- The outer courts was a place anyone could go. People met here all the time. Priests gave sermons. People did business. Yet it was still part of the worship center. It was open to all. But once you got to a certain point called the Sacred Enclosure only Jews could enter. So to enter to the next part you had to be of the right physical culture (BODY).
- The next part was called the inner courts. This is where the praising of Adonai started to take place. Specific prayers were offered. Each went to their own place, men to men, women to women. A focus on Adonai ELOHIM was apparent. Your mind was set upon God. So to enter the next part you had to have the right focus (MIND).
- The next part was called the Holy Place. Here only the Priests of El Shaddai were allowed to enter. These were the descendants of Levi. They were the only ones allowed because Levites stood behind Moses and followed his leadership during the Golden Calf incident. They stayed close to God and listened to their heart, not their head. God gave them a special place. One that was close to His heart. So to enter the next part one had to be of the right character (HEART).
- The last step is only for the strongest of hearts, the Holy of Holies. Only the Chief Priest could enter this place. He entered once a year to make atonement for all. He had to be clean in all ways. If he was not found to be cleaned he could die at the altar. This altar was the Ark of the Covenant. The place where God comes down to meet His people. The highest of all worship is when God comes to meet you.
What does this mean for us? It is an illustration of what worship is. Each worship time we have should follow these steps. We start with a call to worship. Kenaniah and all of the worship leaders blew the shofar to let the people know it was time to worship. It doesn't necessarily mean it is time for a song or music but it is a time for fellowship. A time for our BODIES to wake up. Once we are awake we are ready to move into the inner courts. This is a time of praise! Songs should be sung at this point. They should be uplifting and praising God. This sets our MINDS for the next step. Real worship. Getting our hearts ready for the Lord's presence. This is a time to slow down. It is a to get deep with your worship. Ultimate praise becomes a personal issue. You are no longer using your mind you are using your HEART. Once your heart is prepared is when you can meet God.
Here is the problem. Too many churches do not know what worship really is. They think it is a program. They want to put on a show. They don't know how to lead people to the next step in worship. They think all they have to do is practice and put on a presentation. It is not about presentation. It is about participation. People need to participate. They need leaders to get them to the next step. Many people say worship is individualized. Worship is up to each person. Then why have a worship time in church? Worship leaders need to do exactly what their title is: LEAD WORSHIP. The leader has to understand people each week come with baggage. You can't just present something and leave it up to the people. People are hurting. Their bodies are drained. If their bodies are drained then their minds are not thinking right, which means their hearts are not in the right place.
- There should be no "worship bands". Technically there should be no "worship teams". There should be a worship ministry! These people are more than just musicians. They reach out to people. They are examples. All should be involved.
- There should be a balance of music played. Not everyone is in the same place. The people who say it is not about the style will be the same people who will refuse to change the style.
- There should be a time set for praise and a time set for worship. Songs should change from words of praise to words of personalization. All songs should focus on God not on people.
- Distractions should be kept to a minimal. Remember people have to worship in steps. No one can get to the Holy Place without going through the courts first!
The greatest story of what worship is, is the Menorah. A lamp with seven places. Each place is dedicated to a day of the week. The middle place is "worship" time. There are three places before the middle. This is a symbol of preparation for worship. There are three places after the middle. This is a symbol recovering from worship. Can you imagine worship being taken that seriously? Instead, in today's churches it's all about the production and not what should be produced. What a shame.