God has been speaking to me and teaching me a lot about worship these past few weeks/months: true worship, pure worship, unashamed worship, unrestrained worship, real worship, below-the-surface worship, worship, worship, WORSHIP! Add to that all the amazing new worship music that has been coming out, I've probably heard more about worship in the last three months than I have in my entire life before that. So it was not surprising to me that when I was reading my Bible the other day, I got a mini-revelation, about…you'll never guess…. worship!
The passage I was reading was Ezekiel 46, which contains a description of the restoration of Israel and the rebuilding of the temple. The specific passage I was reading was Ezekiel 46:1-15 (ish) which talked about the offering of sacrifices and the way people were supposed to do this. The first thing that struck me was the fact that the Prince had to go in and offer the sacrifice before the people were allowed to enter. I thought it was interesting that it specifically said prince and not king or noble or even priest. What immediately leapt to mind was Isaiah's prophecy about Jesus being the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6). Jesus, the prince, who offered the sacrifice which gives us the right to enter into the presence of the Lord and worship! The prince was supposed to be among the people as they went in and out of the temple to worship. In fact, the prince remained there until the people left the place of worship and when he left the gates were shut. Are you excited yet? Cuz I'm excited!
Uh…no? Okay, maybe this will get you excited. Ezekiel 46:9 tells about how the people should worship, and it specifically says that if you entered by the north gate to worship, you must leave through the south gate and vice versa, etc. That is to say, you were not to leave the way you came. Okay, read that again. When you enter into the presence of the Lord to worship, you are not supposed to leave the way you came. One more time. When you enter into the presence of the Lord to worship, you are not supposed to leave the way you came.
Worship is not just a time and place, it is a forward journey. It should take you from somewhere, and to somewhere. We're not supposed to worship and go back to our lives, we're supposed to worship and move forward into our lives.
Jesus, the prince presented the sacrifice (himself) while allowed us to enter into the presence of the Lord to worship and he remains in the place of worship among us while we are there. His presence is what keeps the gates open so that we have that access to the presence of God.
The next time you enter into worship, remember that the Prince has already brought in the sacrifice, he is there among you as you worship and as long as he remains there, the gates will be open. Remember to leave through the opposite gate. Don't leave the way you came.
Be blessed and shine transformatively!