Our Worship Journey
Imagine yourself standing somewhere in the middle of an auditorium.
You’re among dozens, maybe even hundreds, singing praises to God in one accord. A worship band is right on centerstage, leading the crowd in exuberant worship music. Colorful lights flash around, with smoke machines adding some creative effects to the room’s atmosphere.
What a worship experience, right? The feeling is electric. It’s wonderful to glorify God in such settings. And it’s probably the type of worship we’re most familiar with.
Now, let’s shift to a different space.
This time you’re all alone in your room. No worship band. No colorful lights. If you’re a musician, there might be a guitar at your disposal. If not, then you’ll probably pull up your worship playlist on Spotify. The electric feeling is gone. All you have is your heart.
Doesn’t this somewhat describe our worship journey in the past year? Life has changed
drastically with the pandemic. Social distancing. Lockdown. There are just a few of the concerns we’re now very familiar with. But I believe the one thing that affected the body of believers most is our worship.
And I’m not talking about worship as a ministry, but the very essence of worship itself.
A Paradigm for Worship
I remember the Lord speaking to me when the lockdown was announced last year. It wasn’t some grand audible voice, but a quiet whisper of assurance. It was like a gentle nudge by the Holy Spirit bringing into remembrance a particular time in biblical history. A time when the presence was actually on lockdown.
The story can be found in 2 Samuel 6. In this chapter, we see King David wanting to bring the ark of the covenant to Jerusalem. The ark actually symbolized the presence of God on earth. Bringing the ark to Jerusalem would finally fulfill David’s dream to establish worship at the heart of his kingdom.
Long story short, the people tried to carry the ark on a “new cart” pulled by oxen, which wasn’t how the ark ought to be carried. According to the Law of Moses, the ark of God’s presence was supposed to be carried carefully on the shoulders of the Levites. So when the oxen stumbled at some point in the journey, someone held the ark to keep it steady, and this person died while doing so.
What happened next is where I’d like to focus on. The ark of the Lord went to some sort of “lockdown” in the house of Obed-Edom. There it remained for three months.
Not much has been said about this guy. But there’s a lot we can learn from him, particularly three things I’ve been trying my best to live by during this past year of lockdown. I hope these three things will also mark you.
Worship in the Home
INSIGHT #1: The presence of God remained in Obed-Edom’s HOUSEHOLD.
When David became king, he finally had the authority to bring the presence of God into the grandest stage of the kingdom. This was his dream since he was a little boy. It wasn’t to slay giants. It wasn’t even to become king himself. His heart ached for the entire nation of Israel to see God and His goodness.
I belong to a movement of forerunners who contend for national revival. Many of us share this Davidic desire. We want to see God glorified on a national level. But I find it absolutely fascinating that the ark of God’s presence remained in one household. Isn’t that interesting?
God wants us to start… AT HOME! That’s the emphasis. Our foundation. Our families.
God is speaking to us loudly in this picture. David had great plans, but God had something different in mind. I’m not saying that our desires for national revival are incorrect, but maybe we need to align ourselves the way God sees revival.
What if God is giving us this window of opportunity? An opportunity of a lifetime, if you will. Obed-Edom had 3 months. We’ve had it for over a year now. Have we recognized what God is telling us? What does worship look like at home? How can we practice the presence of God in our households?
I think the real tragedy of this pandemic is failing to hear God’s voice through the lockdown.
Insight #2: Because of the presence of God, Obed-Edom’s HOUSE was blessed.
Remember what happened prior? The presence of God technically killed somebody.
“Hey, Obed… So, we were trying to bring the ark to Jerusalem. But our buddy Uzzah touched the divine box.”
“He pretty much died on the spot. Uh, can the ark stay in your house for a while?”
“Just until we figure out how to transport it. Oh, by the way, king’s orders. So you don’t have a choice.”
Imagine you’re Obed-Edom hearing this. What would you feel?
After witnessing the ark strike a person dead, David must have been frantically looking for other ways to bring the ark to Jerusalem. But he eventually found out that the mere presence of the ark was causing Obed-Edom to be blessed. What was the difference?
In the Jewish Rabbinical archives, there are accounts of Obed-Edom lighting a candle in front of the ark twice daily. Once early in the morning, and again in the evening. This speaks of Obed-Edom’s response to the “killer box” brought into his household: he not only recognized the presence, he hosted it.
Then because of the presence of God, Obed Edom and his entire household were blessed.
God wants to be hosted. Not just on the grand stage, but in our little spaces. The seemingly insignificant and mundane things. In parts of our lives that really matter, that’s where worship truly happens.
How has this lockdown been treating you? Are you experiencing God’s goodness? Be encouraged today to bring the presence of God front-and-center in your household. No matter what it looks like.
Insight #3: Obed-Edom and his HOUSEHOLD followed the presence of God
When it was time for the ark to leave, Obed-Edom and his family also accompanied it to Jerusalem. In fact, Obed-Edom actually became one of the worship leaders in the tabernacle of David. It wasn’t enough for him to have hosted the presence of God for 90 days. Now, it became the very reason for his existence.
We live in unprecedented times. If you’re like me, then you can understand the frustration of being in this prolonged “lockdown.” But I also wonder what it would be like once this is all over. There are times when it feels like we’re approaching some hint of normalcy. But again, I look at myself and wonder: If I do not recognize God’s presence here at home, will I recognize it out there again?
Now, let’s go back to that room in the beginning.
You’re at home. Alone. Just you and Jesus.
The invitation is loud and clear.
Will you respond to His invitation?
Stephen Paul Ocampo
Stephen Paul Ocampo is the Worship Pastor of Jesus’ Flock Gateway Church and the Founder of the Gateway House of Prayer.