It was a weeks ago that I was watching a video stream of a worship conference. It was made up of interviews with worship leaders from all over the country and it was good to hear where they were coming from. During the conference though, there was one speaker who made me sit up and listen. Her name was Christy Nockels. She talked about growing up in the church and coming to this moment where she had a new understanding of her role as a worship leader. (And I hope you know, I mean that in the broad sense of the word! We are all living lives of worship. This doesn’t just apply to musicians!)
But enough preaching…Christy mentioned a verse that she uses to help define her role as a worshipper of God. It comes from Deuteronomy 10:8.
At that time the Lord set apart the tribe of Levi to carry the ark of the covenant of the Lord, to stand before the Lord to minister and to pronounce blessings in his name, as they still do today.
There were 4 things that jumped out as she talked. Let me give you the short version…
- We carry the presence of God inside us. The ark of the covenant was understood to represent the presence of the Lord. The cover of the ark was called the “mercy seat” and the physical manifestation of God was present there in between the two golden cherubim. However we read that in the New Testament, that we carry the spirit of God in us. “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.”(1 Cor 6:19-20) We are the new temple of the Holy Spirit. We carry the presence of God with us wherever we go.
- We are to worship the Lord first. The Levites were set aside to “stand before the Lord to minister…” You might not catch it the first time through, but they were to ministry to God. They were called to worship God alone. This is no different that the call of the Shema or the “greatest commandment”. Love the Lord, your God with all your heart, soul and mind…worship the Lord first.
- We are to pronounce blessings in his name. After we worship the Lord, we are called to bless in his name. We are to reach out to others as we sing and as we live in His name.
- As we still do today… This next phrase is what stopped me in my tracks. Up until this point, I had thought, “Yeah, yeah, yeah…so what?” At this point, I realized that we are connected to the Levites and have the same call on our lives as worship leaders. We are the children of faith from Abraham who worship in spirit and truth. I don’t know the intent of the original author, but I think it’s safe to say that it still applies to us today. So this week remember…
We are set apart of carry God’s presence.
We are called to worship the Lord first.
We are called to minister in His name.
And we are called to do it today…