21 February 2016

Worship as Warfare

“And at the age of fifty years, they shall retire from the warfare of the service and serve no more,” Numbers 8:25 AMP

This translation caught my eye--I had never seen the work of the Levites called warfare before. So I looked up the KJV in my interlinear, and here's what I found:

“And from the age of fifty years they shall cease waiting upon the service thereof, and shall serve no more:” Numbers 8:25 KJV

"they shall cease" = shuwb (Hebrew), meaning "to return, turn back, bring back, restore"

"waiting" = tsaba' (Hebrew) "that which goes forth, army, war, warfare, host; war, warfare, service, go out to war; service"

I've noticed that the Hebrew text tends to use words whose entire definition gives a richer meaning to the words, much like English poetry uses words in unexpected ways to make an image come to life. So, yes, "service" is one of the listed meanings, but it's military service--not garden-variety servitude.

The work of worship--whether the rather messy kind performed by Levites in the Tabernacle or the highly modern forms found in contemporary worship--is warfare. It is standing up to the enemy of our souls and refusing to do what he would persuade (or coerce) us to do. It is rejecting the fear of "what if I do it wrong?" and stepping out into the unknown every time to see where God will meet us, and what He has in store for us in that moment. It's opening our hearts and minds and souls to the wonder and majesty of our creator and savior, and experiencing Jesus over and over again.

God, this morning I'm so deeply grateful for worship, for the opportunity to hear your word and to obey it, to walk it out with you. Be with me, and with all believers, today. Guide us as we seek you, as we seek your face, and introduce us to yourself in a new and fresh way, to see you as we have never seen you before, and to love you as we have never loved you before. Open our minds to receive, open our hearts to love you anew, God. Break out, break chains, and wash over every believing heart with the fullness of your love, in Jesus' name, amen.