Worship That Causes God’s Heart to Beat Faster

Heavenly Worship

You have captivated my heart, my sister, my bride; you have captivated my heart with one glance of your eyes, with one jewel of your necklace.

Song of Songs 4:9

We have been discussing “Heavenly Worship” (Part One, Part Two). Heavenly worship is the Holy Spirit lifting up the church with the ascended Christ into the throne of God for the worship and praise of God. Holy Eucharist unites heaven and earth by elevating the church into an experience of worship with the people of God, past and present, around the throne of God in the presence of God.

Heavenly worship is praising and worshiping the Godhead with the angels, archangels, seraphim, cherubim, twenty-four elders, and all the company of heaven. Heavenly worship is Revelation four and five in action: all of heaven and earth proclaiming the greatness, wonder, and holiness of the Father and the Lamb.

We join with the eternal throng in rejoicing over God’s holiness (Rev. 5:8), praising God in creation (Rev. 4:11), glorifying the finished work of the Cross (Rev. 5:9-10), honoring the person and work of the Lamb (Rev. 5:12) and singing gratitude for the unity of the Godhead (Rev. 5:13). Around the altar of God, the church is given a grand invitation to be lifted up into the heavenly places (Eph. 1:3) and experience now the joy of God ‘s presence in eternal worship.

Heavenly worship begins with each individual’s heart filled with an attitude of praise and thanksgiving (Heb. 13:15). This praise starts with a desire to minister to the heart of God moment-by-moment through trust and obedience. Ministry to God does not mean that he is deficient or needy in some manner, but ministry for the sake of bringing God’s heart joy in a world that rejects his love and grace. The Song of Songs 4:9 describes allegorically this heart of worship:

“You have stolen my heart.” The Lord says to the believer, “Your love for me ravishes my heart. You cause my heart to beat faster in delight over our love relationship. “With one glance of your eyes.” You minister to me when you trust me with your life. “With one jewel of your necklace.” With one act of your will to obey and believe God’s Word, my heart is blessed.

Song of Songs 4:9 (NIV)

The translations of 4:9: “captivate” (ESV), “ravish” (NKJV) or “steal” (CEV) or “cause his heart to beat faster” (NASB) are all attempts to define the one Hebrew word which means to bring God great joy and delight because of our love for him.

Jesus’ heart is filled with extravagant passion for His people. It is fantastic that God is filled with emotion. God describes His own heart as overcome with emotions of delight with people He finds unusually attractive. He feels these emotions even toward immature believers. People find it difficult to grasp this truth of the passionate grace of God. The Holy Spirit will reveal this divine romance (Romans 5:5).

Mike Bickle, “The Ravished Heart of the Heavenly Bridegroom”(Kansas City, MO: IHOP), 2.

In faith and obedience, we bless God’s heart through our worship. Day-by-day we bless him by our attitude and actions as we trust him (Heb. 11:6). God’s heart is blessed, when we live lives that worship the Lord by honoring him throughout the week in faith and obedience.

When individuals worship the Lord throughout the week, and then these same individuals gather corporately, the congregation is lifted into the heavenlies by the Spirit of God. Worship is “good” when God’s people are gathered for the one goal of blessing God’s heart in gratitude for his greatness and his grace, then and only then, we are lifted up in the heavenlies with Him. Remember, a trusting heart and a yielded will are the essence of worship–the essence of heavenly worship.

If the sinner gives one look at the uplifted Son of God, he receives love and life more abundant. When the Jews in the wilderness looked at the brazen serpent, they were healed and lived; and the sin-sick soul, in order to be saved, needs to look but once to the Lamb of God that has borne away his sins. As the Holy Spirit points to Christ dying upon the Cross of Calvary, His voice comes to ever soul, beseeching him to “look and live.”

Not only does one look secure the love of Christ, but the glance of one of the virgins of the bride is precious to Him. By one glance of our eyes, by turning our eyes and hearts. Heavenward in prayer and praise, we can hold our dear Lord until He envelops us with His love and presence. When we come to Him in obedience and submission, in love, adoration, and humility, we can hold Him and draw down answers to prayer.

Cora Harris MacIlravy, Christ and His Bride: Commentary on Song of Songs (Asheville, NC: Elbethel, 1916), 253.

