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Understanding Our Place As Worship Leaders (Devotion)

Understanding Our Place As Worship Leaders (Devotion)

By Mathew Reames on December 09, 2012

2nd Chronicles is a great passage of the Bible which details the official dedication service of Solomon’s Temple. However, it is also a great explanation of the purpose of the worship leader, and we can learn alot from studying the Temple’s first worship service.  To save space, I am only going to highlight certain verses, but the passage is best when viewed in its entirety. So read it by yourself as you read this devotional to help fill in the full story. 

Verses 1 - 3 detail that the people were coming to the temple to celebrate, but I want to begin by reading in verse 5:

“They brought up the ark and the tent of meeting and all the holy utensils which were in the tent; the Levitical priests brought them up. And King Solomon and all the congregation of Israel who were assembled with him before the ark, were sacrificing so many sheep and oxen that they could not be counted or numbered.

Then the priests brought the ark of the covenant of the LORD to its place, into the inner sanctuary of the house, to the holy of holies, under the wings of the cherubim.”
2 Chronicles 5:5-7 (NASB)

These verses outline what I think is one of the biggest keys we need to remember as worship leaders, and help convey to the congregation. The Sanctuary is a sacred place. The Levites had specific rules and ways they were allowed to approach the Holy Place of God. We as Christians are not bound to laws like the Levites, but that doesn’t mean we should lose the fear of the Lord in our sanctuaries.

When we treat our sanctuaries as a Holy place for encountering the presence of the Lord, our minds shift. We begin to come with expectancy, with greater Hope. The Bible says is Psalm 51:17, “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; A broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise.When we come into a Holy place with holy fear and reverence we offer ourselves as a sacrifice long before the ‘worship music’ begins; Which is what Paul asked of us in Romans 12:1-2.

Verses 8, 9, and 10 detail some specifics of The Ark of the Covenant. But let’s pick up the story again with verse 11.

“When the priests came forth from the holy place (for all the priests who were present had sanctified themselves, without regard to divisions)”
2 Chronicles 5:11

There is something interesting in the parenthesis. It says that the priests had sanctified themselves. Remember that they haven’t taken ‘the stage’ to lead the congregation in worship yet. The first key was to remember that the sanctuary is a holy place, but the second key is just as important. You as a leader need to be holy. I am not saying you need to be perfect, but remember in James 3:11, James asked us, “Can bitter water and sweet water come from one fountain?” The answer is no, and so we need to live a lifestyle that cultivates sweet water in our lives. Furthermore, let us look at the words of Jesus:

"The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth what is good; and the evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth what is evil; for his mouth speaks from that which fills his heart.”
Luke 6:45

If we want to release the presence and the spirit of God, we need to live a life that is cultivating His presence in our hearts. If our hearts are full of sin and the wine of the world, how can we expect righteousness and the new wine of God’s spirit to come out of our mouths in worship? As we cultivate a lifestyle of Holiness, and pursuit of God, these things will pour out of us in worship. Now let’s pick the story back up in verse 12, and read through the end of the chapter.

“…and all the Levitical singers, Asaph, Heman, Jeduthun, and their sons and kinsmen, clothed in fine linen, with cymbals, harps and lyres, standing east of the altar, and with them one hundred and twenty priests blowing trumpets in unison when the trumpeters and the singers were to make themselves heard with one voice to praise and to glorify the LORD,

and when they lifted up their voice accompanied by trumpets and cymbals and instruments of music, and when they praised the LORD saying, "He indeed is good for His loving kindness is everlasting," then the house, the house of the LORD, was filled with a cloud, so that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud, for the glory of the LORD filled the house of God.”
2 Chronicles 5:12-14

The next key we need to remember is: Unity in worship awakens hearts to the presence of God. God was already in the Holy Place, but as these people worshipped together in unity, their eyes opened to see the Presence of God manifested in the physical as a cloud.

We, as worship leaders, need to cultivate unity in the body, not just that we are friendly to one another, but that our hearts are pursuing our Messiah together. We need unified pursuit, and if we as a worship team and worship leaders are united, we can draw people into our worship because the Presence of God is so inviting.

When we worship the Lord, it draws His presence, and that is the goal of our worship. It’s not about singing the popular song or having the right stage presence, but rather that the worship we bring would open our hearts to experience His Presence.

The final key I want to highlight actually comes from the next chapter - 2 Chronicles 6. Often we stop when we get to the end of a chapter, but the original writers of the Bible didn’t have chapter and verse, but a story they were telling.

This is important to worship leaders, because we are inclined to look at our worship as the end all be all. But even in a great worship service, there is something after. The service doesn’t end when we stop singing. Let’s read starting at verse 1.

“Then Solomon said, "The LORD has said that He would dwell in the thick cloud.” I have built you a lofty house, And a place for Your dwelling forever." Then the king faced about and blessed all the assembly of Israel, while all the assembly of Israel was standing.”
2 Chronicles 6:1-3

Following an excellent worship service wherein the presence of God was made manifest, Solomon got up and began to preach. This is how it works in most services in our modern church. We worship and then the pastor comes to preach. As worship leaders, we serve the pastor and prepare people for The Word of God. If we are focused on our songs, our worship, our vision, we are doing the church a great disservice.

We should be united with our leaders. We should catch the vision that God has given them for the church, and then we should align our worship to help further that vision. God did not place us as worship leaders so we could promote our own ministry and agenda, but so that we could help facilitate through music the vision that God has given for that Church.

Is it a common thing to get so focused on our own part that we lose sight of the whole picture, but when we see the whole picture, the vision, or the goal, we are able to see how to make our portion fit in with it. Imagine the Mona Lisa. Leonardo DiVinci had a great vision for the painting, but what if he had someone else try to help him by painting red hipster glasses on her. That would destroy the art that was being created.

As worship leaders if we align with the pastor’s vision we can help him do all that he is called by God to do, but if we try to follow our vision, eventually he will just have to paint over it. God has given us a great call as worship leaders. We ought to continue to be faithful, pure, holy, and maintain a true servant’s heart.

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Mathew Reames

Mathew Reames

Mathew is a missionary and a worship leader serving the global body of Christ through worship training, biblical teaching, and evangelism. He resides in Lawrence, KS and Serves at Eagle Rock Church when not on the mission field.