Friday, 22 January 2010

6. Godwards - thou shalt be unto me...

Its key purpose, and this may shock, was not evangelism but to be a people centred upon God and available to him. OK that's where we left off last time. Let me re-emphasise the point with a couple of prepositions and some pronouns...

The nation that became the OT covenant community were given this 'if.. then..' promise. Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people; for all the earth is Mine. And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words which you shall speak to the children of Israel.” Ex 19:4–6 NKJV I have my eye on that little phrase which is repeated twice in this passage.. 'unto me'. This is God staking his claim on this people. If they accepted the terms of the covenant they would become 'his' in a way unique among all other nations and if they accepted the terms of this covenant they would become a 'priestly kingdom and a holy nation to me'. The whole orientation of these opening words is 'Godwards'. There is no mention of a promised land nor of a commission; these would come in due time but are not the main focus.

In the 'Missing Jewel of Worship' A W Tozer commented "We're here to be worshippers first and workers only second. We take a convert and immediately make a worker out of him. God never meant it to be so. God meant that a convert should learn to be a worshipper, and after that he can learn to be a worker. The work done by a worshipper will have eternity in it."

Did you ever notice the order in this well known verse? Then Jesus said to him, “Away with you, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the LORD your God, and Him only you shall serve.’ ” Matt 4:10 NKJV. Worship first, workers second. What is true of the individual is true of the covenant community and is true of the local expression of that covenant community too. The 'purpose' of the universal church and the local church is to 'worship and to serve' in that order.

These are not two different 'views' of the local church, this is a single view with two aspects. The church that worships will inevitably serve, but the church that serves may never discover the wonder of worship.

No comments: