Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Worship and the presence of God

I'm reading Philip H. Eveson's commentary, The Beauty of Holiness, Leviticus simply explained, Evangelical Press, Welwyn Commentary Series, 2007. The work is full of scholarly insight and thoughtful exposition. And unlike some modern commentaries on the Old Testament, Eveson does not shy away from showing how Leviticus is fulfilled in Christ. He also shows how the book applies to believers under the new covenant. Here he reflects on the presence of God in worship, commenting on 'Then the glory of the LORD appeared to all the people' (Lev 9:23). After setting the verse in it's Old Testament context he writes,
"The high point in worship is to experience something of the presence of God among his people. The Day of Pentecost was a unique coming of the Holy Spirit in fulfilment of Old Testament prophecy and the promise of our Lord. But it also initiated the ear of the Spirit, when similar experiences of God's powerful presence can be expected and prayed for. These experiences, when they occur on a large scale, we call 'revivals' or 'awakenings'.
To give a cry of joyful praise and to bow in awesome wonder at the presence of God reminds us of the words of Psalm 2:11: 'Serve the LORD with fear and rejoice with trembling.' In the assemblies of God's new covenant people we should not suppose that because Jesus has promised to be with those who gather in his name, we should simply believe it to be so and not expect to experience that presence. Again, when Christians meet together, it is not only to build one another up in the faith - it is to worship God together and experience as a body the felt presence of God as his Word is proclaimed. In this way we anticipate the future glory when God's presence will be for ever experienced among his people. Unbelievers and the 'uninformed' should also be affected, as Paul describes in 1 Corinthians 14:23-25 when he states, '...and so, falling down on his face, he will worship God and report that God is truly among you.'"

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