Have you ever seen someone who seemed to glow? Everything about their face and movement radiated joy? The other day in the worship service of the church I saw a young woman who had this glow about her. She was standing next to her husband singing praises to God. Her arms were raised and her body moved slightly to the rhythm of the song and her face beamed out joy. Actually her face looked a little incandescent. Every now and then she would look at others with this light in her eyes and smile on her face as if she were saying, “Isn’t this great? Isn’t God good? How blessed we are!” Her appreciation for God bubbled up and out of her heart.
Let Your Joy Break Out
Recently, I saw a video clip on worshiping God that defined the Hebrew word “patsach” from Psalm 98:4 as it relates to worshiping God. The verse commands, “Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth, burst into jubilant song with music.” Another translation says: “break forth into joyous song and sing praises!”
The speaker in this clip goes on to show a video of boiling lava inside a volcano. The picture shows lava roiling over and over and bubbling up and bursting up in splashes and spurts of fiery lava. He compared our hearts to this volcano.
My heart should be so full of truths about God, His power, His love, His faithfulness, His mercy, His holiness, and His grace, that my joy, thanksgiving, praise and awe for Him just breaks out of my heart, like it did for this young woman.
The Radiance from Being with God
As I saw this young woman praising God, several images from scripture flashed through my mind.
I thought of Moses and how his face reflected the light of God. Exodus 34: 29 describes it; “When Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the two tablets of the covenant law in his hands, he was not aware that his face was radiant because he had spoken with the LORD.”
Radiance comes from times of deep interaction with God. When I take time to read, study meditate on and take in the truths about God from His word, my heart becomes full of adoration, joy and my faith is inspired and enlarged. I am not sure my face glows but my heart does.
Celebrate the Presence of God
A second picture that came to mind is of David dancing before the ark as he joyfully celebrated the return of the ark (2 Samuel 6:13-16). I consider myself a fairly serious person somewhat intense, a little reserved. I can’t imagine myself dancing before the Ark of the Covenant. Yet David did. In fact the scripture says he leapt about before the ark.
Why such a display of joy? The Ark of the Covenant symbolized the presence of the Lord among His people. Remember the ark held a piece of the history of God with the people: the tablets of the law, the jar of manna and Aaron’s rod. All these things reminded them of the great deliverance God worked for His people as He led them out of slavery in Egypt, but also the ark reminded them of the covenant God had made with them. He would be their God and they would be His people.
But even more significant is that the cover of the ark was the Mercy Seat. It covered over the Law and it was the place where God met with the high priest as he offered atonement to God on behalf of the people.
True celebration of God happens only when I value the privilege of being able to come into the presence of God. As I think about myself and worshiping God, I have to ask myself some questions: Do I value the privilege of the presence of God in my life? If so, does my appreciation and joy bubble over and, so to speak, leap out? Am I too caught up in myself, my life to be enthusiastic for the blessing of being with God?
Be Humble and Honor the Lord
A third picture, slightly more intense, is the image of a “sinful” woman pouring expensive perfume on Jesus’ feet and washing His feet with her tears, in a public display of her gratitude and understanding that Jesus was the Messiah, the Savior, and the Son of God.
“A woman in that town who lived a sinful life learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, so she came there with an alabaster jar of perfume. As she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them.”
This depicts a different type of worship but the same heart, that is, a heart of absolute adoration of God and genuine gratitude for forgiveness and new life.
Honoring God comes from a deep sense of humility in understanding who God is and who we are in relationship to God. This woman knew she needed the forgiveness of God, and she humbled herself and displayed how much she valued the one who gave her that forgiveness.
Again, this prompts me to ask myself some questions: Do I understand the depth of my unworthiness before God and the depths of His love and mercy? Do I take a relationship with the God, who created and sustains all life, for granted? Am I so self-absorbed in the “practice of religion” that I miss the joy of the wonder of the greatness of the love and the glory of God?
I end this article with a simple prayer. Father God, teach us to worship you and honor you as our Creator, as God most high. Help us to stand in awe of You to Whom all praise is due.