.  Sweetly caressed in his presence, it is only natural for the "creation" to begin to raise the voice in praise to the "Creator".  

Maybe we just need a good dose of worship during these days preceding Christmas celebrations.  God calls us to "come" - are you willing to take the first step?