Worshipping God with a Heart of Reverence

“In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one called to another and said: ‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!’ And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called, and the house was filled with smoke. And I said: ‘Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!’” (Isa. 6:1-5).

Isaiah was shown a vision of God. It was as if the prophet had approached the very presence of God. He was given a glimpse of God’s glory. The God he saw was a God of transcendent majesty and holiness.

Imagine what it would be like to see what the prophet Isaiah was privileged to see! What would you think? How would it make you feel? I don’t know with certainty how I would respond. But I do know that Isaiah was filled with a sense of reverence and awe, and it made him humble.

You and I will never see what the prophet saw, at least in this life. We will not experience what he experienced. But God has shown himself to us in other ways. And when we engage in the act of worship, we enter God’s presence in a special sense. Worshipping God is often described in Scripture as “coming before the Lord.” The Psalms issue the call to worship: “Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving, let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise” (Ps. 95:2). “Serve the Lord with gladness! Come into his presence with singing” (Ps. 100:2).

Worshipping God ought to be one of the greatest experiences in our lives. This is especially true when we consider the One we worship. What a great God we serve!

Paul wrote that “we take every thought captive to obey Christ” in a way that is consistent with the spiritual warfare in which we are engaged (2 Cor. 10:5). This suggests that our thoughts and attitudes are important. And certainly our thoughts and attitudes matter when we come to worship the Almighty.

What do we think about when we draw near to God in worship? How do we prepare ourselves to meet with the great Creator? How do we act? What would we do differently if we were more aware that we were coming into the very presence of God?

Of course we ought to reflect on the great, majestic, and holy God before whom we gather to worship.

But I must humbly confess that there have been too many times when my thoughts and attitudes have not been as focused on the Lord as they should be. Perhaps you have experienced the same. The Lord’s Day is certainly a special time set aside for worship. I hope it will never become commonplace or something we take for granted. Neither should we treat such occasions lightly or flippantly or too casually.

I would appeal to you not to lose the sense of wonder and awe of coming into God’s presence to worship him. How can we do better?  I would suggest that we remember what the Word tells us about the God we worship. We need to have a heart for worship.

“Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand and marked off the heavens with a span, enclosed the dust of the earth in a measure and weighed the mountains in scales and the hills in a balance? Who has measured the Spirit of the Lord, or what man shows him his counsel? Whom did he consult, and who made him understand? Who taught him the path of justice, and taught him knowledge, and showed him the way of understanding? Behold, the nations are like a drop from a bucket, and are accounted as the dust on the scales; behold, he takes up the coastlands like fine dust. Lebanon would not suffice for fuel, nor are its beasts enough for a burnt offering. All the nations are as nothing before him, they are accounted by him as less than nothing and emptiness” (Isa. 40:12-17).

“By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, and by the breath of his mouth all their host. He gathers the waters of the sea as a heap; he puts the deeps in storehouses. Let all the earth fear the Lord; let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him! For he spoke, and it came to be; he commanded, and it stood firm” (Ps. 33:6-9).

“Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth! Serve the Lord with gladness! Come into his presence with singing! Know that the Lord, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name! For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations” (Ps. 100).

Dan Petty