Worshiping the Lord the beauty of holiness has been a divine injunction, repeatedly mentioned in God’s Word. King David, while offering thanksgiving unto God for helping him to bring the ark of God to Jerusalem, called Israel to worship the Lord, Give unto the LORD the glory due unto his name: bring an offering, and come before him: worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness (1 Chronicles 16:29). He again called Israel to do the same in Psalms 29:2, Give unto the LORD the glory due unto his name; worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness. The psalmist says the same in Psalm 96:9, O worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness: fear before him, all the earth.
How do we worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness?
Consecrated to God
Christians’ life is a consecrated life, that means, a life that is set apart. We are a holy people, and that holiness need to be reflected even in our worship. In the Old Testament many things were consecrated to God. People’s house that was vowed to the Lord (Leviticus 27:14), an animal, or the produce of his field that was set apart as his tithe (Leviticus 27:28,30). Anything specifically separated to the Lord’s use was “holy unto the Lord.” That which is “sanctified” is “set apart” to the Lord. To Israel, the Lord specifically said, And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel (Exodus 19:6). Again, in Leviticus 11:44, the Lord said, For I am the LORD your God: ye shall therefore sanctify yourselves, and ye shall be holy; for I am holy: neither shall ye defile yourselves with any manner of creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. Leviticus 20:7, Sanctify yourselves therefore, and be ye holy: for I am the LORD your God.
This means, every Israelite’s life need to be a consecrated life, following the Lord as He has commanded in His holy Word, serving Him, and glorifying His name. Their worship should have reflected their holy consecration unto the Lord. Hence, their temple worship was designed in such an orderly manner as revealed by God through Moses, recorded in Exodus and Leviticus. God specifically detailed all of His expectations in their temple worship. They had to follow every detail so that they could worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness.
Similarly, in the New Testament, Christians are consecrated unto God. We are a “set apart” people that we are to worship God in the beauty of holiness. The Apostle Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God. Their whole life on earth is a consecrated life. Paul says in Romans 12:1, I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. Since our lives are a consecrated life, our worship should also be in holiness.
In Godly Fear
Worshipping the Lord in the beauty of holiness and the fear of the Lord go hand in hand. We fear God and that means we revere Him. Our reverence of Him need to be reflected in the manner by which we worship Him. God cannot be worshipped as the way we feel or think, but in a manner that is acceptable to Him. The author of Hebrews says in Hebrews 12:28, Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear: Paul says in 2 Corinthians 7:1, Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.
Sadly, today we see people completely neglecting the holiness aspect from worship. People come to the Lord’s house for worship but their hearts and minds are not prepared. They dress up and behave in an unholy manner. Today in many churches worship services are conducted in an unholy manner, without godly reverence. May the Lord help us that we will worship Him only in a manner that is acceptable to Him—worshipping in the beauty of holiness!
Next week: An Ordered System of Worship