Rhythm Splash Circle

Setting the Stage

Come Prepared!

Rhythm Splash

Imagine a rough tent pitched in the wilderness.  From the outside, it looks like any other tent; several tall poles support a canvas—perhaps animal skins hanging around the outside.  Not a place of elegance—just a rough structure built to house something for a short-term stay. A transitional, mobile, make-do structure.      

In contrast, imagine a palatial stone building complete with wooden columns made of Lebanon cedar. Gold furnishings, priests garbed in jeweled robes built with the financial backing of two generations of kings.  King Solomon the wealthiest and wisest man who ever lived along with his celebrated father, King David was the financier of this divine estate.  So awesome was this structure that after its destruction the old men of Israel wept at the unveiling of its replacement.  There was no comparison!

Several temples have been built throughout history in reverence to the God of Israel including:  Mose's Tabernacle, David's Tabernacle, Solomon's Temple, Zerubabel's Temple & Herod's Temple.  Imagine God, in His divine omniscience, looking back over the annals of time reviewing all of His earthly habitations.  The intent is to decide upon a temple to restore for His dwelling.

He considers the temple made by David, the man after God's own heart. David's intent when he pitched the tent was to hold the Ark of the Covenant there for a short time while he prepared to build his God the most palatial temple the world had ever seen.  The temple was not completed in his lifetime however; he laid up treasure for his son Solomon to complete it.

God next considers the completed Temple of Solomon.  The gold furnishings, the lovely cedar columns… Which would God choose?  Again proving that His thoughts are not ours and neither are His ways, God in Amos 9:11 reveals His choice.

"In that day will I raise up the tabernacle of David that is fallen, and close up the breaches thereof, and I will raise up his ruins, and I will build it as in the days of old:"  Amos 9:11 /

Now what's wrong with God???  We stand scratching our heads considering Him like the parents of a child playing with the box rather than the expensive toy that came in it.  Doesn't He realize that tent was only a temporary holding place?  The fact is that although the tent was only a tent and a makeshift dwelling, there was something about that tent that God preferred above the wealth, beauty, and awe of the Temple of Solomon.

Structurally, perhaps the greatest difference between the two was that Solomon's temple was designed in three compartments much like the tabernacle Moses built in the wilderness of Sinai.  The first compartment was the Outer Court, the next the Holy Place and the last the Holy of Holies.  The Holy of Holies or the Most Holy Place was separated from the Holy Place with a thick heavy veil.  The Ark of the Covenant, which is the earthly symbol of God's Presence, resided behind this veil.  Once a year the High Priest was allowed to enter into the Holy of Holies to atone for the sins of the entire nation by sprinkling the blood of a slain lamb on the Mercy Seat.  If the High Priest was found guilty of any sin on Yom Kippur, which is the Day of Atonement in the Jewish culture, he would drop dead in the Holy of Holies. Since no one was allowed to enter behind the veil other than that High Priest a rope was tied around his waist so that he could then be drawn out from behind the veil.

David's temple being a temporary dwelling was not created with the three compartments.  David's temple had one compartment—The Holy of Holies. When the people came to worship, they were ushered directly into the Presence of God.  There was no veil.  There was nothing separating God from His people.  This is key in understanding God's choice.  Consider that the expressed purpose God gave for giving Moses the blueprint for the tabernacle was 'that I may dwell among them'.  (Exodus 25:8)  It was never His desire to be separated from His people.  However, it was necessary until sin could be adequately conquered.

Could you imagine having to wait well over 1000 years to be close to the one you love?

God had been waiting over a thousand years to destroy that divider between Him and His people.  Jesus' sacrifice ended the need for the Most Holy Place to be off limits to every man.  In three of the Gospels, the renting of the temple veil is mentioned immediately before or after the Jesus' last breath.  His final and ultimate sacrifice enabled God once again to receive worship face to face—as in the Tabernacle of David.  How many of us make Him wait longer still for our communion?/

Imagine again a rough tent pitched in the wilderness.  From the outside, it looks like any other tent; several tall poles supporting a canvas—perhaps animal skins hanging around the outside.  Not a place of elegance just a rough structure built to house God's Presence for a short-term stay.  A transitional, mobile, make-do structure.  Now imagine yourself drawing near.  Before you enter in there is a noise—a sound.  Jubilation, celebration—there's no mistaking it—it is a joyful sound!

