Focal Passage: Ezekiel 43:1-12
One of the tragedies of the last 20 years (or so) has been the so-called worship wars. It is tragic because our insistence on preferences demonstrates a terrible narcissism that is counter to true worship.
True worship is not about what pleases us, or even what reaches unbelievers. True worship is about what pleases God.
In the Bible there seems to be a pattern associated with people encountering God in worship. That pattern includes recognizing God for who He is, repenting of our own sinfulness and experiencing empowerment for holy living.
In Ezekiel 43:1-5 the prophet sees the glory of God returning to the temple. His only response to the presence of God is to fall facedown.
God’s glory is so overwhelming that Ezekiel cannot even stand. We are told God’s glory fills the temple (v. 5), which is exactly what Isaiah experienced (Isaiah 6:1).
Such a description is intended to remind us of God’s greatness. What is the proper response to God’s glory filling the temple? Repentance.
In Ezekiel 43 it is repentance over our willingness to set idols next to God (v. 8).
How often do we do that? We may not put a wooden or metal object beside us in a church service, but when we place our preferences above God’s glory we have fashioned a false idol in our own image.
Finally, after repenting for our sin we are empowered for holy living.
This is seen when Ezekiel puts into place God’s plans for the temple. The idea is that, if you are truly repentant, you will do what God has called you to do.
Another way to say it is: holy living is obedient living.
The real test of worship is whether we are living obediently to Christ. It seems obvious, but honoring God has more to do with our obedience and less to do with our preferences. If your response to worship is not greater obedience, then you haven’t worshipped – regardless of what style of music was played during the service.