The Audience of One
Worship: The Audience of One
2 Samuel 6:13-16, 20-22a
Lowell Ogden tells the story of a little boy who lived out in the country around the turn of the century. He had never seen a traveling circus, and one was coming to his town on Saturday. When he asked his father for permission to go, his dad said he could providing his chores were done early. Saturday morning came. Chores finished, the little boy asked his father for some money to go to the circus. His dad reached down in his overalls and pulled out a dollar bill, the most money the boy had ever seen at one time. Off the little wide-eyed fellow went. As he approached the town, he saw people lining the streets. Peering through the line at one point, he got his first glimpse of the parade. There were animals in cages and marching bands. Finally, a clown was seen bringing up the rear of the parade. The little boy was so excited that when the clown passed, he reached in his pocket and handed him the precious dollar bill. Thinking he had seen the circus when he had only seen the parade, the little boy turned around and went home. Isn’t it sad that some people come to church like this little boy who went to the circus? We may come with the intent to worship God, but all they see is the parade – the parade of liturgy, hymn singings, prayers, and preaching. They peer through their pews at all the activity and then turn to go home at 12:00 noon; thinking they have been to God’s house, but yet they missed the main event – a personal encounter with Jesus Christ!
Like the little boy who thought the parade was the circus, we may think all the externals are worship. We enthusiastically participate in worship and enjoy all the goings-on but if where not careful we can be lead to believe that we have worshipped God. It is very distressing to think worship is just external conformity to what others are doing or what we see our leaders do. Worship has less to do with form or the lack thereof and more to do with the heart to heart relationship with God. It is much easier to change the external behavior of one’s worship style but never change the heart. We leave worship the same way we came untouched, unchanged and not moved.
Worship needs to become a heart to heart issue- the audience of one, forget about what form, style and concentrate upon the One whom we are worshipping. It’s the audience of One- The Lord God- which needs to be addressed not the audience of the many, because our human nature is prone to adopted one style of worship over another whether its because of preference, culture or out of peer pressure. We tend to not want to stick out in the crowd so we conform to what everyone else to doing. We must be reminded that worship is more about the presence of our Lord than form we aspire to.
Gene Mims in Kingdom Principles for Church Growth said, “The purpose of worship is to come before the Lord in obedience to praise Him, to hear from Him, to confess to Him, and to commit our lives to Him. Every worship service is to be an encounter with the Lord, transcending our feelings, desires, and even our abilities to perform.”
In our text 2 Samuel 6:13-16, 20-22 we will see David worshipping before the ark and was celebrating with all his might, to the audience of One.
Read 2 Samuel 6:1-5. Was this an exciting time? Why? (This story goes back to 1 Samuel 4. The Israelites wrongly took the Ark of God out on the field of battle to give them a military advantage over the Philistines. Instead, the Ark fell into the hands of the Philistines |who, as a result of having it, suffered several serious plagues. (1 Samuel 5) The Philistines decided that it was time to give it back, so they put it on a new cart, added a chest of gold, and let calves take it back (only God was leading) to Israel! (1 Samuel 6) The Israelites, when they saw it come over the boarder, did not handle it properly and 70 men died. (1 Samuel 6). So, they decided to take it the house of Abinadab a Levite, for their safety and for safe-keeping. He son, Eleazar, was to guard the Ark. The Ark stayed at his house for 20 years (1 Samuel 7) until David decided to give it a home in Jerusalem.)
The Ark was being transported back to Jerusalem, but because of improper protocol in carrying the Ark Uzzah is dead. If David or the priests would have read the instruction manual concerning how God said the Ark should have been carried Uzzah would not have died. (2 Sam.6:2-9) This incident caused David’s anger to boil against the Lord and fear enveloped David’s heart. David left the Ark at the House of Obededom. Three months have lapsed, and David heard that Obededom was being blessed along with his family because of the Ark. David feels God has cooled down and it is safe to move the Ark. But during those three months David had a change of attitude, he examined his heart and the law on how to carry the ark. This time the ark is properly carried by Levites “with the poles on their shoulders” (1 Chron. 15:15).
