"and you shall put it in a basket and go to the place where the Lord your God chooses to establish His name... You shall answer and say before the Lord your God... and you shall set it down before the Lord your God, and worship before the Lord your God." (Deuteronomy 26:2, 5, 10)The ceremonial laws pertaining to the offerings, sacrifices, and festivals were all constructed so that the people would not merely remember God but that they would also periodically appear before him. Speaking of the festivals, God commands, "Three times a year all your males shall appear before the Lord God." (Exodus 23:17) And speaking of the burnt offerings He says. "Be careful that you do not offer your burnt offerings in every cultic place you see, but in the place which the Lord chooses in one of your tribes, there you shall offer your burnt offerings, and there you shall do all that I command you." (Deuteronomy 12:13-14) What made the place of the Lord's choosing a special place was that it was where the presence of the Lord dwelt; in the Holy of Holies, above the mercy seat, and between the cherubim the very presence and glory of God rested. God's demands that they appear before Him regularly was not because He needed their sacrifices and offerings, but rather because He desired to be with them. God desires to be with His people; it was true then and it is still true today.
Even from the very beginning, from the first creation of man and woman, God has a desire to be with, and to fellowship with, His creation. After Adam and Eve sinned, its says that "They heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day." (Genesis 3:8) How did they know what that sound was? Because they had heard it before. God regularly walked and talked with them in the garden, in the cool of the day. God created them and God was with them because He desired them. The same is true for us. When we offer our sacrifices and offerings in worship, it is not what we offer that is most important to God, it is us! More than anything we might have to offer Him, God desires time with us; for us to be in His presence and He in ours. In this sense, worship is not about giving but about coming; coming into His presence. Let us never forget to offer to God what He desires most of all: ourselves, our presence, and our time.
Powered by ScribeFire.