Finished my reading in the Book of Isaiah this morning and ran across a verse that was prompted by the Spirit for me to investigate. These are the verses:
“THUS SAYS the Lord: Heaven is my throne, and the earth is My footstool. What kind of house would you build for Me? And what kind can be My resting place? For all these things My hand has made, and so all these things have come into being [by and for Me], says the Lord. But this is the man to whom I will look and have regard: he who is humble and of a broken or wounded spirit, and who trembles at My word and reveres My commands” (Isaiah 66:1-2 AMP).
When reading in God’s Word, I often underline, high-light and jot down my previous thoughts of past readings. I also write down supporting Scripture to reference my thoughts. The two above verses were no exception; and I immediately turned to the Psalms for which I had noted.
“The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise” (Psalm 51:17 NIV).
David, the writer of this Psalm, uses the Hebrew word “shabor” for “broken spirit”. It means “to shiver, to break to pieces or to reduce.” A spirit that trembles in God’s presence, broken into multiple pieces, is classified as acceptable sacrifice in worshiping God. And if we as believers in Christ Jesus, God’s only begotten Son, will need to know and learn how to worship God “in spirit and truth”. Why do we need to worship Him in that way? Because His Word says so:
“A time will come, however, indeed it is already here, when the true (genuine) worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth (reality); for the Father is SEEKING just such people as these as His worshipers. God is a Spirit (a spiritual Being) and those who worship Him MUST worship Him in spirit and in truth” (John 4:23-24 AMP).
I intentionally capitalized “SEEKING” and “MUST” in John as Jesus was also giving emphasis to the woman at the well: ‘God is seeking real (in spirit and in truth) worshipers. There isn’t any other way to do so; you must worship Him in that way–in spirit and in truth.’ I know, you might be thinking to yourself right now, “How can I tell if I am worshiping in spirit and in truth. I want my worship to be acceptable to God?” It starts by internalizing God’s Word.
The Psalmist David’s thoughts
In Psalm 51, David doesn’t indicate whether the spirit may have been broken by God, the worshiper or the harsh realities of life. He just indicates–no matter what has broken us, we can bring that brokenness to God in sweet surrender and an accepted attitude of worship.
When David spoke of a “broken heart”, he uses a different Hebrew word: “dakah“; meaning “to crumble, to beat to pieces, to bruise, to crush.” It adds to the expression “a contrite heart.”
“Contrite” is a word used to describe the process of making talcum powder.
In days gone by, some brands of talcum powder came in containers, similar to the one in the picture, which were printed: “This is stone that has been contrite d.” It simply means, what was once part of a mountain has now been ground and pounded so fine, it will float on water.” My mom told me years ago that there was actually a brand name of powder call “Contrite” talcum powder.
Now the form becomes entirely different in this bible verse. Did the prophet have this in mind when he wrote, “Is not My word…like a hammer that breaks in pieces the rock?” (Jerm. 23:29).
Worship Requirements Are Still In Effect!
We have built such protective walls around our emotions and when I say “we“, that includes myself. We have difficulties of releasing openly tenderness, love and adoration. Men especially seem to have the biggest difficulty with this type of openness. We are more like the alabaster box than the ointment that was poured out. Until something breaks that ‘rock-hard’ attitude, no love is poured out on Christ. I’ll talk about the ‘love attitude’ later.
Tears are not only an evidence of being broken and contrited, but also an expression of full emotion. Jesus tell us,
“…you shall love the Lord your God out of and with
your whole heart and out of and with all your soul (your life)
and out of and with all your mind (with your faculty of thought
and your moral understanding) and out of and with all your strength” (Mark 12:30 AMP).
Usually, with this much concentration; the alls‘ build a wave of emotion and release the tears. I don’t watch many beauty pageants on television anymore but when I did, I always noticed how tensions would build. When the climatic moment finally arrives and the winner is announced. The atmosphere becomes electrifying. Generally the winner burst into a flood of tears, along with my wife and those in the audience, releasing the pent-up emotions that have been building.
Should worship be any different for us? Tears are nothing to be ashamed men (“How about those Bears?”); even great athletes weep for joy after winning an event. But our society, secular and non-secular has installed a high barb-wire fence around our displays of emotions (especially men), our attitude of worship has been squelched by the world around us. Is there anything that can be done? A prayer before worship service might go like this: “Father, please have your Holy Spirit give me the right attitude this morning of a contrite spirit”.
