9 The Lord said to Moses, “I am going to come to you in a dense cloud, so that the people will hear me speaking with you and will always put their trust in you.” Then Moses told the Lord what the people had said.
10 And the Lord said to Moses, “Go to the people and consecrate them today and tomorrow. Have them wash their clothes 11 and be ready by the third day, because on that day the Lord will come down on Mount Sinai in the sight of all the people.
14 After Moses had gone down the mountain to the people, he consecrated them, and they washed their clothes.
Exodus 19:9-11,14 (New International Version)
Distracted From Worship
Have you ever had those moments when you are at church, reading the Bible, or praying to God, that your mind is focused on other things instead of on the Lord? All of us, including myself, at one time or another, are guilty of not devoting our hearts and minds to the Lord during times of worship. Why is it that we do such things and what can we do to stop it?
Worship is Serious
The worship of the Lord is something that must not be taken lightly. In Exodus 19, the Lord informs Moses that He is coming down from Mount Sinai to address him in front of the nation of Israel. God instructed Moses to consecrate the people by having them wash their clothes and abstain from any sexual relations. He even commanded Moses to set a boundary around the base of the mountain and death was pronounced to any person who crossed that boundary. Why did the Lord establish such strict commands in regards to how Israel should be before Him?
These commands were made by God, I believe, in order to show Israel that worship is a serious business. The Almighty had done many wonders for the nation, from freeing them from Egyptian bondage to providing for them in the desert. Such a God deserves nothing but reverential respect, and if He desires to talk to you, it is wise to pay attention.
Focus on the Lord
For us Christians, the Lord has done an amazing work in us. He removed from us the stain of sin through the sacrifice of His Son Jesus Christ on the cross. With that in mind, when we set aside time in our lives to worship Him, our focus should be on Him and Him alone.
Worship Becoming Ritual
However, as we sings songs about His love, read about His grace, or have communion with Him in prayer; our minds have a tendency to become distracted by other things instead of on God. A lot of that, I believe, is because we have forgotten how wonderful is the grace which He has given us, and have taken it for granted. As a result, our worship of God becomes more about routine and ritual than it is about total devotion.
What is True Worship?
The more our worship becomes a routine, the less and less it becomes true worship. What does true worship look like? The apostle Paul in Romans 12:1 describes worship as something which requires of the worshiper a total commitment of their heart, mind, body, and soul to the Lord. Anything less than this is not worship.
The Lord wanted to have a relationship with Israel in Exodus 19. However, He wanted to make sure that their hearts and minds were ready to receive Him. In the same way we, as followers of Christ, come to worship the Lord, our hearts and minds must be aligned solely on Him in order to fully experience the love of being in communion with Him.
Becoming Aligned For Worship
In order to do this, we must take captive those thoughts and feelings that would lead us astray. In their place, we must recall the many blessings which God has given to us, and the grace which He has placed upon us through His Son Jesus. Let these things fill you with love and gratitude to the Lord and cause you to worship Him with all our might.