I have been thinking and considering over the last several months an important question…How Do We Approach God to Worship Him? How do we approach Yahweh who is the Creator of the Universe and the King?
This article is Part 2 in the series Praise Worship & Prayer: Intertwined and Action Oriented, A Hebraic Perspective. In this article, I want to share a few thoughts about how to approach God who is the King of the Universe, whether in prayer, praise, worship or reading of His word. This will require me to talk about some things that usually go unmentioned (for good reasons) but I feel strongly that someone needs to broach the subject, so here I go…
We are a long way from the sinless Garden of Delights and I can’t speak for you but for myself, I am not perfect. I mess up, slip up, sin and sometimes do or eat things that render me unclean when I didn’t intend for it to happen. Then there are the times that I have to bury a dead animal or slaughter a chicken and those activities make me unclean too. We are so disconnected from the temple service and ancient Hebrew life in regards to clean and unclean, aren’t we?
Is God Simply Our Friend?
In the churches that I attended during my life, I was taught that we who have a personal relationship with the Lord can talk with, pray to or worship Him anytime we wanted to do so. Truth be told, I have been known to pray or sing worship songs when in the bathroom or tub. It’s a quiet place to be alone and I’ve really become aware that nearly every time I go in the bathroom to use the “throne” I want to pray. I guess all of this just seemed “normal” to me until recently. Several months ago it occurred to me that this is probably inappropriate. Curious, I have asked around and friends have admitted to doing the very same things. Some told me that they usually end up singing praise songs when they are in the shower. I know some that regularly read the Bible while on the “throne” in the bathroom. I have visited homes that actually keep a copy of the Bible on a shelf or in a magazine basket right beside the toilet. All of this really got me thinking and I really became uneasy with it. Just think about it, we are approaching the King of the Universe, the Most Holy Set Apart Yahweh. His Word is an extension of Himself. He instructed the Yisraelites to do their bathroom necessities outside the camp because His set apart presence was dwelling among them, in the camp (Deut 23:12-14).
Now I am of the mind that it is inappropriate for us to read Scripture, pray or sing or praise the Lord who is the Most Holy “Kadosh Kadosh” Yahweh Elohim our King of the Universe and Melek Ha Olam while on the toilet. Perhaps we shouldn’t keep a copy of the Bible in the bathroom at all. I also think that it is inappropriate to go use the bathroom facilities while wearing a Tallit or with Fringes/Tzitzioyt hanging out. Why do I say this? Because within Scripture we can see that the people of Yahweh respected the Tzitzioyt as symbolic of the Word and Anointing of Yahweh. That is another whole teaching in its self but the principal is clearly there. Our brothers from Yahudah (the Jews) would not enter a restroom or bathroom with a Tallit on or with the Fringes hanging out.
I am not trying to be legalistic with this line of thought but I do believe that the King and His Word are Set Apart. I think that our prayers and worship to Him, the reading of His Word can wait a few minutes until we are finished in the restroom/bathroom and have washed our hands. You know, the washing of the hands brings up another related issue. When someone was Biblically unclearn for whatever reason, they were always instructed to wash or bathe. I know what you are thinking, they didn’t have bathrooms with flush toilets or running water in their homes or buildings. That’s true but for most for the Western world we do have those things. But many still don’t wash their hands when they are finished using the toilet. Several years ago, my daughter and I attended a conference together. When we were in the ladies room, she noticed that of the 11 women/girls in the restroom who used the toilets, only 2 of them washed their hands before they opened the door and left the room. Only 2 out of 11!!!! This is totally inappropriate and unhealthy. I am a safety engineer and I spent many years teaching safety and health topics. Did you know that Hepatitis C can live dried on environmental surfaces like counters, door handles etc. for up to 7 days? That is just one of the health issues that could result from not washing your hands but I’m thinking about the issue of cleanness and the priests who washed their hands before entering the Holy Place. I’ll share more about this below.
I feel that it is essential that we give glory and honor to the Most High El Elyon and to consider His ways and walk in them. One way that we can do that is to respect Him and His Word.
Yahweh (God) Is Holy and the King of the Universe
WOW! Grasping this concept has changed everything, for me. Here in America, we do not have a monarchy with a king or queen in place. Most of us have no idea about the protocols that need to be considered when approaching a King. Because we have that personal relationship with Yahweh, we consider Him to be our Heavenly Father, our Abba, I think we often forget that He is the Most High God, El Elyon, the Meleck ha Olam, King of the Universe.
