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Praise and Worship

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Even as the Aaronic priests entered daily into the Tabernacle of Moses and later into Solomon's Temple, today we as believer-priests are to come daily into His Presence.

The Tabernacle of Moses consisted of gates which led into the courts. All believers could come into the courts. The priests moved through the courts to minister to the Lord in the Holy Place. Once a year, the High Priest entered into the Holy of Holies which contained the Ark of the Covenant.

The Holy of Holies was the earthly counterpart of the heavenly throne room of God. The Ark, which was covered with the Mercy Seat was the earthly place, the type of the throne of God.

To be in the Holy of Holies was to be in the very Presence of God. At the moment Jesus died on the cross, the veil which separated man from God was supernaturally torn from top to bottom. Man no longer needed to be separated from God because of sin. Man's sins could be forgiven. Now, men and women could boldly enter into God's Presence. Even as there was a progression of entering in by the Old Testament priests, there is a progression of entering in today, as we as believer-priests come daily into His Presence in praise and worship. We are to enter in daily in our own private time of praise. We are to enter in corporately, with the whole body, whenever we assemble together. To enter requires an act of obedience on our part. God desires that we enter into His Presence, but we must take the initiative to do so.

First we are instructed by David to:

Enter in to His gates with thanksgiving, And into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name. Psalm 100:4. We enter His gates with thanksgiving. We cannot enter His gates with ungrateful hearts. Our first songs as we are entering into praise should be ones that express our heartfelt thanksgiving unto the Lord. As we come through the gates, we are in the courtyard. There must be a progression of entering into His Presence. We are not ready to go charging into the Holy of Holies in the most intimate time of awesome worship, until we have first spent time in the courtyard. In the courts we are instructed to praise. Here we joyfully enter into singing, music, clapping and raising our hands and, oftentimes, in dancing before the Lord as we express our praise.

As we linger in the courts of praise, we begin to feel a drawing within our spirits to come closer to God. Slowly, we are overcome by who He is. We begin to enter into a higher form of praise. We enter into the inner courts, into the Holy Place in worship.

Suddenly, we are no longer dancing or clapping our hands. We become so aware of the Presence of God that our hands begin to raise to Him in awesome reverence. The music has slowed. What was in order a moment before has suddenly stopped. The holiness of God's Presence is almost overwhelming.

As we continue to press in tears may be flowing down our cheeks.

Sometimes all that we can do is stop playing and singing and remain silent in His Holy Presence. We are unaware of those around us. We are totally aware of God. We are standing in His Presence, lost in His love.

Almost without realizing it we have slipped, even as the High Priests, within the veil. We are standing in the Holy of Holies. We are in the close, intimate Presence of God. The anointing and power is beyond description. Many will bow or prostrate themselves before Him. Some may be slain in the Spirit.

We have a beautiful description of the time when the Ark of the Covenant was brought into Solomon's Temple,

    And it came to pass, when the priests came out of the holy place, that the cloud filled the house of the LORD , so that the priests could not continue ministering because of the cloud; for the glory of the LORD filled the house of the LORD 1 Kings 8:10,11

Today, too few believers have experienced this.

We should prepare our hearts. We enter according to His instructions and pattern. We release our spirits, our souls and our bodies into a free and prolonged expression of unrestricted praise while we are in the courts.

We should continue to draw closer to God. He desires to be intimate with His bride. But, we must press in, closer and closer, until we are totally at one with Him. How God desires these moments of intimacy with each one. Our hearts must be set, committed and continually long for these precious, holy, indescribable moments of true worship.

Once we have entered in, we must not shrink back from His Presence. We must hold on and linger. As we do our lives will be changed. We are held so close, that an indelible impression of His character is made upon our spirits. The more time we spend totally in His Presence, totally intimate with Him, the more our spirits are conformed to His image, the more our lives will be changed into the image of His Son Jesus, the more we will become like Him.

It is here that there is the highest level of communion. It is here that we can clearly hear from Him. Our heart cry should agree with that of David when he wrote:

    As the deer pants for the water brooks, so pants my soul for You, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God? Psalms 42:1,2

It was King David who brought the Ark back to Jerusalem after it had been captured. David was a man who had a heart after God and who sought continually after His Presence. For forty years, until the Temple of Solomon was built, the Ark, representing the Presence of God, dwelt in the Tabernacle of David. There was no veil which separated man from God.

The Ark was in full view of all the worshipers. The only sacrifices in the Tabernacle of David were the continued sacrifices of praise to God. The Tabernacle of David has become the pattern of worship for the Church today.

    James quoted Amos 9:11,12 when he wrote: “On that day I will raise up the tabernacle of David, which has fallen down, and repair its damages; I will raise up its ruins, and rebuild it as in the days of old; that they may possess the remnant of Edom, and all the Gentiles who are called by My name,” says the LORD who does this thing.

Today, we are experiencing the fulfillment of these prophecies as God is restoring true praise and worship to His Church. Like David, let each of us desire streams of living water during these times of refreshing. Let us move into His Presence and release our spirits in fresh, new and powerful expressions of praise to God.

My prayer is that you will be drawn closer and closer into the Presence of God and experience the intimacy and the life-changing experience of true worship.

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