Read Hebrews 9:1-15, 1 Corinthians 15:9-11
Here’s a great quote from my pastor’s sermon last week: “The work of worship for the people of Israel was actual work- someone was sweating! However, the weight of work was too much for the priests to bear. By Herod’s day, the Israelites had all the ritual but no Presence.”
In Hebrews 9, the writer reviews all the labor-intensive activities of worship in the tabernacle. Butchering animals, making the showbread, keeping the lamp lit- someone had to be working all the time. The priests had to keep up all their ritual duties.
There was just one catch: the weight of all that work was a crushing weight.
When I love the Lord with all my strength, in my sinful condition, it is easy to let love slide into ho-hum ritual. It might still be work, but it ceases to be loving service. I get crushed beneath the weight of my own inability.
As my pastor (who doubles as my husband) pointed out, by the time of Herod’s temple, there was no ark of the covenant in the Most Holy Place and no shekinah glory that revealed the Presence of God.
Work that became empty ritual couldn’t produce God’s presence. This is still true. Empty ritual crushes us to death.
However, Christ secured our eternal redemption- doing both the work of salvation and providing the Presence of God. Empty ritual became a thing of the past.
The Apostle Paul told the Corinthians, “His grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary I worked harder than [any of the other apostles], though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me.”
When the Presence of God indwells us through the grace of the Holy Spirit, our sweat is transformed from useless ritual to loving service. Now, everything we do can be done “for the glory of God.”
He gives our work even more meaning, which in turn makes it more fulfilling. God is good. Let’s get to work.