It was hot, humid, and sultry from a monsoon rain. Sweat poured down my face and back. The downpour had lasted less than an hour but the streets were flooded and traffic was at a standstill. The sound of singing, passionate loud joyful praise, could be heard through the crowded streets as I jumped off the jeepney (a jeep taxi) and walked into Jesus Tabernacle.
This was Manila, Philippines and we were entering a garage like side building filled to capacity with the most joyful people I had ever met. Smiles, hands uplifted, and hearts aflame—men, women, and children celebrating the love of Christ with one single passion. There was no electricity (thank God since we were standing in six inches of water) and no praise band, but everyone in the room was fixed on the power, beauty, and name of Jesus through simple choruses and upturned hearts. It was obvious that Jesus Tabernacle was just that, a dwelling place for Jesus.
Worship is not about songs, it’s about Jesus. Worship is not about cool performance driven bands, but about Jesus. We have often been guilty of viewing worship as primarily the singing of music in a church setting. In our churches we have often been guilty of defining worship more based on skill and gifting than about the heart of the worshipper.
It was no different three thousand years ago. David, the shepherd boy from Bethlehem, is noticed by Saul and his court, because they want the affect of his harp, not the depth of his heart. They notice the skill of his playing—but overlook the presence in his life.
Let our master now command your servants, who are before you, to seek out a man who is a skillful player on the harp…So Saul said to his servants, “Provide me now a man who can play well, and bring him to me.” Then one of the servants answered and said, “Look, I have seen a son of Jesse the Bethlehemite, who is skillful in playing…and the LORD is with him.” (1 Samuel 16:16~18)
Saul wants a man who can play the harp well. He wants good solid music for his court. He wants a personal concert with a gifted musician. Not too different from most of our churches today. But notice something; take notice that there is an astute servant in Saul’s court. Within Saul’s entourage God has place one with an observant heart. The last sentence is the cryptic secret to David’s success, this obscure servant says, “and the Lord is with him.” The presence of God is with David! Saul doesn’t have the heart to notice David’s secret.
The presence of God is with David because he has the heart of a worshipper. David’s heart to heart relationship with God has invited the presence of God into all that he does. Even playing the harp. But don’t miss this—Saul’s men notice the skill on a harp, for the music and its effect they long for—but God brings David to notice because of his heart in worship.
And this is exactly what we need in our lives—a worshipping heart. The presence of God is what we need, not just good music. More on this next time.
On the Road,
For more on Steve: www.steveholtonline.org
For more on The Road: www.theroadcs.org