“The trumpeters and singers performed together in unison to praise and give thanks to the Lord. Accompanied by trumpets, cymbals, and other instruments, they raised their voices and praised the Lord with these words: “He is good! His faithful love endures forever!” At that moment a thick cloud filled the Temple of the Lord. The priests could not continue their service because of the cloud, for the glorious presence of the Lord filled the Temple of God. 2 Chronicles 5:13 -14
In Part 1 of “Why Corporate Worship is Special” we discussed what corporate worship should look and sound like, according to 2 Chronicles 5:12 -13. Today, we begin reading from verse 14. This verse reveals “what” can happen when we worship corporately as one: “At that moment a thick cloud filled the Temple of the Lord.” The "cloud" in this verse is not just a cloud that we see in the sky - no, it is in fact, the Presence of Lord. According to Biblestudytools.com, when the word “cloud” is used in the biblical context, it is meant to establish the “divine presence of the Lord”.
This passage of scripture paints a very clear picture of what we can expect when our praise and worship is unified and also provides us with a powerful example of what we ought to do and not do once the presence of the Lord has entered our assembly.
2 Chronicles 5:14 says, “The priests could not continue their service.” The word in this sentence that stands out is “their”. Most corporate worship services are so tightly formulated that when the presence of God is ushered in, it is often squashed in order to further the day's agenda, like, moving the service forward so as to end at a specific time. The priests in 2 Chronicles 5:14 responded to the presence of God the only way one can, they stopped what they were doing. This seemingly simple gesture tells us that they recognized that what was on their agenda was secondary to the Presence of the Lord, so they lay it aside to make way for His presence to move. Verse 14 then ends very similarly to Verse 13, "...the glorious presence of the Lord filled the Temple of God." Everyone: the trumpeters and singers, various other musicians and the priests came together as one and the result was the glorious presence of the Lord filling the Temple of God.This is what we should expect and desire every time we enter in to worship.
In addition to ushering in the presence of God, corporate praise and worship is special because it is a representation of heaven. Revelation 7:9-12, “After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying, “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen.”
One final encouragement, corporate praise and worship doesn't just start when we are all gathered together, it actually begins with us as individuals. Personal worship is an important part of corporate worship. As His children, He desires to be present in our personal lives every day just as He was for the Israelites in the desert (Exodus 13:21-22). With corporate worship, we want and expect His presence to fill the temple where we are gathered together; as individuals, we should want and expect the Lord to fill us (His temple) with His presence. Let's invite Him in today!