WILDERNESS: Our Bodies Tell the Story of Our Hearts

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May 28, 2020

Exodus 34:8-14 (NIV)

8 Moses bowed to the ground at once and worshiped. 9 “Lord,” he said, “if I have found favor in your eyes, then let the Lord go with us. Although this is a stiff-necked people, forgive our wickedness and our sin, and take us as your inheritance.”

10 Then the Lord said: “I am making a covenant with you. Before all your people I will do wonders never before done in any nation in all the world. The people you live among will see how awesome is the work that I, the Lord, will do for you. 11 Obey what I command you today. I will drive out before you the Amorites, Canaanites, Hittites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites. 12 Be careful not to make a treaty with those who live in the land where you are going, or they will be a snare among you. 13 Break down their altars, smash their sacred stones and cut down their Asherah poles. 14 Do not worship any other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.

CONSIDER THIS

Moses bowed to the ground at once and worshiped.

This, of course, was in response to his encounter yesterday with Yahweh. 

“The LORD, the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, 7 maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. (Exodus 34:6-7)

Let me test a working hypothesis with you as we get started today. Here it is: God is as real to you as your worship is real to him. Let me take that a slightly mind-blowing step further. We talk a lot about our experience of God. But do we ever really consider how God experiences us? It’s what I love about today’s opening words.

Moses bowed to the ground at once and worshiped.

Slightly invasive question: When is the last time you did that—bowed down to the ground and worshiped God? 

Most all of us believe in God. It’s more or less a settled issue. But how real is God to you—in your every day actual experience? Back to my working hypothesis: God is as real to you as your worship is real to him. So how real do you think your worship is to God? What about at church, that place we used to go (and now realize we must become)? What about in private? I’m not asking if your worship of God is physically demonstrative. It doesn’t have to be physically demonstrative to be real, but the Bible does reveal worship most often as a physically embodied posture, like raising one’s hands or bowing down or prostrating oneself on the ground. Consider these lines from Psalm 95:

Come, let us bow down in worship,
let us kneel before the Lord our Maker;
7 for he is our God
and we are the people of his pasture,
the flock under his care.

For half of my life, and still now at times, I am content to let my worship exist in my “heart” as a generalized sense of felt gratitude and sometimes affection aimed generally in God’s direction. I suspect God experiences this at about the level I do—real but kind of vague. If I’m honest, that is how I reacted to some of the most stunning words in all of Scripture yesterday. 

I don’t in any way mean to question your worship or your sincerity before God. I’m just asking you to consider it. Might it be true: God is as real to you as your worship is real to him?

While faith is definitely a matter of the heart, the life of faith is not primarily lived out in the heart. It is lived from the heart but through our actual bodies. In fact, our bodies will invariably tell the story of our hearts. The Bible teaches us that our hearts are deceitful above all things. (see Jeremiah 17:9). Our bodies though—our movements, our actions—do not lie. They tell the story of our hearts. And I think the way our bodies worship, perhaps more than anything else, tells that story. (This concept also has enormous implications for the sexual confusion and gender dysphoria in our world today. In other words, we are told we can trust our hearts but not our bodies.)

Moses bowed to the ground at once and worshiped.

We communicate through two primary languages. Our spoken words and our bodies (hence the term “body language”). We don’t have a body. We are a body. The implications of that last sentence are staggering. By a simple act of will we can decide to say something to God with our bodies; today, right now. And it can actually change, even transform, the quality of faith in your heart. 

I want you to consider a movement of worship with your body—today; even right now. 

Bonus points if you join our Private FaceBook Page and share what you did and what happened. 

THE PRAYER

God of the wilderness. God of the wild. Teach my body to worship you. I find myself waiting for some kind of feeling or emotional experience to lead me to physical and embodied worship. Something tells me it can be the other way around too; that my bowed body or my lifted hands or my prostrated posture can actually change my spirit. Give me the grace and the courage today, even if I am all by myself, to be stretched– in my body– to worship you. Come Holy Spirit and train me in this kind of exercise that I might become deeply spiritually fit. In Jesus name, Amen. 

THE QUESTION

What is your comfort level with the embodied (even demonstrative) physical worship of God—raising hands, bowing low, etc.? How about with football?

P.S.

Monday, June 1, we will dive into our first New Testament series of 2020, with Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians. We are working on a special limited edition COVID-19 edition of WILDERNESS. You may pre-order it here. Note: it will take several months to get this finally pressed into a book, printed, and shipped.

For the Awakening,
J.D. Walt
Sower-in-Chief
seedbed.com

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Farmer. Poet. Theologian. Jurist. Publisher. Seedbed's Sower-in-Chief.

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