Be Ready to Properly Approach the LORD

IMG_9789For Lord’s Day, March 2, 2014

Dear Saints,

The powerful winds and rain today had to get your attention. You’d have to be dead not to be moved by such a storm; let it drive your attention to the LORD on this Lord’s Day.  It is so providential to have such storms leading into our morning text on Exodus 19:9-25. God gets the attention of His people with mighty winds, lightning, and thunder so that they are ready to approach Him rightly with godly fear.  For if they casually and presumptuously approach God on Mount Sinai with a lack of holy attention, they will end up dead.

One thing emphasized in the text is that God goes out of His way to prepare us to properly prepare ourselves to be ready to meet with Him and receive what He has to say.  So that He is pleased to receive us in worship.  May the unusual weather this weekend help you especially prepare for this Sabbath Day’s worship. For God has gone out of His way to prepare you to be able to prepare for this text!

I just found this advice on preparing for Bible study very fitting for preparing for corporate worship. Give it your attention ahead of this Lord’s Day:

Here are some rules for Bible reading whose observance will pay rich dividends:

1.  Read with a definite purpose and expectation: to understand what is written; to gain quickening of thought and enlargement of mind and vision; to get personal help for good living; and, above all, to meet God and to hear his voice.  These are great ends; whether they are reached will rest with each student.

2. Bring all that you have to your reading.  What you get will depend on what you bring.  Especially, bring a sympathetic imagination.  You will not be reading dead words.  They came out of life.  Try to enter into that life of the past: into the faith of a psalmist and his trials and hopes, the appeal of a prophet speaking to a nation, the witness of Paul, the full heart of the Evangelists.  Occasional reading aloud will help make the words live.  Bring also an attentive and inquiring mind.  Read slowly, pause, reflect, always seeking the real meaning.

3.  Read in the spirit of prayer.  Offer a prayer as you begin.  Ask for the light which God’s Spirit can give.  Lift up your heart to God and ask God to come to you.

4.  Read in the spirit of obedience.  Ask what the passage means for your own life and pray for grace to follow what is thus revealed.  “Apply thyself wholly to the Bible; apply the Bible wholly to thyself.” (Bengel.)

— Harris Franklin Rall, Editor’s Preface to, The Fourth Gospel and The Later Epistles, by John Knox (not the Reformer in Scotland).

Do you want to be lifted up with wings like eagles this Lord’s Day in worship? He would have you so soar to heaven together.  Here’s how the Spirit will take you there:  Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up. (James 4:10)

This call to a fearful preparation for properly approaching the LORD isn’t just Old Testament.  As we will see, the writer to the Hebrews notes that as Christ has now come and takes us in worship to heavenly Mt. Zion, we ought to be even more careful about how we draw near to Him in worship, with humble anticipation:

Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear: For our God is a consuming fire.  (Hebrews 12:28-29)

In this NT Scripture, the writer is directly comparing our present worship situation to Exodus 19:9-25. And he is saying that, because we are now in a more exalted state in Christ, so we should even more prepare to be ready to enter into heavenly Worship with Reverence and Awe.  May you properly prepare to do so, beloved.

Semper Reformanda,
Pastor Grant