Tuesday, March 3, 2009

THE MAKING OF A WORSHIPPER

Exodus 14 describes an incredible moment in Israel’s history. The Israelites had just left Egypt under God’s supernatural direction. Now they were being hotly pursued by Pharaoh’s army. The Israelites had been led into a valley surrounded on both sides by steep mountains, and ahead of them was a forbidding sea. They didn’t know it yet, but these people were about to experience the darkest, stormiest night of their souls. They faced an agonizing night of panic and despair that would test them to their very limits.

I believe this passage has everything to do with how God makes his people into worshippers. Indeed, no other chapter in the Bible demonstrates this more strongly. You see, worshippers are not made during revivals, in the good, sunny times, or periods of victory and health. Worshippers of God are made during dark stormy nights. And how we respond to our storms determines just what kind of worshippers we are.

Hebrews 11 gives us this image of Jacob in his old age: “By faith Jacob, when he was a-dying, blessed both the sons of Joseph; and worshipped, leaning upon the top of his staff” (Hebrews 11:21). Why is Jacob portrayed this way in his dying days?

Jacob knew his life was about to end. That’s why we see him giving his blessing to his grandchildren. So, what does Jacob do as he looks back on the events of his life? He is moved to worship. Not a word is spoken by this man. Yet, as he leaned on his staff, marveling at the life God had given him, “[he] worshipped.”

Jacob worshipped God in that moment because his soul was at rest. He had proven God faithful beyond any shadow of a doubt. And now the patriarch concluded, “It never mattered what battle I went through. God proved himself faithful to me. He has always been faithful. O Lord, almighty God, I worship you!”