“So Ezra the scribe stood on a platform of wood which they had made for the purpose… And Ezra opened the book in the sight of all the people, for he was standing above all the people; and when he opened it, all the people stood up. And Ezra blessed the LORD, the great God. Then all the people answered, ‘Amen, Amen!’ while lifting up their hands. And they bowed their heads and worshiped the LORD with their faces to the ground.”
Nehemiah gives us one of the most beautiful scenes of Israel at worship in these Old Testament verses. The gathering together of the people was neither elaborate nor flashy but born out of love for God. Through its simple model, we, too, can hear the call to worship today.
Step one: All are invited to join this sacred assembly, and Ezra stood high above the people so his fellow worshippers could hear God’s Word. When the time came, the people stood in reverence and awe. Imagine the hush falling over the gathering in anticipation.
Step two: As their spiritual head, Ezra “blessed” (a Hebrew term for prayer) the Lord with a heart that represented the will of the people. And the people answered in complete agreement, “Amen, amen,” meaning let it be so.
Step three: Hands were raised toward heaven. Faces bowed low to the earth in humble, sincere repentance. What a vivid image of surrendering all of life’s issues before a holy God in preparation for hearing from Him!
These are the steps to genuine praise and worship—the preludes to intimacy with God. The setting was solemn, but the people’s outward expression was not. Their fervor for God was pure and true. Isn’t that the effect worship has upon the soul?
Dear Christian, at home and in the assembly of the saints, be a worshiper of God. Leave this broken world behind and experience His divine love in the person of Jesus Christ, the door by which we may freely enter God’s presence.
Awaiting His Return,
– Pastor Jack
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