The book of Leviticus is not one that many Christians visit on a regular basis, but it is a great book for worship leaders to read. Yes, it is filled with all types of odd commands that may not make any sense to you, but each one of those commands were given to the people of Israel for a reason—to help them worship and live in right relationship with G0d.
You shall be holy to me, for I the Lord am holy, and I have separated you from other peoples to be mine.” Leviticus 20:26
BRINGING AN ACCEPTABLE SACRIFICE
The majority of the book of Leviticus describes different types of sacrifices. It provides specific requirements for the people to follow, and gives clear explanations of what will and will not be acceptable to God. Here is an example from the first chapter:
“If his offering is a burnt offering from the herd, he shall offer a male without blemish. He shall bring it to the entrance of the tent of meeting, that he may be acceptable before the Lord.”
Notice the two things that were required. The sacrifice had to be a male, and it could not have any blemishes. There couldn’t be any defects in the offering that was being brought to God. This meant it had to be perfect. If it wasn’t, God would not accept the offering.
GOD CARES ABOUT WHAT WE BRING TO HIM
This Old Testament verse about sacrifices teaches us a very important lesson about worship–God cares about what we bring to Him. This is why He gave the people of Israel the rules for sacrifice in the book of Leviticus. God wanted to make sure that the offerings His people brought Him would be acceptable.
The offerings we bring to God do look much different than the ones mentioned in Leviticus, but God still cares about what we bring to Him. Is the offering of worship you are bringing to the Lord acceptable?
WORSHIP IS A GIFT
Be honest with yourself for a second. How many times have you rushed into a worship service and spent little to no time preparing your heart and mind for what you are about to do? How pleasing was the offering YOU brought to the Lord?
Worship is a gift given to us by God, and that gift should be treasured by His people. We should never enter a corporate worship service having not prepared our mind and our hearts for what we are about to do. What we bring to the Lord as an offering must be pleasing and acceptable to the Him.
PREPARING FOR WORSHIP IS A DAILY ACTIVITY
Getting your heart ready for worship is not a one time activity, it’s a daily discipline. Preparing for worship requires time and effort to accomplish. Preparing your heart and mind before a worship service is important, but preparation for worship must not be limited only to the days you gather for corporate worship.
And He said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. Luke 9:23
Daily we are to deny ourselves, take up our cross and follow Jesus. This word “deny” means to give up control of oneself. This means we are no longer in control of our lives. Each day we lay down our wants and desires, and seek to live a life that glorifies God with every word and action. Why? Because we have given control of our daily lives to Jesus. We are no longer in control —Jesus is.
PREPARING FOR WORSHIP MAY NOT ALWAYS BE EASY
This is not a simple task, nor is it always painless or quick, because you are literally having to reprogram your heart and mind. Since birth you have had a self-serving, me-centered worldview where you were in control. As a follower of Jesus, you are now a new creation, which means you must “renew” your mind. Your life is no longer focused on you but on glorifying God and putting the needs of others before yourself. The only way this will happen is if you spend time in God’s Word daily.
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
We discover how to live a God-honoring life when we spend time in God’s Word and in prayer. Therefore, I cannot stress the importance of being a student who daily spends time practicing these two disciplines.
For a worship leader, there is no greater way to prepare an acceptable offering than to ready your heart and mind for worship. Musical preparation is important and must not be over looked, but never allow your music preparation to trump your spiritual preparation for worship. For God cares about your heart much more than He cares about skill level at which you play.