Worship Like A Dead Man?

“When I saw Him, I fell at His feet like a dead man…” (Revelation 1:17a)

Much of what I’m writing in today’s entry is inspired by Tommy Tenney’s book “God Chasers.” While I don’t agree with everything that he wrote, he makes some great points about how our worship often falls short. His description of how the high priest entering the Holy of Holies touched me.

In the Old Testament, the high priest went into the “Holy of Holies” (the dwelling place of God’s presence) once a year to make atonement for the people’s sins. Because no one is holy enough to approach God’s presence in such proximity, the high priest needs to sanctify himself and even stay awake the night before entering the Holy of Holies so he won’t accidentally defile himself through a dream in the night. Still, the high priest prepares for the fact that he may not be able to survive the experience. So he would say goodbye to all his family and friends, saying, “I might not be back.” Also, he had to dip his finger in the warm blood of a lamb and dab it on his ears, his thumbs, and his toes. This is to symbolize that the priest took on the appearance of one who’s dead so he could come near God’s glory and live. And they would tie a rope around the high priest’s leg to remove him from the temple if he would be struck dead due to impurity, lack of personal atonement in serving, and/or lack of atonement for the people. Approaching God’s presence to worship could cost him his life, so he determined to die to his life before he entered into worship.

Today we have lost the ability to truly be in awe of God’s presence. Philip Yancey once wrote that God’s Presence “must be approached like highly radioactive material.” Consider how John the Apostle worshipped God like a dead man (Rev 1:17a), or how Christ asked us to carry the cross as a symbol that we look dead to the world and to ourselves. Recently I’ve been asking myself, “If I sing ‘I Surrender All’ or similar songs so many times, why do I still have so many unnecessary things cluttering up my life?” True worshippers know how to be broken, to be humble, to be dead to anything that’s not God. And while we need to learn to rely on Christ the high priest who died for us so we can have access to God (Heb 10:19), we still need to have the right measure of awe and sanctification in our hearts as we approach Him in worship.

How do you prepare yourself to meet God?