Let’s look at the way people are required to conduct themselves when around a King or Queen. The husband of the Queen of England, when in public can’t just go over to her and hug or peck her on the cheek. He is required to keep to a specified distance from her royal highness. In Scripture, we see that the Kings of Yisrael also had a proper protocol in place. Queen Hadassah, Esther, too had to follow the protocol, when she wanted to speak to her husband King Xerxes. In times past and likely in places to this present day, the penalty for approaching a King in appropriately was imprisonment or death. Yahweh makes it quite plain that anything unclean was to be done or removed to a place outside the camp. The person who becomes unclean must follow His instructions and wash prior to entering the camp.
The Priests Serving Yahweh Had to be Clean
The priests had to be in a clean state to serve Yahweh. They had to wash prior to putting on their priestly garments – remember, this was in a day that bathing wasn’t an everyday occurrence and in order to bathe it took more effort than it does for us today. They built mikvah pools so that they could immerse themselves. This ceremonial washing called Tevilah in Hebrew, denotes a status change. Ten minutes ago a man was just a husband and father but after he comes out of the mikvah and puts on his set apart white linen garments he is now ready for service to the Most High. Through this washing in the mikvah waters, the priests were raising their bodies from earthly, common work to holy, set apart work. The washing completes a status change – the priests were physically clean but also spiritually clean as well.
Before the Priests could enter the Holy Place they were instructed to wash their hands and feet at the Laver. The hands and feet are the extremities of our bodies. Consecrating them implies consecrating the whole person – specifically what we do and where we go. When the priests cleansed themselves at the laver, it was not necessarily a physical purity they were seeking, but a spiritual purity. This is what Yahweh truly desired – cleanliness of heart. We can identify with the physical act of obedience – that of washing, coming in contact with the water – this symbolizes our wholly coming in line with Yahweh’s holiness, His set apartness – which causes a change in our status too. Yeshua was perfect according to Torah. He didn’t need to be cleansed; instead, He sought a status change through the washing of the mikva waters with John the Immerser.
1 Peter 2:9
“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a set apart nation, and a people for a possession, that you should proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.”
“Messiah … did love the assembly and gave Himself for it, in order to set it apart and cleanse it with the washing of water by the Word, in order to present it to Himself a splendid assembly, not having spot or wrinkle or any of this sort, but that it might be set apart and blameless.”
We are called priests and I think we should perhaps act a little more priest-like considering the privilege we have been given to serve and worship the Mighty One of Yisrael.
Yeshua’s sanctifying work operates in our lives but the sanctifying of our soul is our responsibility. When we wash our hands, like the priests did before serving Yahweh, in a purposeful and set apart way, we are also washing our mind (the seat of the soul) as well.
The Bronze Laver
Read Exodus 30:18-21
This passage talks about the priests and the bronze laver. Bronze is mostly copper and Scripture tells us that the laver was made from the copper hand mirrors that the women of Israel contributed to the making of the Mishkan. There is scientific evidence that a chemical change takes place through the use of the copper laver and water.
Yahweh is so awesome and He knows so many things that are now in this age only becoming understood. Did you know that copper can destroy undesirable virus and bacteria? When copper dissolves in water, water becomes ionic (electrolyte) this can be determined by its pH measurement. This is the reason why micro-organisms can’t survive in water that has come in contact with a high level of copper metal. This is called the Oligodynamic effect. Another thing that happens is that the water becomes energized. This process was discovered in 1893 by the Swiss and the toxic effect of metal-ions on living cells, algae, molds, spores, fungi, virus, and microorganisms. Copper clearly has anti-microbial properties and can inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria like e-coli and staphylococcus arueus. Both of those microbes can be viable on glass and stainless steel. Water stored in copper for just three hours can kill harmful bacteria that causes dysentery, cholera, and other parasites that live in water.
The word translated as laver in Hebrew is kiyor Strongs #H3595 it is a combination of the prefix “like” and Hebrew owr which means “light” therefore kiyor means like light. The laver/kiyor was what made the difference between Yahweh Elohim and our holiness as priests – to obey the commandments and allow the water of His Word, His Torah to cleanse us both physically and spiritually that we can become kedoshim – Holy Set Apart Ones.
The word wash in Ex. 30:19-21, is actually the Hebrew word “Rachatz” (strongs #7364) which means to wash or bath one’s self. This washing literally takes us from an unclean realm to a clean realm. It purifies our thoughts and cleanses our minds – when we do it with intension and purpose. This is invaluable to us today, as Yahweh sanctifies and purifies us through our obedience to His instructions. It is part of our continual work of sanctification, not a work for salvation but a work of obedience leading to holiness and set apartness before Yahweh our set apart Elohim.
