Monday, March 7, 2011

The Shofar

I totally forgot to share what happened during one of our devotionals this past month.

It was Candy's turn to lead. She is one of our teachers, and she started by saying, "We are just going to worship this morning because I sense that is what God wants from us." I thought to myself, "Oh good because I have tons of things to do today and it will probably be shorter if we just praise". Hmmm! Not exactly a Mary heart.

Candy chose Psalms that had been put to music so after we read a particular Psalm out loud, we then sang the corresponding Psalm. As the assigned person read out each Psalm, a hush seemed to fill the second floor room that we use as our library/meeting place. As we sang together, what started out as singing routinely changed into true worship of the King. The staff began to spontaneously weep and pour out their hearts before God. Some fell to their knees. Some had a look of bliss on their faces as they were lost in the Presence of Jesus. Heaven was breaking into earth and no one was left out. Suddenly there was a noise that sounded like the blowing of a horn. Not a car horn. Not a plastic horn. Not an ordinary horn. It was the sound of the shofar, the horn the Isrealites used. I have never heard it except in movies. I looked up and caught my son Noe's eye. He was sitting on the steps and I thought maybe he had gotten ahold of one somehow and was blowing it. He looked at me and raised his eyebrows as if to say, "I heard it too but don't know where it came from!" Then a very thin cloud seemed to fill the room.

Once the worship began to wind down, the questioning began. " Did you hear the sound of the shofar? About 2/3rd of the staff had heard it. The other third hadn't heard it at all. We were all touched by the way the Lord showed up so strongly in the devotional. Elvia went immediately to look up what the shofar was used for and among her discoveries were the following:

A call to gather for worship (2 Ch 29:26-28; Ps 98:6; Ps150:3, 2; Sam 6:15)
Ushers in the presence of the Lord (2 Sam 6:15; 1 Chron 15:14)
Make proclamation (1 Sam 13:3)
Symbolizing freedom and liberty (Lev 25:9 & 10)
Sounds the alarm for war (Josh 6:4 -20; Joel 2:1; Jer 4:19,21; Jer 6:1,17)
The Lord responds to our prayers (Exodus 19:19)
A Call to repentance

There was no doubt in our minds that the Presence of the Lord had been ushered in. He had showed up in a powerful way. And because of His decision to allow us to experience His presence, there was more freedom in our day, our steps were lighter, our faces more radiant, our tasks more joyfilled. It definitely bought several of our family members to repentance, including me.

His Presence is so rich. So why do I resist Him? Why is it easier for me to dwell on the doing of the thing instead of the Creator of all things? I long to be more Mary than Martha. I even have this posted on my facebook page for goodness sakes: Prayer is the Work!"

I know God has been calling me to more intimate worship. In the Old Testament, worship always involved sacrifice. That's the rub. I want to just jump in and skip to the intimacy without any sacrifice. But He bids me to come and worship, to lift up my heavy hands and in the words of Beth Moore, "to focus all I am on all He is, both personally and universally." I have to sacrifice "my" time, my sleep, my sloth, my apathy on the altar of sacrifice as I move towards the Holy of Holies. But when I do that, His Presence is so amazing. It changes the way I live out the day......there is more freedom to do His bidding, my steps are lighter, my tasks more filled with joy.

The blowing of the shofar bids us to come and worship the King. It is so worth doing simply because He is Worthy!