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12.3 Lord, Who May Abide in Your Tabernacle?
Holiness in Worship: The Conditions for Entering God’s Presence
Read Psalm 15. Who are those worthy to worship in God’s presence?
Those worthy to worship in God’s presence are described in Psalm 15. They are individuals whose actions and character reflect God’s holiness. These persons act justly and live uprightly by following God’s commandments and integrating His law into their daily lives. They are dedicated, holy, and strive to live in accordance with God’s will.
The sanctuary was a sacred place, and all who wished to serve or worship in its presence had to be holy. Therefore, holiness is an essential requirement for accessing God’s presence. Israel was called to practice comprehensive holiness, combining worship and ethics, exercised in all areas of life.
God’s law served to guide the people on their journey and enable them to fulfil their greatest potential, namely, to live as a kingdom of priests. As a royal priesthood, they have the responsibility to pass on God’s covenant blessings to other nations and to bring His light into the world.
In summary, those who are worthy to worship in God’s presence are people who lead lives of holiness, act justly, and live according to God’s will, both in their relationship with God and in their dealings with others.
Read Psalm 24:3–6 and 101:1–3. What does it mean to be holy?
The significance of holiness is highlighted in the mentioned Psalms:
Psalm 24:3–6: This passage describes those who may enter God’s sanctuary. They are those with clean hands and a pure heart, who do not seek after falsehood and are not deceitful. These qualities emphasize the purity and integrity of the worshiper before God.
Psalm 101:1–3: In this Psalm, the Psalmist discusses how he desires to lead a blameless life. He aims to walk in the way of perfection, especially in his own household, insisting on pure heart and blameless conduct.
To be holy means to have a pure heart that is whole and undamaged. It is a heart that sincerely seeks after God and is cleansed by God’s forgiveness. A holy life springs from acknowledging God’s grace and righteousness and leads to a lifestyle characterized by the fear of the Lord.
It is important to emphasize that most demands in these Psalms are formulated negatively, not to earn God’s favour but to avoid things that could separate us from God. Thus, holiness means not only doing good things but also avoiding bad things and living in a vibrant relationship with God, submissive to His Word and inspired by His grace.
How can we consciously choose to avoid what draws us away from God? What is involved, and how can we avoid it?
To consciously avoid what draws us away from God, there are several steps we can take:
  1. Self-reflection and examination of conscience: We should regularly pause and examine how we live and whether our actions align with God’s commandments and our faith. This requires honest self-reflection and examination of conscience to identify areas that could compromise our relationship with God.
  2. Prayer and spiritual community: We should pray regularly and ask for God’s guidance and strength to resist temptations and live in His wisdom. Likewise, it is important to connect with other believers and foster spiritual community to receive mutual support and encouragement.
  3. Reading the Bible and meditation: Regularly reading the Bible and meditating on God’s Word are crucial to understanding God’s will and aligning our thoughts and actions accordingly. The Bible is a source of wisdom and guidance for our lives.
  4. Making decisions: We must make conscious decisions that align with our convictions and faith. This may mean avoiding or changing certain behaviours, habits, or relationships that could draw us away from God.
  5. Setting boundaries: It is important to set clear boundaries and protect ourselves from situations that could tempt us. This may involve avoiding certain places, regulating media consumption, or distancing ourselves from negative influences.
  6. Repentance and turning back: When we realize that we have made mistakes or strayed from God’s path, it is important to be humble, show repentance, and turn back. God is merciful and forgives those who sincerely return to Him.
By consciously choosing a life that aligns with God’s will and through continuous self-reflection, prayer, Bible reading, and repentance, we can distance ourselves from what draws us away from God and develop a deeper relationship with Him.

The connection between our everyday life and our faith lies in our endeavor to lead a life of holiness that is pleasing to God. Here are some ways in which this connection can be established:
  1. Self-reflection and examination of conscience: By regularly examining how we live and whether our actions align with God’s commandments, we can consciously choose to avoid what draws us away from God. Honest self-reflection enables us to identify areas that could compromise our relationship with God.
  2. Prayer and spiritual community: Through regular prayer and participation in spiritual community, we can seek God’s guidance and strength to resist temptations and live in His wisdom. Spiritual community also provides support and encouragement from other believers.
  3. Reading the Bible and meditation: Regularly reading the Bible and meditating on God’s Word allow us to understand His will and align our thoughts and actions accordingly. The Bible serves as a guide for a God-pleasing life and provides wisdom for our daily lives.
  4. Making decisions: We must make conscious decisions that align with our convictions and faith. This means avoiding or changing certain behaviours, habits, or relationships that could draw us away from God.
  5. Setting boundaries: It is important to set clear boundaries and protect ourselves from situations that could lead us into temptation. This may involve avoiding certain places, regulating media consumption, or distancing ourselves from negative influences.
  6. Repentance and turning back: When we realize that we have made mistakes or strayed from God’s path, it is important to be humble, show repentance, and turn back. God is merciful and forgives those who sincerely return to Him.
By implementing these steps and consciously choosing a life that aligns with God’s will, we can develop a deeper relationship with Him and lead a life that is pleasing to Him.
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