22 And, behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts, and cried unto him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil.
23 But he answered her not a word. And his disciples came and besought him, saying, Send her away; for she crieth after us.
24 But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
25 Then came she and worshipped him, saying, Lord, help me.
26 But he answered and said, It is not meet to take the children's bread, and to cast it to dogs.
27 And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters' table.
28 Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour.
A week or so ago, the Lord dropped into my spirit this phrase "worship is not recess" after giving me a very significant dream. In the dream people were in a worship service sacked out all over the place. I never heard the music. I knew, though, that I had been invited to a special "worship service", and when I got there all I could see was people lying about on the pews with their pillows and blankets, obviously using this as an opportunity to take a break. And here is what the Lord spoke into my heart:
Worship is not recess, nor is it entertainment.
As I have been waiting on the Lord about that particular word, God has been giving me clarity on it.
When God speaks, especially in a prophetic way, I believe the words He chooses to convey His heart are important. God used the word "recess". I automatically thought, that doesn't make much sense because I can envision people coming together, worshipping the Lord, having rest in their souls and a sense of great peace because of what it would feel like when they are worshipping.
Not like the scene in my dream, but rather faces turned upward, hands raised, and countenances of sweet peace. They certainly are getting a break from the cares and struggles of life. That certainly looks like the "rest of God" to me!
But then the Lord spoke into my heart that He did not say worship is not REST. He said worship is not RECESS.
What is the first thing you think of when you hear the word RECESS? Most likely, you think of your elementary school days when after lunch you had the period of time where you could go and play on the playground until you had to return to your classes. That was called "RECESS". You get to take a break. God was telling me worship is not "taking a break".
And in the course of my devotional reading today, the Lord gave me understanding of what He was saying through the highlighted portion of scripture, Matthew 15:22-28.
This woman had sought the Lord out because she had heard He was a miracle-working God. She had a daughter who was demon-possessed, and probably causing no end of unrest in their household. Mom was at her wit's end, and wanted to get some peace. She heard of this man, Jesus, and made a decision to go and seek Him out. I doubt she was expecting that the L￼ord would ignore her. But, that is what He did.
When the disciples saw she would not give up, they implored the Lord to get rid of what in their minds was not much more than a nuisance. Sounds like Jesus was in agreement with them when He stated His mission was only to the lost sheep of the household of Israel.
At first, it seemed even worship did not move His heart. He told her plainly that she was not considered more than a dog.
Can you imagine a church service today and someone approaches the pastor with deep vexation of spirit, but showing Him great respect and that pastor refuses to pray for that soul and instead calls that one a dog? There would be no end to the backlash. Phones would be ringing, tongues would be wagging, social media would be clogged up with fast and furious Twitter tweeters complaining about what the pastor did to the poor woman asking for prayer.
But, instead of taking offense and being put off, this woman had her wits about her to reason with God, and to negotiate an answer for her daughter. But, what preceded it? I believe the fact that she WORSHIPPED got her own spirit into a place of such submission to the Lord, that rather than walking away in defeat, she was instead infused with FAITH! In fact, Jesus even said it was the greatest faith He had ever seen in Israel!
Worship is not RECESS because worship is a place we enter where God is very busily preparing our hearts to receive from Him. In a gathering of God's people together, worship often prepares our hearts to be open to receive His Word. In times of devotions and private worship, how often are we aware of inward struggles, mind-strivings, questions where we just don't have the answer and we feel the breathe of God's Presence putting us at ease and at rest in Him.
Recently, I had my own time of deep struggle where I felt like God had forsaken me, and that I would not get any clear answers from Him. I could even say I felt quite like a "second-class citizen" compared to some of His other children. There was much turmoil in my soul, but my spirit became very subdued within me as I acknowledged His working and dealing, and I was able to tell Him how much I loved Him no matter what my personal struggle or it's outcome was all about! Believe me, there was no "recess" in that time of worship. In fact I felt like I was "fighting with beasts at Ephesus". (See 1 Corinthians 15:32, where Paul is talking about a dying daily, as we struggle against our flesh, typified as "beasts at Ephesus". I don't think Paul was speaking of a contest against wild animals.)
The word "worship" in this particular instance means to prostrate one's self in profound reverence. We recognize God as having the supremacy in a situation, and no matter what our will desires, it takes second place to our recognition of His superior rank. He is King of Kings, and Lord of Lords!!!
Can you imagine what principalities and powers were witnessing that day as the Syrophenician woman recognized Jesus as Lord? (See Mark 7:26-28) As she bowed to Him in worship? The very reason she approached Jesus was to implore Him to deliver her demon-possessed daughter! The groundwork was laid for deliverance through worship!
How often have we heard that phrase, especially popular in intercessors networks, "worship is warfare".
Friends, when you worship you are not going on a Sunday School picnic, or hanging out in the school yard. Your surrender, your bowing down to Him, your worship is causing you to be fully engaged in a powerful activity of warfare! You may be battling to bring your flesh into submission to Him. You may be battling for some need in your household. You may be doing warfare against spiritual wickedness trying to insert itself in some insidious way in the house of God. Or you may be contending for the very soul of one of your children!
One thing is for sure: You are not in some lazy, distracted posture watching what everyone else is doing! Neither are you being entertained for your own amusement or even your edification! It's God's worship. It belongs to Him. It's not ours! Not for the good feelings, and not for the glory! It all belongs unto Him! It's just the goodness of the Lord that He allows us to experience such glorious peace and rest when we enter into that level of worship where we know we've overcome and He indeed is seated upon the throne of our hearts! Glory to the Name of Jesus!
O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the Lord our maker.
Dear Heavenly Father, we come to you in the Name of Jesus, Name above All Names, asking You to give us not only hearts to worship, but a deeper understanding of all that is being accomplished in the heavenly places , as well as deep within our own struggling beings when we do worship You in full surrender!