Lost in the Worship of God


Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain, and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and the glory of them; and he said to him, "All these I will give you if you will fall down and worship me." Then Jesus said to him, "Begone, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.'"                                                                                        Matthew 4:8-10


Satan offers Jesus all the kingdoms of the world in exchange for worship.


And Jesus responds with words of which he is the incarnation:


"You shall worship the Lord your God and

him only shall you serve."


There is no such thing as a human being who does not worship. Every human being worships just as surely as he or she breaths.


Each of us at this moment is giving himself, herself to something or someone. And whatever you are giving yourself to, that’s what you are worshiping.


What you worship … you serve.

What you serve … you worship.


This "package" that Satan holds up before the eyes of the Son of Man, is now being dangled before us. It looks quite attractive; all the kingdoms of the world and their "glory."


The kingdoms of the world…

How many times we are tempted to bow down to them!

How many times we actually do bow down to them!


The pursuit of money is not something we do to pass the time. The pursuit of money is worship. We love money. We adore it. Our eyes light up when we see it. After all, money opens doors for us!


Romance--the idea that the one thing that gives vitality to life is to be in love --consumes the minds of both male and female who have long since gone beyond their years of adolescence.


When this search for a life-fulfilling romance is frustrated, bitterness sets in, because romance has become an idol—that either lures us into fantasy or a soap opera of our very own.


Sexual fulfillment--never since the days of Babylon has sexual fulfillment been held up before the masses as the thing that’s going to "do it." Billboards,  television, newspapers, all announce that one of the chief gods in the temple of this age is sexual fulfillment -- a temple surrounded by wrecked, frustrated, disappointed lives. 


Success--especially in the religious realm: to become "God’s man (or woman) for the hour," or to at least be a part of a "successful ministry" is not innocent ambition—it’s idol worship.


Many people consider the lust to have power over other lives as a legitimate character trait in those who are "born to lead." But this lust, like all others, is idolatry; it causes intelligent men and women to fall on their faces at the feet of Satan.


In the City of Christendom, you can go through all the motions of faith in God, while in fact, your real worship is directed toward an idol. 


But when you leave the City of Christendom, and plunge into the desert in the pursuit of the true God, you will survive only if you find the path to the worship of God alone---free of all idols. 


On this path there is no secret love, no secret lust, hiding beneath the surface, but God is our everything…our joy…our fulfillment.  All other loves fade away before His majesty.


"Behold I am doing a new thing. Now it springs forth. Do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. The wild beasts will honor me, the jackals and the ostriches for I give water in the wilderness, rivers in the desert. To give drink to my chosen people. The people whom I have formed for myself that they might declare my praise."


The place where such people are formed is always the desert.


When they leave Christendom, the "City of Religion," and go forth on that narrow path through the Wilderness of Forgiveness and on through dry places where even the jackals and the ostriches have a hard time surviving—where there is absolutely no food for the ego; no eye to watch the wonderful things we’re doing; no sights to gratify the lust of our flesh; where there is nothing except dryness and pounding heat, searing light, and eerie silence, there, suddenly, you hear singing up ahead.


Singing that has never touched your ears or your heart before. Who could be making music of such unearthly beauty out here in this desert? You look in all directions and see nothing.


You hear voices all around, but see nothing until you come to the top of a dune.  There in a hollow are seven people with their hands lifted up toward heaven in worship.


Seven people?

It sounds like seventy thousand.


Gradually your own heart begins to lift, and as it does, your mouth opens---and, to your own amazement, words of praise pour out across your lips as never before.


And as you continue to praise God, your eyes open, and you begin to see things, which, before were hidden from you.


Now you can see that these seven worshipers are surrounded by a countless multitude of magnificent beings whose voices are blending with theirs, and you realize that you have come to the outer courts of the City of God---out here in the desert.


"But you have come to Mount Zion, the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and innumerable angels in festal gathering, and to the assembly of first-born who are enrolled in heaven, and to a judge who is God of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood which speaks more graciously than the blood of Abel.


"See that you do not refuse him who is speaking. For if they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, much less shall we escape if we reject him who warns from heaven. His voice then shook the earth; but now he has promised, ‘Yet once more I will shake not only the earth, but also the heaven.’ This phrase, ‘Yet once more,’ indicates the removal of what is shaken, as of what has been made, in order that what cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe; for our God is a consuming fire."                                        Hebrews 12: 22-29


As you render to God acceptable worship you are beholding a kingdom which cannot be shaken, the City of the living God, angels in festal gathering, the spirits of just men made perfect, worshiping Him who is the Judge of all, and Jesus, who is the mediator of the New Covenant.


How long this goes on, you cannot tell---whether it was three hours or seven days--- finally the sound and the music of heaven dies away and you are surrounded by silence. Before your eyes are only the seven worshipers, who bid you God’s blessing, and file up over a dune and leave you by yourself.


Now you are joined by an old companion from the Wilderness of Forgiveness, who leads you to a rushing stream and provides you with a magnificent meal.


"What’s the name of this place?" you ask.


"This is the Wilderness of Worship, where believers learn to worship the Father in Spirit and in truth. You could call it the Outer Gate—the outer region of the City of God, for as you have seen, the inhabitants of the City of God are all around you here. When you were in the Wilderness of Forgiveness, you were experiencing the power of the blood of the Lamb cleansing your inmost heart. Now, in the Wilderness of Worship, you are receiving the Holy Spirit, who is giving you power from on high to worship God."


"And it shall come to pass afterward that I shall pour out my Spirit on all flesh, your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams; yea, and on my menservants and my maidservants in those days I will pour out my Spirit...


"When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly a sound came from heaven like the rush of a mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them tongues as of fire, distributed and resting on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance."


This promise is given to all who are willing to leave the refuge of Christendom and pursue God in the Wilderness.


And when God pours out His Spirit upon us, three things happen:


1.      Our hearts are moved with worship such as we have never experienced.

2.      Our mouths open, and out of our mouths pour words of praise, and thanksgiving, and prophecy, and life.

3.      Our eyes open and we begin to see things which before were hidden from our sight.


"I will pour out my spirit on all flesh"…opening the heart.


"And your sons and your daughters shall prophesy"…opening the mouth.


"And your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions"…opening the eyes.


Some of us protest. "Wait a minute! You mean I have to come all the way out into this wilderness to experience these things?  Aren’t they going on back there in Christendom? Isn’t it possible to experience every one of these blessings in that wonderful Cathedral of the Future every Sunday night? Why, people tell me they can taste it while they are watching it on television in their living room."


Here in the Wilderness of Worship, we don’t just taste, we don’t just dabble, we don’t get our little spiritual uplift once a week; here in the wilderness we are lost in the worship of God---that’s the difference.


"You shall worship the Lord your God and Him only shall you serve."


Our worship needs to go exclusively to God, so that everything we think and do is done for Him in some way.


This is not fanaticism; this is true life. This is the way to freedom: for it's only when we are consumed in the worship of God, that we are set free from the worship of money, romance, lust, success, power.


We have found the One who alone deserves our worship, and as we worship Him, we find true satisfaction.


It is only when we are lost in the worship of God, that we are emancipated from slavery to the Deceiver, who forever dangles the "beauty" that belongs to this age before our eyes, and sidetracks us again, and again.


May God give us the courage to leave Christendom and press on into the Wilderness of Worship—for there…


He is doing a new thing, even now it springs forth.

He is opening a way in the wilderness, rivers in the desert.

He is forming a people for Himself,


that they might declare His praise.