Recovering a Sense of Awe in our Worship

This morning, as part of my daily Bible reading, I came to the Queen of Sheba's visit to King Solomon in I Kings 10:1-13. It may not be obvious at first, but this narrative has much to teach us about the way we approach Christian worship. It centers around this little word "awe." We're so used to people saying, "Wow! That's awesome!" If you grew up in the 80's like I did, you remember the phrase, "Totally Awesome!" used to describe everything from an Orange Julius to "rat tails," mullets, and leg warmers! But I digress....


The word "awe" has fallen on hard times.  It actually means something like "apprehending danger" (Linguistic Key to the Greek New Testament). That's why the writer of Hebrews tells us, "...let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire" (Heb. 12:28, 29).  The idea is that we should be filled with awe when we approach our Lord in worship because He is holy, majestic, powerful and weighty. This is where the queen of Sheba comes in!  In the biblical account, she is left with a sense of awe after her encounter with the king, the Son of David: "And when the queen of Sheba had seen all the wisdom of Solomon, the house that he had built, the food of his table, the seating of his officials, and the attendance of his servants, their clothing, his cupbearers, and his burnt offerings that he offered at the house of the LORD, there was no more breath in her" (I Kings 10:4, 5). 


When we think about it, all the things the queen heard and saw in Solomon that leave her breathless, we hear and see in our King Jesus - only magnified 1000 times! 


True - King Solomon answered all of her hard questions with his wisdom. But don't we have all of our questions answered as we hear from the One who is Truth through the preaching of His Word? Not only is He our King, He's also our Prophet!


Yes - Solomon built a magnificent palace, but it's nothing in comparison to our Lord's glorious building project, His church,of which He is the chief  cornerstone. 


I'm sure Solomon had a rich spread of food on display to impress the queen. But when we see the food offered at Christ's Table, representing the body and blood of our High Priest, we're overcome at the lengths He went to save us. We also delight that He continues to satisfy our souls with His rich, abundant spiritual food.


We can all imagine the bright, vibrant colors of the clothes worn by Solomon's army of attendants. Yet, when we come together as His living stones to worship, we're clothed in Christ's perfect righteousness, dressed in spotless, white linen. 


And though Solomon may have offered the blood of thousands of bulls, lambs and goats, when we joyfully offer our sacrifice of praise, the fruit of our lips, to Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,we offer them through the blood of the Lamb "who takes away the sins of the world!" 


You see, our worship is no ordinary thing because our Christ is no ordinary King! We actually meet the true Son of David, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords in the Word, Sacrament, and Prayer. I love the queen's, "song of praise," after her meeting with Solomon because it can be sung in response to Christ our King: "Happy are your men! Happy are your servants, who continually stand before you and hear your wisdom! Blessed be the LORD your God, who has delighted in you and set you on the throne of Israel!" (I Kings 10:8, 9).


Notice, too, that the queen presents precious gifts to Solomon (I Kings 10:10), but they're nothing compared to the open-ended gift that he gives her: "And King Solomon gave to the queen of Sheba all that she desired, whatever she asked besides what was given her by the bounty of King Solomon" (I Kings 10:13). How well do we know this truth, as we spoke last week in Eph. 1:3, that those who worship our Lord Jesus receive "every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places!" He holds nothing back from those He loves.


Suffice it to say that in every way, Christ Jesus, the true Son of David, is greater than Solomon! Therefore, worshiping Him week in and week out ought to fill us with even greater reverence and awe, literally taking our breath away as we behold His majesty and glory.


I'm praying for you,