..."and a highway shall be there, and it shall be called the way of holiness; evil minded people shall not travel on it, but it shall be for those wayfarers who are traveling toward God. (Isaiah 35:8, adapted)

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

True Worship & False Worship: Part 4B -Stimulated Worship?

(continued from the last post)

Being in the Presence of God changes us. It deals
with our flesh. When we come from worship our
hearts should be glowing in a blaze of holy fire.
The music should start to seem far away as we fix
our eyes on Him. Our flesh should be taking a
hard blow! I am thinking that if anything that
looks like worship does not in some way cause
our flesh to be dealt with, then we must wonder
if it is proceeding not from the Spirit of the
Lord but from another spirit, and not a holy
one, or at best, coming from our soul.

There is just too much external stimulation
going on in so much of what is called "worship."
By this I am not saying that our worship cannot
be a loud and joyful noise unto the Lord. Loud
does not make God nervous but we need to take
heed if He calls us noisy! God says, "Take thou
away from me the noise of thy songs; for I will not
hear the melody of thy viols. But let judgment
run down as waters, and righteousness as a
mighty stream" (Amos 5:23,24). God is after
right judgments, righteousness and right living
not just rousing choruses.

I can remember being in a beautiful cathedral in
Berlin, I believe. They were playing a beautiful
piece of classical music, the scene raised the
emotions, but I remember feeling like I wanted
to bolt out the door and run away, like something
unholy was happening. The woman who I was with
thought the whole thing was completely lovely.
We both had goosebumps, but for vastly different
reasons. Two people can play the exact same
piece of music and have it produce opposite
results, two people can listen to this same
piece of music and respond differently to it.

I am not against classical music, quite the
contrary. I say this to say that it is not
a particular kind of music that is the
problem, but the spirit that is
behind it. Even if we mean well, we can still
be being provoked in the flesh, by the flesh.
Does our worship lead us to a holy state of
life, to an entire life of worship or are we
back to our old selves by lunch time?

Worship should not go from the outer to the inner.
It must start from the inner, from our spirit
infused with the Holy Spirit. Our inner worship
can then join with an a compatible external form but
it doesn't go the other way around. Are we being
enticed into false "worship" or led into true worship?

When Moses was up on the mountain with God, Israel
quickly gave up on him and asked Aaron to make for
them another god to worship (Exodus 32).
If they had but learned to wait on the Lord perhaps
their idolatry could have been prevented. Aaron
fashioned a golden calf which entices them to false
worship. The flesh immediately rises up out of control.
It suggests that the people were engaging in unholy
debauchery (vs 25), that their worship had turned into
spiritual and fleshly lasciviousness. How quick is
our fall if we are led by the flesh! Their hearts had
caused an idol to be produced but then that idol
enticed them to sin.

Are we just giving people what they want in the arena
of worship? Are we playing upon one of our national
bylines?: "We just give people what they want, its not
our job to judge whether its good for them." Moses
understood that the honor of God's name was being
compromised by false worship. Are we compromising
His Name by how we worship?

Israel had ceased to worship in truth. Moses was
so angry that he ground the golden calf into dust,
spread it on the waters, and made Israel
drink it. What did this mean? Gold is a precious
thing. Israel should have been partaking of
a spiritual gold: worship of the True and
Living God. Instead, they worshipped a natural
gold, worshipped the creature rather than
the creator.

True worship, partaking of the spiritual gold
which is Christ, would have raised them up,
but now they must partake of their idol worship,
and watch the powerless, false god they created
pass through them and be defiled as it left them.
If this is disgusting it is because Moses
meant it to disgust.

Moses, as a leader, had to tear down the idol.
But what to do with an idol that could be
refashioned? Pulverize it into a million pieces,
then cause it to be publicly humiliated and
defiled. We must tear down our idols, pulverize
our identity with them, and repent for choosing
that which defiles and not choosing holiness.

When Jesus calls us to eat and drink Him it
is something spiritual, something pure and
holy. He raises us out of our flesh nature.
Moses' act of pulverizing the idol and
making Israel drink it, showed Israel that
what they partook of could not raise them into
God's Presence, indeed, it could only lower
and degrade them.

God can only accept worship that originates
from His Spirit. May we search our hearts
so that we might give Him a pleasing
sacrifice of true, spiritual honor and glory
and praise. May we give Him all of our life
in Spirit and in truth.

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