Hearing God’s Word read to them grieved the people. They worshiped God with their heads down, “faces to the ground.” Standing in the presence of Holy God will do that to you.
C.S. Lewis said this in his book, “Mere Christianity:”
“The real test of being in the presence of God is, that you either forget about yourself altogether or see yourself as a small, dirty object. It’s better to forget about yourself altogether.”
Please don’t attend church for the experience. Please don’t worship God for the blessing. Please don’t judge worship of God on the basis of how many hands are raised, or people clapping, or how loud the praise team drums are playing. Forget about yourself altogether.
Worship is about God.
After their worship service where God’s Word was read and explained, Nehemiah told the people to go, stop weeping, enjoy some good food, take care of each other.
Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength. (10b)
The celebration came after worship, not during. I know people don’t want to hear this. I know we’ve been made to think worship should be a rocking party, resulting in an euphoric experience.
But the more I read God’s Word the more I am convinced that is not worship. Worship can’t be about me.
It’s better to forget about yourself altogether.