Have you been at an airport and watched people’s reactions when they greet friends and loved ones arriving; meeting and embracing in joy? It is a good place to witness tearful emotions. Should we expect to burst out at times, crying in true worship, in spirit and truth as we come into the presence of the loving God? Do we truthfully go into Sunday morning services or other times of worship with EXPECTATION?
“Let Us Worship in Humility”
When God was speaking through the prophet Isaiah, He declared:
“For thus says the high and exalted One who lives forever, whose name is Holy, I dwell on a high and holy place, And also with the contrite and lowly (the humble) And revive the heart of the contrite” (Isaiah 57:15 NAS).
I hear of many churches in the land praying for revival in their communities. Before this can happen, our own hearts must be revived first.
God declares that He not only dwells with the angels in heaven but He also dwells with the contrite and humble in spirit. Brokenness and humility form a dwelling place of the Almighty God. God’s presence is a necessary prerequisite to worship and revival too.
The necessary sacrifices of Worship
“A contrite heart/spirit is a heart that isn’t ‘full of itself’; is able to admit mistakes; admit to not being perfect and is open to receive from someone.”
A hard or proud heart says, “I am fully capable of deciding everything myself and don’t need anyone to tell me anything. I am complete in myself and nobody can tell me anything because I KNOW IT ALREADY!”
You’ve probably heard this definition of insanity:
“To keep doing the same thing over and over and expect different results.”
A contrite heart recognizes it has a need, open to change of thinking and is willing to break out of insanity. Continuing to walk a path of “I’ll fake till I make it” worshiping in church. It will always lead to the same dead-end. If this is you, STOP!
If we approach God in the pride of our being, our accomplishments in our churches, our position in the church; we are pushing away from and not Romancing the Divine (from Romancing the Divine by Don Nori).
But if we approach God in a contrite and humble spirit, He draws us into Himself; none can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord (Rom. 8:35, 39). Worshiping without these qualities is like love without commitment. The worship is shallow, emotional and fleeting.
I remember when I was a ‘babe in Christ’ in Southern California and attended my first Men’s Retreat at Forrest Home. When I was on top of the mountain I was feeling worshipful. When I came down from the mountain top… what happened a week later? I had lost my commitment of praise and worship!
The LOVE Attitude in ‘Talcum Powder’ Worship
“And standing behind Him (Jesus) at His feet weeping, she began to wet His feet with [her] tears; and she wiped them with the hair of her head and kissed His feet [affectionately] and anointed them with the ointment (perfume).”  “Now when the Pharisee who had invited Him saw it, he said to himself, If this Man were a prophet, He would surely know who and what sort of woman this is touching Him–for she is a notorious sinner (a social outcast, devoted to sin)”  (Luke 7:38-39 AMP).
With what is cost these days for a woman to get her hair done in a salon, to wipe someones feet with her own hair, in front of a religious leader or anyone else, most people would say your “nuts”. But the woman didn’t give it a thought to what the Pharisee would say. What she did wasn’t to impress but it constituted and act of heartfelt worship; her hair was a symbol of her glory and she was simply giving it as a sacrifice to Jesus in worship (1 Cor. 11:15); in contriteness, humility and demonstrated LOVE.
The attitude of LOVE is exemplified in this story for our learning– The Acceptable ‘Talcum Powder’ Kind of Worship. Jesus’ acceptance of this woman wasn’t merely that she felt love of Him or even felt love for Him. It was acceptance of her expression; what she felt in her heart, her soul and all her mind (intellect) ~ Matthew 22:37. An acceptable ‘Talcum Powder‘ kind of worship! She poured love out in unashamed, nonsexual manner. She evidenced that love in kissing Christ’s feet. Unloving worship is worse than an uncaring stepmother. If our worship on Sunday morning is going to be acceptable to God in heaven, then we are going to have to change our attitudes here on earth. Fellowship among believers is beneficial and uplifting before worshiping in the sanctuary, but preparation for worship is what’s needed. A change in thinking.
“But as for me, my prayer is to You, O Lord. At an acceptable and opportune time, O God, in the multitude of Your mercy and the abundance of Your loving-kindness hear me, and in truth and faithfulness of Your salvation answer me” (Psalm 69:13).