February 08, 2007

Successful Worship

Leviticus 9:22-24

The glory of the Lord appeared to all the people. Leviticus 9:23


Is worship successful because you sing contemporary hymns? Have a traditional liturgy? A friendly and entertaining preacher? Doctrinal preaching?

Israel's first worship service was successful because God was there and God accepted the offered sacrifice. God was pleased, and the people rejoiced.

"If only our worship were like that all the time!" we might say. But Israel's worship was not always so dramatic. Day after day the priests kept the burnt offering going and received other sacrifices. Every week they observed the Sabbath, and every year they celebrated great feasts. Worship was exacting, repetitive work--and yet God was there, accepting their worship.

After the days of Aaron, God appeared again in great glory in Solomon's temple (1 Kings 8:11), but when the people turned away, God's glory left them (see Ezekiel 2-12). Many centuries later, when God's glory appeared outside Bethlehem one night, only a few shepherds were amazed. Jerusalem itself and the temple's worship team were unwelcoming (Matthew 2:1-12; John 1:11). Only Simeon and Anna waited faithfully, patiently--and they praised God for his great salvation (Luke 2:25-38).

Patient, faithful, and devoted worship is successful worship. The Lord has come. Worship him. Pray that he will come again--quickly.

Grant your servants peace, O Lord, for we have seen your salvation. Strengthen us to serve you faithfully and patiently--and please, come, Lord Jesus. Please come again. Amen.

About the author — Arie C. Leder

Dr. Arie C. Leder is the Martin J. Wyngaarden Senior Professor of Old Testament Studies at Calvin Theological Seminary in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He previously served as pastor at Ebenezer Christian Reformed Church, Trenton, Ontario, and with Christian Reformed World Missions in Latin America. He teaches courses on the Pentateuch and on historical books of the Old Testament.

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