Heavenly Worship (Part Two)

Every Creature in Heaven and Earth is Worshipping Now

And every creature which is in the heaven and upon the earth and under the earth, and those that are upon the sea, and all things in them, heard I saying, To him that sits upon the throne, and to the Lamb, blessing, and honour, and glory, and might, to the ages of ages.

Rev. 5:13

Often when we think of the Book of Revelation, we think future: second coming, final judgment, and the new heavens and new earth. However, the events in the Book of Revelation have happened, are happening, and will happen (Rev. 1: 8). These unusual and spectacular events happened in the first century to the original recipients of this book, prophecy, letter of John. Revelation speaks today to churches oppressed and persecuted by mighty governments who claim absolute, almost religious, authority over every citizen in their realm. Of course, the Book of Revelation contains insights into eternity which speak of Christ’s visible return in glory and the experience of eternal life in God’s presence.

Revelation chapters four and five reveal to us the the great throne of God. The throne is a symbol of the sovereign majesty of the King. The world may be in turmoil, but God reigns: he is defeating his foes, expanding his kingdom, and overcoming Satan’s wiles. Around the throne, all manner of heavenly creatures, elders, angels, and humans worship and declare their praises of the Holy One and the Lamb.

The door to heavenly worship (Rev. 4:1) is open as we “join our voices with Angels and Archangels and with all the company of heaven” (1979 Book of Common Prayer, 362) to praise and worship the Holy One and the Lamb for their holiness (5:8), for creation (4:11), for New Covenant blessing (5:9-10), for Calvary’s victory (5:12), and for their Unity (5:13). Around the Table of the Lord, the church is given a grand invitation to be lifted up into the heavenly places (Eph. 1:3) and experience now the joy of eternal worship.

In the earthly liturgy we take part in a foretaste of that heavenly liturgy which is celebrated in the holy city of Jerusalem toward which we journey as pilgrims, where Christ is sitting at the right hand of God, a minister of the holies and of the true tabernacle; we sing a hymn to the Lord’s glory with all the warriors of the heavenly army; venerating the memory of the saints, we hope for some part and fellowship with them; we eagerly await the Saviour, Our Lord Jesus Christ, until He, our life, shall appear and we too will appear with Him in glory.

Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy 8, The Council of Vatican II.

Heavenly Worship (Part One)

Lifted Up With the Ascended Christ

At once I was in the Spirit, and behold, a throne stood in heaven, with one seated on the throne.

Rev. 4:2

Heavenly worship occurs during the celebration of the ancient liturgy as the people of God are lifted up to heaven with the ascended Christ as they partake of Holy Eucharist. The Holy Eucharist unites heaven and earth by elevating the church into an experience of worship with the people of God, past and present, around the throne of God in the presence of God.

Heavenly worship recognizes that the line between the physical reality of earth and its three dimensions and the spiritual reality of heaven and its angelic worship will become blurred as we enter the presence of the Lamb of God , slain yet standing, on the altar of God.

The worship that we experience on earth should be an experience of the worship that is presently occurring in heaven. Not only should heavenly worship be our experience, but our models of worship should reflect those elements of worship used in heaven.

Biblical instruction directs the people of God to worship following the model and practices of heaven. Earthly worship is to mirror heavenly worship in “spirit and in truth” (Ex. 24:9-11; Isa. 6:1-5; Ezek. 1:4-28; Dan. 7:9-14; Heb. 12:22-24; Rev. 4:1-5:14).

In order that pious souls may duly apprehend Christ in the supper, they may be raised up to heaven . . . and for the same reason it was established of old that before the consecration the people should be told in a loud voice to lift up their hearts.

John Calvin, The Institutes of the Christian Religion, 4.17.36.

We knew not whether we were in heaven or on earth.” Worship, for the Orthodox Church, is nothing less than “heaven on earth.” The Holy Liturgy is something that embraces two worlds at once, for both in heaven and on earth the liturgy is one and the same—one altar, one sacrifice, one presence. In every place of worship, however humble its outward appearance, as the faithful gather to perform the Eucharist, they are taken up into the “heavenly places”; in every place of worship when the holy sacrifice is offered, not merely the local congregation is present, but the church universal—the saints, the angels, the Mother of God, and Christ himself.

Timothy (Kallistos) Ware, “The Earthly Heaven,” Eastern Orthodox Theology: A Contemporary Reader, ed., Daniel Clendenin (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 1995), 12.