“Then the glory of the Lord appeared to all the people, and fire came out from before the Lord and consumed the burnt offering and the fat on the altar. When all the people saw it, they shouted and fell on their faces.”
Worship is important in the life of the believer, and in the function of the church. When we gather, we should have an atmosphere where people can encounter the Lord. While there are a variety of worship styles, the heart of worship is to encounter the Lord, offering praise, and surrendering all. I think there are a few things we can learn about corporate worship from Israel’s example, on the day of a dedication.
First, notice that the people gathered in accordance with the Word of God. It is clear, their time was not a free-for-all. The Word of God determined how the people would gather, and what was to be done at their gathering. God has always revealed Himself through His Word. When we keep the teaching of the Word at the center of our worship, we will encounter the God of the Word.
Second, the people did not come empty-handed. They brought offerings to present to the Lord. Worship, to them, was not a spectator sport where the priests worshipped and the people watched. Too often, when we gather for worship, we spend our time watching the worship team worship. We enjoy the music, but fail to use the time to enter into the presence of the Lord, and encounter Him.
Third, they bowed down before God. Their bowing was symbolic of what was taking place within them. They saw the glory of God; that is, they more fully understood who He is. They realized that He was a holy, righteous, majestic God who loved them, and was establishing a relationship with them. It was in response to realizing who God is, that they bowed themselves before Him in surrender. This really is the goal of worship. That our lives would be consecrated to the Lord.
When we gather for worship, we should come with expectant hearts. Expecting that we will offer ourselves and our praise to God, and expecting that He will reveal Himself to us as we seek His face.