Humiliating Worship

This morning I woke up with King Solomon’s Temple dedication on my mind. It is clear from God’s response that the celebration was acceptable but what made it so?

Solomon made sure the Temple was built according to the specifications given to David. All the previous materials and workmanship were the best of the best. The priest consecrated themselves in preparation to go into that holy place. The priest, the people, and the King made sacrifices, too many to count. There was music and singing and praising the LORD. The LORD was the guest of honor and they made sure He knew that He was welcome.

Solomon stood on a scaffold to address the people. He could have said, “Look at what I’ve built. Look how grand I’ve made it. Instead he recounted the promises made to David by the LORD. He said the LORD had built the Temple and kept His word by making it His home. He viewed himself as an unworthy servant. Then he turned toward the Presence and laid prostrate. The people bowed low with their faces on the pavement. To an outsider this could appear very bazaar and humiliating. Seeing the mighty Solomon in such a public display. The priests should surely do this but the King? Solomon cared more about loving his God and being an example to his people than appearances. Can you imagine that day? All that singing and celebrating with a whole nation lying down before their God. Their God was worthy of all that and more. Oh that we would worship with such abandonment. That we would come before our God with one consecrated voice and lay ourselves low before Him. As a result God’s Presence overwhelmingly filled the Temple. Just thinking about experiencing that takes my breath. I have felt His Presence before which was overwhelming to me but nothing like that. I’ve wanted it and now I see I am the cause of not having it. I have work to do on my Temple and my worship. One of my spiritual sisters, Sharon, said to me today that we have strayed from graciousness to self-entitlement.

We say we know we don’t deserve His Presence, His blessings, His grace yet that is exactly how we behave. Yes we are The King’s children but we are priest(esses), servants as well. Servants bow down in complete abandonment. Let’s worship like Solomon did.

God’s Response To King Solomon’s Prayer

2 Chronicles 7:12 (NKJV)
12 ┬áThen the LORD appeared to Solomon by night, and said to him: “I have heard your prayer, and have chosen this place for Myself as a house of sacrifice.

After all the people had gone home, Jehovah appeared to Solomon in the night to speak to him one on one. The very first thing Jehovah said to Solomon was I have heard your prayer and have chosen this place. Basically, He said, Son you have done well and everything including your worship I have found pleasing. If that wasn’t enough he was about to find out what Jehovah’s decision was for each request.

Just as Solomon presented his request with “if-then” clauses, Jehovah responded. However, when I checked the Hebrew for “if” I discovered the word could also be translated “when.” Some Bible translations have that. This made an impact on me because in my world, “if” is a maybe and “when” is a certainty. For all of you who have been taught that Jehovah does not cause bad things to happen, read this section of scripture. This will clear up any confusion you might have.

2 Chronicles 7:13 (NKJV)
13  When I shut up heaven and there is no rain, or command the locusts to devour the land, or send pestilence among My people,

Notice Jehovah is saying when these things happen, He causes or commands it. He continues the statement with the scripture of my focus

2 Chronicles 7:14 (NKJV)
14  if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.

I will try to quickly go through the chosen key words to explain why I think there is so much more than I usually think about. The study aids I used were Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance, The Complete Word Study Old Testament-Zodhiates, and New Wilson’s Old Testament Word Studies

Called – to be called by the name of a person denotes the standing in a peculiar relation to him or being his property, his people, city etc.

Name- 1. The name is supposed to correspond to the nature of a person or thing; or express some qualities or circumstances relating to them 2. to act in a person’s name is to act by his commission or authority; 3. to call by name is to single our and appoint a person for any work, is eminently qualified for it, or as the object of special favor.

Humble – to bend the knee; hence to humiliate oneself

Seek – to search out that which is uncertain and doubtful, with the desire of obtaining, and with care and attention

Face – the part that turns; a face or surface. This Hebrew word is also translated Presence, or Present

I substituted these definitions and the scripture reads

If My people, who cry out and express my nature, qualities and authority in their behavior would bow down to humiliate themselves before me, to search out the uncertain with a careful attentive desire to obtain my Presence, and pray, turn away from their evil ways, then from heaven I will hear them, I will forgive them and heal their land.

So the questions I had to answer for myself were

1. Do I reflect His nature, qualities, and authority in my behavior? I call myself by His Name.

2. Do I bow down truly with an attitude of humiliation or entitlement because I am His?

3. Do I truly search out His Presence, His Presence when I pray? Do I give that careful attention?

4. Have I turned from my evil ways or am I holding on to a few favorites just in case I need to handle someone?

He heard Solomon’s prayer because he did all these things. He then told him that if the people did this He would hear them. Can I then conclude that He will do the same for me?

Jehovah concludes His response with the statement that His eyes were open and ears attentive to the prayers made in that place. I know He was referring to the Temple but the principle and promises do not change. I believe just as He wrote the law on our hearts(minds), I believe the Temple refers to us in that the Holy Spirit resides in those who are called by His Name.

Looking in Daniel’s Mirror

Every new year many churches participate in some version of Daniel’s fast. This year my church was no different but my fast was. I lead a plant-based dietary lifestyle so I had to sacrifice or do something different. I chose to fast from social media and devote that time to studying the man, Daniel. I thought there would be a long lists of lessons about his character but he was so consistent in his behavior that it is a short but powerful list.

Daniel reminded me what my God favors.

  1. Prayer
  2. Unwavering Commitment to God even into death
  3. Unquestioned loyalty to God and friends
  4. Humility
  5. Continual Prayer
  6. Confidence in God
  7. Care and concern for others

God responded with favor, wisdom and power.

I, now, stand facing this mirror.