“Who may ascend the mountain of the Lord?
Who may stand in his holy place?
The one who has clean hands and a pure heart…”
Psalm 24:3-4 (NIV)
“Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name;
worship the Lord in the splendor of his holiness.”
Psalm 29:2 (NIV)
“Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar
and there remember that your brother or sister
has something against you,
leave your gift there in front of the altar.
First go and be reconciled to them;
then come and offer your gift.”
Matthew 5:23-24 (NIV)
I recall many years ago lying on the operating table before surgery. I was still wide awake. Out of a window in one wall I saw my surgeon scrubbing his hands in a meticulous manner. I was encouraged at how carefully he proceeded. I wanted him to be unable to introduce any germ into my body as he conducted the operation. In some areas of life, we need to be very careful that we do not become infected.
As we plan to come to the Lord’s house to worship, there needs to be preparation on our part before we enter. Or, as we go online during the pandemic, we need to prepare to worship. Today’s verses call on us to consider our time between gatherings and consider if we have unconfessed sin that we need to clear up with the Lord prior to coming into His holy presence. Many times, when an adjective is used to describe the character of the Lord, the term “holy” is employed. In fact, “holy” outnumbers all other adjectives combined.
Isaiah’s favourite term for the Lord is the “Holy One of Israel”. So, as we reflect on how the Lord wishes to be known by people, holy is the most important way and modifies all His other attributes. For example, His love is a holy love. He hates evil and loves righteousness.
Do you consider this matter of preparation before presenting yourself to the Lord for worship? Jesus went so far as to tell people to interrupt their worship if they suddenly remember they have offended someone but did not reconcile. They are to get up and walk out of the service and seek out the offended person to renew fellowship with them. Only then should they come before the Lord to worship.
Consider yourself carefully every day before you read the Scriptures and pray. Follow the Psalmist’s prayer (Psalm 139:23-24 NIV) and make it your own today.
“Search me, God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.”