David’s Heart for God: 6:12-15: It is thought that Ps. 24 may have been composed to celebrate this event found in chapter 6. We also discover that Ps. 105 also grew out of this happy event. David was used of God to give expression to the joy of his heart, and his song glorified the Lord. The king laid aside his royal robes and led the procession in the humble garments of a Levite-priestly tunic (lay aside our robes of preference, culture). Look at 2 Sam. 6: 14, 21 here we find the heart of David in worship, the KJV uses the words “David danced before the Lord” and “therefore will I play before the Lord” David was very animated and danced before the Lord with NO THOUGHT of who’s around. David’s motive was purely to worship the Lord; he was impervious to what was around him. This is what is meant by the audience of One -“before the Lord” whether we are surround by people or alone in our homes, or on the way to work in our cars. It doesn’t matter who is present as long as God is present.
Michal’s David’s wife did not share in the same excitement as David rather she viewed David’s episode as embarrassing and unfitting for a King. She simply did not grasp the meaning and significance of the event; she was more sensitive about what the slave girls saw when the King was dancing. She played more to the audience of the many, she was concerned with what others might see or think than with the worship of God.
Worship is about your heart: Worship - The audience of One is not about extroverted or introverted worship both styles are appropriate but not necessarily always pleasing to God. If we perform or not perform for another’s approval when we worship God, then we’re perverting, distorting, and misapprehending the praise meant for Him. Worship to the One is more about motive and intent of the heart than outward appearance. Look at 2 Sam 6:16,20 “… she despises David in her heart.” When we examine the reasons for Michal’s actions we can only speculate as to the reasons for her opposition to David’s leaping and dancing before the Lord. It is painfully clear that she had no appreciation for the spiritual implications of that great hour she became bitter and could not share in David’s joyful worship of God so she hate it. Not only did she hate it, she misrepresented what David was doing, accusing him of show boating before the young maids.
The David’s and Michal’s:
Listen to this statement: “Those who have learned to worship and have seen God in their hearts will be significantly different in their worship towards God.” What does this mean? In other words, you will have the David’s and the Michal’s those who are worshipping before the Lord and those who are constrained by what other’s think. The David’s do not care whose around they will worship the Lord whether it’s at church or in the privacy of their homes. They will dance, sing, and shout, before the Lord. (Clarification: David’s don’t need to be expressive they can be quiet) The Micah’s are concerned about who’s watching, remember Peter in Galatians 2:11-13, he tried to please both sides. When he was with the Jews he conformed to what they wanted and when he was with the Gentiles he play the game their way. Michal’s want to appear dignified, they want to appear distinguish before others - issue of pride. They are not concerned with worship before God, that’s a little strong, I should say “they have lost their heart for God”, and are concerned with the worship of being correct- you want to play by other peoples rules and not Gods.
To be a worshipper of one means: to be extravagant in your worship before the Lord. Give it all that you have in your worship. Do as David; worship the Lord with all your might. It is obvious that David’s “dancing” before the Lord was a spontaneous expression of his joy that the ark of God was restored to the people. Was it undignified for David to act in this way? Certainly not! We may never feel comfortable to dance before the Lord like David- corporately or privately, but we dare not go to the other extreme and rule out all outward expressions of joy and praise in our worship of God! While some believers may carry such activities to extremes, others may be guilty of grieving the Spirit by a false sobriety.
Remember worshiping to the audience of one isn’t about outward appearance- demonstrative or subdued but rather about our hearts being touched and renewed by the Holy Spirit. Once our hearts are touched our worship will be extravagant towards the Lord. We will worship the Lord with all our heart, mind, soul and spirit. Once we understand and catch a glimpse of the extravagant love it takes for a perfect God to run towards us prodigals like us, will our hearts began to learn and worship to the audience of one.
Tommy Tenney tells this story.
When he believed that God spoke to him in a wispier and said, “You know, Tommy, your favorite worship services and my favorite services are not the same. You leave you services full and satisfied, but when you leave, I’m still hungry.”
He writes, “God whispered this to me during a life-changing Sunday morning service. It was a divine encounter that forever imprinted itself with indelible ink on the pages of my memory.”
He continues, “There were tears in my eyes when I whispered to my wife, ‘I don’t think I’ve ever been this close to Him before.
I wish I knew then what I have discerned since- that God will leave our meetings full and satisfied only when we begin to leave them feeling hungrier for Him than when we first came.”...
When we understand what worship is about God and not just as an activity to perform, or a form to adhere too, we will be leaving our worship hungrier for Him, wanting more of His presence. Desiring that audience of one.
Questions; is your heart’s motive and intent pure before the Lord? Why are you worshiping? Are you worshiping to the audience of one or to the many?