Crossing the threshold of the temple you are greeted with resplendent gold, brilliant blue, striking red, bursting amber, and opulent green—rich, luscious fabrics are like confetti in the air, moving in rhythm of the joyous singing, dancing and shouts of uplifted voices, instruments and music.  Everyone is in one accord waving banners and flags and celebrating.  Dancers decked out in majestic materials and hues are leading a procession of people in celebration and jubilation.

As you get closer, you can see that in the midst of the crowd there is a box of pure gold resembling a treasure chest.  Atop the box are two kneeling angels with wings outstretched fashioning a seat made of beaten gold.  There is a brilliant light in the midst of the angel's wings.  Although it should be dark in the tabernacle, it is as bright as day because of the glorious light shining out from the box.

The atmosphere is contagious—you find it drawing you in.  The expressions on the faces of the praisers are full of pure joy and abandon.  It is almost impossible to just watch.  As you surrender to the lure of the praise you are lost in the surroundings.  It seems as though hours could pass and the joy and rapture of the atmosphere wouldn't diminish.

But wait!  Shhhh the tone is changing.  There is a quietening . . . a gentle hush over the crowd almost like the lull of waves on the shore.  Relaxing, peaceful, serene…   Something deep inside you responds…to a tugging feeling that is not physical.  The people around you must be sensing it too.  Some begin to kneel, some quietly lift their hands, tears begin to fall like silent liquid, crystal offerings.  You notice that some are lying prostrate in total surrender and abandon to—to….  Something—Someone who is worthy…holy.  You feel an inexplicable urge to bow./

Soft, intermittent unintelligible whispers are heard.  Syllables of words that were never before spoken on earth are breathed in muted tones.  The peace flows in waves like warm, gentle waves on a secluded seashore.  Everyone has forgotten the presence of everyone else except—the holy Presence to which everyone acknowledges in their own personal, intimate way.

Oh, there is nothing like this peace!  What fullness!  Nothing on earth has ever touched you so deeply before.  Like never before you sense that you are connected, indelibly to something greater, you were born for something more.  Right now you have found that purpose.  —Someone—different.  Someone holy is here.

Comfort envelopes you like a warm blanket—comfort for the secret pains that you have never acknowledged at a conscious level.  Hurts buried long ago are being uncovered and healed in this Presence.  Love that you have always silently, craved fills the holes and voids in your broken heart.  You sense words of encouragement, peace, love, and patience whispered but not in your ears.  Rather somewhere deep inside you.  You, like an unborn babe, can feel His divine heartbeat lulling you into peace and comfort.

Here, lost in His Presence time means nothing.  Nothing means anything…. except the passion being birthed inside you.  Even as you are afraid to move, afraid to end the experience you unconsciously press you way closer to the glory shining from that mysterious box in the midst of the room, your mind reels "How can I get closer to this Presence?  How can I get closer to Him?"

One by one the people begin to dissipate.  As they leave, another call to praise is sounded in the camp.  The shifts change and another group of praisers begins to assemble.  A procession of banners and flags arrive.  The musicians begin to play and whole procession begins again.  As you are ushered back out into the light of day you know that deep within, you have been changed—deep within, everything is new.  Your mind keeps repeating "When can I come back?  Next time I'll get closer.  I have to get closer…"

This, beloved, is worship.  That desperate, relentless pursuit that draws you by the delicate strings of your spirit to weekly, daily, hourly press your way closer into that most privileged place.  You enter the Holy of Holies thinking "Maybe He'll show me His face today.  Maybe I can touch His heart today."  It leaves your soul hungry no matter how often you consume of Him—you are insatiable.  This was the attitude of David, the man after God's own heart.  It was the attitude that prompted David to commission singers, dancers, musicians, and other worshippers to worship around the clock in his little make-shift tent.

Without intending to, with only the desire to please the Lover of his Soul, David stumbles upon the prescription for worship that captures the heart of the Almighty.  Our nations are ailing with the illnesses of crime, teen pregnancy, drug addiction, hopelessness, and godlessness.  We wonder how to make a difference in our communities, how to rebuild our inner cities, how to capture our youth.  We wonder how to give hope to crime-ridden communities and how to give life and vitality to our churches.  The Holy Spirit is writing the same prescription today.  The call to worship is sounding.  The Tabernacle of David is being restored.

Can you hear the call?  It is resounding in the heart of the worshipers.

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