How was your worship this Sunday? Did you sing any good songs? Did you learn any new ones? Did you listen to somebody read aloud from the Bible for six hours? No?!
When Godís people returned to Jerusalem after years in captivity, one of their first tasks was to rebuild the city walls. Once this epic work, overseen by Nehemiah, was complete, all the people assembled together to hear Ezra read aloud from the book of the Law of God from daybreak until noon.
The people had spent 70 years in captivity, first as captives of the Babylonians, and then the Persians. By the time Nehemiah came to Jerusalem to re-build the walls, it was decades since the first captives had been taken. No wonder the people were overjoyed to finally be able to hear Godís word and worship him freely.
They certainly worshipped wholeheartedly. We read that, ďall the people lifted their hands and responded, ĎAmen! Amení. Then they bowed down and worshipped the Lord with their faces to the ground.Ē Just as when David danced before the Lord, the Israelites used their whole bodies in their worship of God. Their focus was on him alone. Lifted hands signalled a desire to receive Godís blessing, while bowing down reflected their humble hearts. Even standing up was a way to show respect and honour to Godís Law.
They also wept. Why? Because hearing the Law showed them how far they had strayed from Godís will for them. Part of their worship was confession and repentance.
And their worship did not end when the meeting broke up. Nehemiah declared it a holy day, and instructed them to feast together and to share their food and drink with others who had none. Worship expressed in fellowship and service.
We worship God when we bring songs of worship Ė this is Biblical Ė but a life of worship is more than a song. Are we living lives of worship?