KEY TEXT: Ps 15:1-2 Lord, who shall sojourn in your tent? Who shall dwell on your holy hill? He who walks blamelessly and does what is right and speaks truth in his heart.
KEY THOT: The “tent” refers to the tabernacle of David which is the precursor of the temple in Jerusalem, the dwelling place of God’s presence. It is located at the “holy hill” (Zion, City of David). To come into God’s presence is worship and David declares that only those who “walks blamelessly and does what is right and speaks truth in his heart” are qualified to draw near. The qualification is being blameless in our outward conduct (“walks blamelessly”) and being pure in our inner condition of our heart (“speaks truth in his heart”). In the New Testament, we have Christ’s righteousness imputed to us through the exchange at the Cross so that we may be justified before God and also imparted to us through the gift of the Holy Spirit, so that we may be sanctified to become like Christ, bearing the fruit of the Spirit.
Jesus says, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” The word “pure” in Greek is katharos, which is pure as cleansed, not sinless. None of us is sinless, but we can be cleansed through our confession: “If we confess our sin, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse (NIV: purify) us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9, ESV). But this cleansing of the heart is not just positional (imputed) but existential (imparted), manifesting itself in our outward walk and talk as the fruit of the Spirit.
Worship begins in the heart. We have to guard our heart from corruption through our walk and our talk. But thank God, we can keep our heart pure by on-going confession whenever we sin, so that our heart will be continually cleansed (pure). Only then can we come before God’s presence on his holy hill.
Jesus says that the Father is seeking for worshippers (not just worship) who worship God “in spirit and in truth”, referring to heart attitude and condition. Worship is not about style, but substance. In worship, our primary question before us is not what we like (our preference) but what our Father in heaven likes--and dislikes. God has no preference for a particular cultural expression of worship--be it liturgical (European) or contemporary (American/Australian). In China, a new indigenous form of worship in the house-churches use the more than 1,000 songs composed by Xiao Min, a peasant girl with little formal education. The house-church worship is neither liturgical nor contemporary but indigenous to the Chinese culture. (Watch here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7dMpFofjzq8&hl=en-GB&gl=SG)
God is not hung up on one particular type of worship, be it liturgical, contemporary or indigenous--so long as our heart condition is pure and we are worshipping in spirit and in truth. What God wants from us is worship of the heart and worship from the heart.
Father, I thank You that You look beyond our worship styles and songs into our hearts. May we have a heart of worship that is pure and undefiled. Amen.