Exodus 34 And the Lord said to Moses, “Cut two tablets of stone like the first ones, and I will write on these tablets the words that were on the first tablets which you broke. 2 So be ready in the morning, and come up in the morning to Mount Sinai, and present yourself to Me there on the top of the mountain.” (NIV)
In this Exodus 34, we see Moses being called up to the Mount Sinai for the second time. The first time he went to the top of the mountain is detailed in Exodus 24. I would like to use the differences and similarities in these two journeys to discuss the importance of worship in the life of the believer and especially to leading a life of obedience in accomplishing our purpose and serving others.
Coming out of the annual Worshipers Only Conference held in New York, April 8 & 9, 2016, hosted by Elder Matthew Greaves and Faith Temple Worship Center (FTWC), I am even more determined to make the sacrifice required for worship because the benefits of a worshiper’s lifestyle cannot be over emphasized. Worship as a lifestyle is a must for the believers who will grow and produce much fruit. So let us dive into this account in Exodus and expand with examples of other worshipers as well.
Come up by yourself
The intimacy of worship in our relationship with Yahweh (God) implies that there must be time spent alone with Him. Imagine a marriage where the couple are known for their public displays of affection, but never spend time together when they are alone at home – each doing their own activity, neither making time to share intimacy, neither interested in the activities that produce growth in affection and expansion of their family. This is a relationship that, should it continue in this way, is in danger of not lasting or at the very least, will not be enjoyable or fulfilling. Should intimacy be relegated to rare celebrations or when one party requires the favor of the other, the other will feel used, neglected and of course, hurt in the relationship.
The dynamics of our relationship with our King are similar, but more important in the sense that as much as He is our maker, He is the Husband of the church, his Bride (Isaiah 54 and Ephesians 5). Worship requires alone time, time spent in the presence of our Love just for the sake of spending time with Him, not just for the benefits or because it is a requirement. We should understand that worship in a corporate setting (in church services) is not enough to maintain and grow in our relationship with the Father.
Worship is a requirement: Yahweh loves worship! The saints and the patriarchs understood this and made it inherent to their relationship and walk with Father Yahweh. Think of Abraham, who before and after His name changed and the manifestation of the promise, built altars and worshiped at every opportunity.
So Moses, was called up to the presence of Yahweh, in preparation for the delivery of the instructions for – among other things – building a temple, fit for the presence of the Almighty One. In Exodus 24, Yahweh said, come up the mountain with Aaron, Nabad, Abihu and the 70 Elders. This group of people and Joshua, Moses’ aide, made it halfway of the mountain and had a ‘group glory’ experience that transported them to the gates of heaven. They worshiped, ate and drank, but then Yahweh said to Moses, now come up a little further, leave the group and come by yourself into the high place for even more of what you just saw and experienced. As Moses went up, so did his servant Joshua, until he came to the point where he was called by himself into the cloud. Joshua could not enter the cloud with Moses.
If we are going to see the glory of Yahweh and experience His presence in life-transforming ways, we cannot be afraid of being alone. In fact, it is true that being a worshiper is often a lonely experience for those willing to pay the price – that is, leaving the crowd behind and spending time by ourselves. The separation may happen as we become sanctified by His Spirit, but there will be times when He will ask you to walk away from the group, and we will have to decide whether the group is more important than His Glory.
The people who came up with Moses halfway, were not bad people, they were priests and elders. So it is with us, the people from whom we may be called to separate are not evil, we are not “better” than they are. However, the call on our lives may be different and will require a deeper level of intimacy that not everyone is willing to enter. Those of us, who have experienced the glory of Yahweh in a group setting, have two options: 1) to continue further up the mountain and go deeper into the place of intimacy or 2) to return to the place where we were, only to be influenced by people who never left the ground level (Exodus 32). This is what happened to Aaron and the rest of those who worshiped together on the first level: they allowed people who never saw what they saw or had the experience on the mountain, to convince them to participate in the act of creating a god that they could see, and to whom they paid homage for the work that Yahweh (God) had done.
It is important to spend so much time with Yahweh in intimate relationship that when we leave that place to continue your daily routine, we are not persuaded to participate in the idolatry and revelry of those who are too eager to walk by sight and defame the name of Yahweh. The people who are not part of our relationship with Him do not get to say: how we live, what we build, or even how we lead; because they have not experienced the splendor and holiness of His presence. We cannot afford to be influenced by them, if we are going to fulfill His purpose. Separation in this case does not mean uncaring or not being willing to lead, help or intercede for the people, it means being in a position where your directions and actions are in tune with the will of the One to whom you are espoused – only.
As I said, this can sometimes be a lonely experience; it often means choosing to continue alone for the sake of the call. Jacob, on his return to the land of his fathers, separated himself from his entire camp one night just to have that time with His Master. The experience that he had changed the entire trajectory of his life: his identity (name) was changed also – he became Israel (Genesis 32). The Apostle Paul was separated from his traveling companions upon conversion, he was blinded for three days, there was a need for him to be alone with the one who called him, and that time extended into relationship with Yahshua after His conversion. A final example is David, who lost his best friend Jonathan. It was a great loss for him, because Jonathan was a loyal friend. However, after he mourned him and wrote songs for him, David had to continue on his journey and was shortly after crowned King.
The point is that time spent alone is crucial to how we carry on the purpose for our lives. It is in these moments of intimacy that we get directions and inspiration, not just for our lives, but also in respect to the lives of others.
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