The first thing the returned exiles do is set up the altar of sacrifice. Before they begin to lay the foundation for the new temple, they are diligent to work quickly and set up the altar. This was the place, commanded by Moses in Exodus 29, for the offering of burnt offerings to the Lord. It was the place of worship, which preceded all that they would do. The people came to Jerusalem for the Feast of Booths and worshipped God daily around the new altar. A few months afterward they began the work of reconstruction on the temple.
For us, there is a strong reminder of the priority of worship. Before we work for the Lord, before we give to the Lord, we should worship the Lord. But in our worship let us remember that it is our awesome Heavenly Father that we are worshipping and focus on him. Bob Kauflin tweeted a day or so ago: “In 2015, let's be less passionate about worship and more passionate about the triune God we're worshiping.”
I think what Bob means is not to be more enthralled with our “act of worship” than the God whom we worship. Worship is not just making music, in fact, that has very little to do with what true worship is. True worship is presenting myself to the Lord as a living sacrifice 24/7/365. True worship is loving God with all my heart, soul, mind and strength.
So let’s examine ourselves. Are we determined to worship God first, above all else? Have we built our altar of sacrifice, metaphorically speaking, and placed ourselves upon it for his glory and honor? Are we worshipping the Lord in spirit and in truth?
Prayer: Father, help me to worship you in all that I do. Help me to know that every thought of my mind, every word of my mouth and every act of my body can be worship. Show me, by your grace, how to truly worship you with all that I am.