Give unto the LORD the glory due unto his name; worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness. (Psalms 29:2)
Several years ago, the church went through a study of the Tabernacle which is the Old Testament’s most complete and vivid picture of Jesus Christ. Every part of the Tabernacle had a corresponding relationship to some aspect of the person and work of our Saviour. It is clear from the Bible’s first institution of public worship that Jesus Christ was to be the focus of the scriptures.
In the Tabernacle, this focus is shown in a variety of ways. One of the most interesting is the golden lamp-stand that was placed inside the Tabernacle. This lamp-stand was the only source of light since the Tabernacle was a tent like structure with no windows. There was no natural light that shined into the structure. When the priest entered and let the heavy curtain door fall shut behind him, the place was completely dark—nothing could be seen. But when the wicks in the oil in the lamp-stand were touched with a flame, the interior of the Tabernacle became visible, and what a beautiful sight it was! The light danced off of the walls that were lined with gold. The intricate embroidery of the ceiling and of the holy veil became visible. The exquisite beauty of the golden table of shewbread and the golden altar of incense marvelously shined before him. Though the Tabernacle was plain on the outside, it belied the beauty that was on the inside. How was the beauty seen? The priest had to go in and have the light illumine it to him. This is emblematic of the beauty of Christ. He is not attractive nor understood until one is “in Christ.” His beauty is not visible until the Holy Spirit shines the light upon Him. This is when He is revealed in the beauty of His holiness.
The Old Testament worship of the Tabernacle was dependent upon a lot of work by priests and others to make worship possible. There were rituals to be performed, and each head of the family was responsible to bring a sacrifice and to pay the tax of the sanctuary. Many such rituals were done and God was very particular that every detail was done right.
Today, we are not asked to bring sacrifices. The all sufficient sacrifice of Christ has been made. We are not asked to wear priest’s garments or wave odorous censors. God does not require holy water to be sprinkled as in Old Testament times. Nonetheless, He still requires that Christ be worshiped in the beauty of holiness.
In this age, our sacrifices are spiritual and are concerned chiefly with the heart. David had amazing spiritual insight when he wrote: “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise” (Psalms 51:17). He knew the rites and rituals of Israel’s worship foreshadowed a much more important principle. God was looking for clean hearts and a right spirit (Psalms 51:10). Why is this important at this point? It is because we have gathered to worship and yet many of you cannot. You believe you are as you sing the songs, pray the prayers, and give your tithes. You do, therefore you worship. “Not so,” says God. The preparation for worship is not made here. It is made in your heart before you ever entered this building.
God still demands holiness for worship. He is an immutable God which tells us this requirement will not and cannot change. Whether Tabernacle, Temple, the church, or your heart, “Give unto the LORD the glory due unto his name; worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness.”
Pastor V. Mark Smith