5 Ezra opened the book. All the people could see him because he was standing above them; and as he opened it, the people all stood up. 6 Ezra praised the Lord, the great God; and all the people lifted their hands and responded, “Amen! Amen!” Then they bowed down and worshiped the Lord with their faces to the ground… 9 Then Nehemiah the governor, Ezra the priest and teacher of the Law, and the Levites who were instructing the people said to them all, “This day is holy to the Lord your God. Do not mourn or weep.” For all the people had been weeping as they listened to the words of the Law. 10 Nehemiah said, “Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” [Nehemiah 8:5–6,9–10 ~ NIV]
“God’s summons to worship Him springs from pure unselfishness. We are so valuable to Him that He wants us to adore that which is of the highest worth; therefore, His command to worship Him is not rooted in some divine ego, but rather is consistent with His love. When we understand this, how can we not passionately worship Him with every fiber of our being? Worship is the closest in this life we come to union with our Beloved and to a place where we experience the very love of the Trinity.” [Steve Fry, Rekindled Flame, (Sisters, OR: Multnomah Publishers, 2002), 69]
It was a simple box with a loose-fitting lid and a few faded stickers on the sides. Inside the box, however, lay a treasure trove of yellowing papers. Each one held the scribblings of long ago from a young man with blue eyes and an impish smile. Her memories of him never dimmed. In fact, the image of him came alive every time she unfolded one of the notes in the box and read the words he had penned so many years before. His letters to her reminded her of the deep love they shared for one another, love that would last an eternity. As her eyes scanned the words, she felt a teardrop make its way down her cheek, and she smiled.
Funny how an old love letter can mean so much to us. The thoughts and emotions behind them draw us once again to the one from whom we’ve received them. We read each word with a sense of reverence and often pause to meditate on a single sentence or phrase. It can almost be a spiritual experience as our hearts reach out over the years and maybe the miles to the one we cherish.
This is how God’s Word can affect us when we realize what it represents. From Genesis to Revelation, we have an account of a Holy God pursuing a people He has created to live with and treasure. We are told that He has loved us with an everlasting love (Jeremiah 31:3). Even as His people strayed, scripture tells us how God continually did whatever was necessary to draw them back to Him. When there was no other way for us to be reunited with Him, God took on flesh and offered Himself as a sacrifice for our sins. When we get to the end of the Bible, we find a picture of us reconciled and living with God as He had always intended. This picture of our perfect future is the hope we cling to as we worship the Lord.
That is what our meditation in the Word leads us to — worship. How can we not worship this God who loves us with His entire being? How can we not be drawn to this perfect Being who willingly reaches out to us, imperfect as we are? Even His call for us to worship Him is meant for our well-being as we are ushered into the presence of perfect love and peace. When we realize this, worship becomes a pleasure we enjoy.
Listen with your heart to the voice of your loving Father. Hear Him calling you to worship Him today. Follow the leading of your spirit to enter His presence and praise Him. Lean into His love as you learn to love Him more and more.