We get a sense of what coming into the presence of God does to us by considering what it did to Isaiah, as recorded in Is. 6:1-5: In the year that king Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and his train filled the temple. 2 Above him stood the seraphim: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly. 3 And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is Jehovah of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory. 4 And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke. 5 Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, Jehovah of hosts.
The worship experiences of Christians allow us to see God upon his throne. It is a throne of splendor and glory, before which we are privileged to worship, a throne of governance, under which we gladly submit, and a throne of grace, to which we may come boldly. That throne, a symbol of pure, regal, power, is high and lifted up. It is elevated with respect to us, because it is of more power, prestige and importance. And it is lifted up, not only above all people, but it transcends all other thrones and principalities, (Eph. 1:21). No earthly or other power reigns without the consent of God. “There is no power but of God; and the powers that be are ordained of God,” (Rom. 13:1). Beholding God on his throne reminds us that he is King of kings and Lord of lords, (1 Tim. 6:15; Rev. 19:16).
We see the Lord sitting upon his throne, an indication of rest and accomplishment, for “when he had made purification of sins, [he] sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high,” (Heb. 1:3). He is ruling and raining in the hearts and lives of Christians. His rulership is ongoing, systematic and natural. Christian worship is not offered in disorderly haste or confusion, but is always “decently and in order,” (1 Cor. 14:40), befitting a King sitting upon his throne forever, (Ps. 29:10).
Isaiah saw the Lord Jesus, for so this vision is explained in Jn. 12:41. In our worship, we are reminded of the sweet, permeating presence of Christ everywhere. The hearts of our brethren all around us are filled with rapture, lost in praise, totally devoted to him. Thus, his train filled the temple, the “temple” representing the church of Christ. Henry Barraclaugh captured this concept in the following words: “My Lord has garments so wondrous fine, and myrrh their texture fills; its fragrance reached to this heart of mine, with joy my being thrills.” The church displays and is everywhere filled with the manifestations of Christ’s glory, for people see Christ through his church. “To the intent that now unto the principalities and the powers in the heavenly places might be made known through the church the manifold wisdom of God,” (Eph. 3:10). His amazing train fills the temple.
When we worship God, we perceive that we are in the good company of the angelic hosts such as the seraphim, who are constantly observing and announcing the glorious and holy nature of God. Indeed, all creation is actively doing the same, because He is Jehovah of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory. “This is my Father’s world, the birds their carols raise, the morning light, the lily white declare their maker’s praise,” (Babcock). Christian worship is not limited to the auditorium of the church building, but punctuates the life of the Christian whenever and wherever the authorized acts of reverence may be performed. In personal prayer, study and other private devotions, the Christian ventures intrepidly into the throne room of God. And in public worship with his brethren, he approaches the throne en masse with the church, as a parent receiving his happy children all together. Being in the company of other Christians when we worship is especially encouraging because of the teaching and admonishing which occurs in that sacred setting, (Eph. 5:19). We leave the throne room refreshed and revitalized—eager to serve. It is a life-changing experience. It reminds us of the love of our Father, and the humbling privilege which is ours in worshiping him.
-by Robert C. Veil, Jr.
How Worship Affects the Christian (Part 1)