Bow Down In Worship
"O come let us worship and bow down, let us kneel before the LORD our Maker! For he is our God, we are the people of his pasture and the sheep of his hand. (Psalm 95.6,7 RSV)
What did the Psalmist mean in this call to worship? Established as a nation and beginning to gather forms and traditions he recalled to their minds Israel's experience in the wilderness recorded in Exodus 17 to which Paul referred in 1 Cor. 10. There was contrast between the stately and orderly life in a royal city and the problems of a nomadic people in the desert. Yet the worshipper had the same kind of problems in focussing on the one true God, the Maker and Controller of all things. Our common task, our social round, even among the Lord's people now, readily distracts and become more important than things of God.. May be we do not kneel in our worship or use a specialized building. But there is such a need to focus upon God in thankfulness for His goodness. Worship needs to be something that pervades every aspect and detail of life not just at set times and places. Nevertheless, when brethren in Christ join their hearts and voices in worship, there surely must be a place for the outward observance as well as that within the heart and mind.
Jesus promised that where two of three are gathered in His name, there He is with them. So that our preparation and willingness to be in the right place at the right time may be more pointed if we remember that we have an appointment with the Lord, and that our gathering together is best when we are neither hurried nor noisy. We may not do the obeisance of former days but we ought to 'bow our hearts' in prayer. We are coming into the presence of the King of Kings, Lord of Lord, He who is aware of all that we do and say and think. The worship of God is so important in our spiritual growth that our singing, reading, speaking, listening, studying, must all take place recognizing Him in whose presence we stand, sit or kneel. Outward observances, delving into the meanings of text, various forms of praise, will be of little use unless we are constantly aware of Him in our midst. We may enjoy certain types of music, ancient or modern, we may revel in the meanings of words but everything must work towards the beauty of His character in patience, gentleness and compassion. No amount of eloquence or scholarship can replace real worship before the throne. What a tremendous responsibility rests on those who lead our worship as they feed the minds of those who should be focussed upon God.
Commentaries, concordances and translations will only be of spiritual value if our study results in the transformation of our behaviour into the likeness of Jesus. Nothing can replace prayerful meditation upon the Word in preparation for public worship. We need to allow the mind to absorb the full value of several scriptures rather than fill our memories with a vast number of references. As we quietly ponder the Word of God, He can speak to us through it, sometimes revealing that what we regarded as an important interpretation did not show us what we ought to be doing now.
As we enter a place of worship is it the norm for us to be aware that we are in the presence of God? Do we quietly and reverently acknowledge the mighty privilege we enjoy? Or do we come and go from the hallowed courts hardly realizing where we have been and with whom we have had to do? Where the true spirit of worship prevails there never can be division and discord. Let us not be so full of our own important issues, personal or Biblical that we miss the real blessing.