AWE in Worship: Order in the Courts

Psalm 100:1 & 4 ESV - Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth! 2 Serve the Lord with gladness! Come into his presence with singing!  4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name!

AWE:  An overwhelming feeling of reverential respect or admiration mixed with fear or wonder.

Worship:  Giving God the recognition He deserves.

1 Chronicles 16:4-10 NLT - David appointed the following Levites to lead the people in worship before the Ark of the Lord—to invoke his blessings, to give thanks, and to praise the Lord, the God of Israel. 5 Asaph, the leader of this group, sounded the cymbals. Second to him was Zechariah, followed by Jeiel, Shemiramoth, Jehiel, Mattithiah, Eliab, Benaiah, Obed-edom, and Jeiel. They played the harps and lyres. 6 The priests, Benaiah and Jahaziel, played the trumpets regularly before the Ark of God’s Covenant. 7 On that day David gave to Asaph and his fellow Levites this song of thanksgiving to the Lord: 8 Give thanks to the Lord and proclaim his greatness.  Let the whole world know what he has done. 9 Sing to him; yes, sing his praises. Tell everyone about his wonderful deeds. 10 Exult in his holy name; rejoice, you who worship the Lord.

King David, himself a skilled musician and songwriter, took extreme care to organize the orderly worship of God.  Rather than a free-for-all, David expected musicians and singers to develop skill, honoring God and inspiring other worshipers with the excellence of their ministry.  Not only that, David also organized ministry teams in an unprecedented manner - with order that influences the worship of God 3000 years later.  In worship… Reverence for God is essential.  Sacrifice to God is essential.  Celebration of God is essential. Yet order and excellence in how worshipers behave is just as Biblical.  The God who ordered the universe and the delicate life balance of every living creature, is a God of order, not confusion.  He is a God of awe-inspiring excellence in beauty, creativity, power, and goodness; therefore, our corporate worship should strive to be excellent in presentation and not haphazard.  To be “in the Spirit” is never to be out of order.  Excellence and order inspires awe in others.  It is absolutely appropriate to believe in the Spirit-filled, Spirit-led worship of God and related ministry while also conducting our service to God decently and in order.  The same God who desires us to not quench His Spirit desires use to submit our human spirits to a higher order of worship at all times.  We can have the best of both worlds in worship and ministry - a genuine flow of God’s Spirit moving in and upon people while serving with discipline, excellence, and order that honors up, down, and all around.  Consider Paul’s instruction to Corinth:

1 Corinthians 14:14-19, 23-26, 33, 37-40 NLT - For if I pray in tongues, my spirit is praying, but I don’t understand what I am saying. 15 Well then, what shall I do? I will pray in the spirit, and I will also pray in words I understand. I will sing in the spirit, and I will also sing in words I understand. 16 For if you praise God only in the spirit, how can those who don’t understand you praise God along with you?  How can they join you in giving thanks when they don’t understand what you are saying? 17 You will be giving thanks very well, but it won’t strengthen the people who hear you. 18 I thank God that I speak in tongues more than any of you. 19 But in a church meeting I would rather speak five understandable words to help others than ten thousand words in an unknown language… 23 Even so, if unbelievers or people who don’t understand these things come into your church meeting and hear everyone speaking in an unknown language, they will think you are crazy. 24 But if all of you are prophesying, and unbelievers or people who don’t understand these things come into your meeting, they will be convicted of sin and judged by what you say. 25 As they listen, their secret thoughts will be exposed, and they will fall to their knees and worship God, declaring, “God is truly here among you.” 26 Well, my brothers and sisters, let’s summarize. When you meet together, one will sing, another will teach, another will tell some special revelation God has given, one will speak in tongues, and another will interpret what is said. But everything that is done must strengthen all of you… 33 For God is not a God of disorder but of peace, as in all the meetings of God’s holy people37 If you claim to be a prophet or think you are spiritual, you should recognize that what I am saying is a command from the Lord himself. 38 But if you do not recognize this, you yourself will not be recognized. 39 So, my dear brothers and sisters, be eager to prophesy, and don’t forbid speaking in tongues. 40 But be sure that everything is done properly and in order.

How much emphasis do you place on your worship of God being orderly rather than disorderly?  Do you view a Christian worship service mostly to honor God and strengthen others - or primarily for you to have spiritual experiences?  Should the true worship of God be displayed in a way that inadvertently causes people to focus more on the worshiper or more on God? (Remember, David worshiped exuberantly and humbly in public that inspired others toward God rather than being a distraction or spectacle)  If God inhabits His people’s praise, how vital is it that you be with His people to praise Him together as often as possible? (Consider God’s will and how awe-inspiring your contribution is to every worship service)

Hebrews 12:28-29 NIV - Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, 29 for our “God is a consuming fire.”