The word bath is related because of subject and 1 Kings 7:38 talks about the lavers and the giant bath that was made for Solomon’s Temple. In the verse in 1 Kings we are given the number 44 which is associated with judgment. The bronze laver became a place of judgment where introspection takes place and each individual priest examines themselves to see how they are lining up to the Torah. Father showed me that this was also a place of protection.
It seems odd that a place of judgment and personal examination was also a place of protection but think about it.
If a priest was not clean and in right standing when he went into the Holy Place what would happen to him? He would die. This is a very serious thing – the Most Holy El cannot be where uncleanness or sin is.
By stopping at the laver to bathe or wash and examine themselves they had an opportunity to get things right before stepping into the place where the presence of Yahweh dwelled.
How Easily We Can Slip Up and Alter our Right Standing with Elohim
How many times have we prayed and asked for forgiveness and were in right standing only to get irritated or angry with our spouses or children or some wild driver on our way to congregation? Once there, we can get irritated and angry with others who are rude, mistreat our children or a bizzillion other little things. These are places where we need to be washed yet again before we enter into a place of worship, praise and prayer to the Most Holy Kadosh Elohim. But do we stop and take the time to examine ourselves before we pray, before we begin to sing our praises before we try to come into His presence? My experience in talking with many believers about this very subject is – no they don’t even think about praying and getting right with Yahweh before they take their seat. They just move about on auto-pilot and don’t even give this a thought. I think is a dangerous way to be and at best very dishonoring to the King of our Heart.
“Who shall ascend into the hill of the LORD? or who shall stand in his holy place?
He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor worn deceitfully.
He shall receive the blessing from the LORD, and righteousness from the God of his salvation.
This is the generation of them that seek him, that seek thy face, O Jacob. Selah”
When we read verse 3 we can clearly see the reference to being a priest standing in His Holy Place. Verse 4 tells us that we must have clean hands and a pure heart, another reference to the laver. Interesting note, the word pure in this verse is Bar in Hebrew – it is Strong’s #H1249 and it means to be pure, clean, clear, choice and the first word in the definition I saved for last – beloved. This is wedding/bride language. Also in this verse the KJV translates the word shav as vanity which is Strong’s #H7723 and it also means evil, ruin, idolatry, uselessness and lying. This flows right into the next phrase in this verse that says, nor sworn deceitfully which means to lie deceitfully. Verse 5 gives us the promise from Yahweh for those that do what is written above in this Psalm: they will receive Blessings and Righteousness from Yahweh. Verse 6 tells us that these are the posterity of those who “seek Him” a reference to those who journey with or follow, who pursue, search after His ways and those who “seek His face” which is a reference to intimate worship.
David elaborates even more in Psalm 15 and James 4:8 says,
“Draw near to Elohim and He shall draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, sinners. And cleanse the hearts, you double-minded!”
Here we have James making a direct reference to Psalm 24 that we just discussed. All through Scripture we see that Yahweh emphasizes the high premium that He places on our service and worship of Him and of how we present ourselves to Him.
He is a Holy Kadosh El and we must approach His glorious presence with cleanness, pure hearts, reverence, humility and honor.
Do we come prepared on Shabbat to worship Him? Are we prepared to joyfully praise and exalt Him? Or do we rush around at the last minute trying to gather things together so that we can get ourselves to congregation? For those of us who have no Fellowship to go to and who stay home do we just study His word say a few prayers and hang out the rest of the day never spending time praising and worshiping Him? As we continue in this study I will be sharing ideas and suggestions for how we can be prepared from a practical perspective. But for now, I leave you with the spiritual aspect that only you can attend to.
When we were talking about the Laver and Solomon’s Temple the word Bath was used. Bath is Strongs #1324 and it is spelled with a beit and a tav the same way bat is spelled which means daughter. Torah teacher, Brittney Scott shared with me that within the Hebrew words and themes of Scripture, there is no question as to whom the laver (and the Torah/commandments that it represents) is for – it is for the cleansing of the Bride (bat/daughter) who was at one time made desolate.
I hope that through this article, How to Approach God to Worship Him, that your perspective has changed. As believers, we are His children and the sheep of His pasture but we are also the children of the great and powerful and holy King of the Universe. I think we should act as if we truly believe that He is King and give him the respect and honor that He is due.
Listen to the Audio Teaching
If you haven’t listened to the companion audio teaching that goes with this article, here is the Link to Messianic Lifestyles Magazine’s Remnant Radio Show. This is the show that this teaching was first broadcast on. Posey shared this teaching LIVE with Anne Elliott of AnneElliott.com. Click here to listen to Part One.