When the hearts of the people grew cold toward God and they longed for their days back in Egypt, God did not abandon His pursuit of them. The eternal nature of God does not allow Him to forsake His promise made to Abraham, “I will keep My covenant between Me and you, and your future offspring throughout their generations, as an everlasting covenant to be your God and the God of your offspring after you” (Genesis 17:7).
Therefore, Moses pleads with God, “Teach us to number our days carefully so that we may develop wisdom in our hearts” (Psalm 90:12). Moses had firsthand knowledge of the nature of man and his need to be led by the Giver of Life, in how to develop a heart filled with a desire to worship the One True God.
Moses admits that man’s one hope for a heart prepared to worship God would be entirely dependent on the mercy of God, “Turn and have compassion on Your servants. Satisfy us in the morning with Your faithful love so that we may shout with joy and be glad all our days” (Psalm 90:13-14). Without the mercy of God there is no entrance into the presence of a holy God.
Humanity has no standing with God outside of His mercy. Worship, like man, is the creation of God; and man must approach God at His invitation recognizing that the invitation to be worshiped has eternally rested within God’s heart.
The invitation proffered from the heart of God should not be taken as an invitation to an event where one is a spectator, but rather as an invitation to a personal encounter with God made possible only by God Himself. It is in the gracious act surrounding the covenant relationship that God allows His chosen people to draw near to Him in worship.
Robert Webber expanded on this thought as he wrote, “In both the Old and New Testaments, worship is rooted in an actual event. The content of the Old Testament is determined by the Exodus-event, while in the New Testament worship is determined by the Christ-event. In either case, biblical worship celebrates the event and makes it come alive again.”
The covenant relationship between God and His people in worship is completely dependent upon God’s provision of the means to deal with man’s sin (sacrifice) and is only possible as a result of God’s promise in the covenant. The New Testament reveals Jesus Christ as the ultimate fulfillment of God’s redemptive act on behalf of humanity.
Thus, a personal encounter (trust and faith) with Jesus, under the influence of the Holy Spirit, is the path to biblical worship with the Eternal God. Jesus was sent by the Father to His creation to be the door to worship.
God is to be the focus of our worship and Jesus is His invitation to worship.
Chuck Groover is pastor of Victory Baptist Church in Mt. Juliet. Preacher’s Corner features a new local preacher each month writing a column.