Coming together to worship God should involve more than
singing songs, hearing a sermon, giving money, and fellowshipping with other
church members. I don’t mean to imply that these things are not important
because they are. But if that’s all we expect out of church attendance, that
would be pretty boring. During Moses’ day, God called him upon a mountain into the
clouds and said, “Let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them”
(Exodus 25:8). Up to this point, the Israelites had no place designated for
gathering to meet with God.
Note that this idea of a sanctuary was God’s. It suggests
that He values the idea of a place where His people convene and He can visit
them. Yes, I know God is omnipresent, meaning He is everywhere at the same
time. But the fact that He required this sanctuary built so that he “may dwell
among them” tells me that He had a special kind of meeting in mind.
Jesus echoes the same thing in the New Testament, saying to
His disciples, “Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I
in the midst of them” (Matthew 18:20).
The point is that the place we assemble to worship
God—commonly referred to as the local church—is a place where God wants to
visit His people. But it’s not just a matter of having His presence in our
midst. We have already stated that He is omnipresent so He’s everywhere
already. But when we gather specifically to worship God, it is a special
meeting between God and His people, and we should expect Him to manifest His
God manifests His presence in many ways. It can be through
supernatural healing. Or it may be through touching the heart of a loved one to
accept Christ as his or her Savior. Or perhaps it is through renewing our
spirit with faith and boldness after having been bound by despair. The possibilities are as plenteous as the needs of the people are.
God is our Provider,
and He wants to meet the needs of His people. But even during biblical times, many people missed out on receiving from Him because of their unbelief. That’s why a vital part of
worship is that we come with genuine faith that God can and will meet our
needs. For if we worship Him with a heart of unbelief, as opposed to faith, it will
cause us to miss out on the very things He wants to do in the midst of His