5:00 am, God. And I’m watching. Again.
I’m good at watching. At observing. At analyzing.
I’m good at sitting back and watching people. Coldly making my observations; my evaluations.
In a few hours, I’ll be sitting in ATL, watching what often seems like all of humankind scurry from gate to gate. And, I’ll watch, observe, analyze, evaluate. Judge even. “Where is he going? I wonder why they look so angry? That carry-on looks far too large then what should be allowed. Middle-aged men should not sport Beats by Dre while wearing business attire. Oh, look, yet another person reading yet another shallow and poorly written ‘Christian Fiction’ book. Is that person really going to buy luggage at Brookstone? Who does that? I hope I’m traveling when I’m 87 like that grandpa, and doing my own walking like him and not riding in that obnoxious, beeping transport between gates.”
I’ll watch. With a mixture of interest and cynicism; of fascination and study.
I even, oftentimes, watch myself. I can pretty easily “step outside of myself” and coldly observe my mind and my soul. Analyze, evaluate, examine, compartmentalize into columns.
But, God, I often do the very same, with You.
Particularly when soul work is involved. Particularly in the morning, when I give you your “allotted time”. When I pull out my tattered and smudged sheets of paper with lists of verses on them or fire up my computer files with the same, that have become such a part of my morning that they are like brushing my teeth–I can’t imagine the morning without them.
When I approach you, and I approach scripture, and You say to my mind and soul, “This morning, I am going to probe at the core of this sin in your life, or show you were you need to be obedient, or command you to care for this need, or teach you this about my glory, or invite you to really look at who I am, or invite you to really look at my love”, so often, my response is to “step outside” and coldly observe. Analyze. Tear apart the facts, put them in my columns, and study them like a scientist.
And watch. And note my evaluations, much like sitting at the gate in ATL.
I don’t think that is what is meant, by psalmist, in Psalm 5:3.
No, far too often I skip right over the “in the morning I prepare a sacrifice for you” part, and go straight to the watch part.
But, what is this sacrifice you desire of me; what is this sacrifice that I am to prepare for you?
This morning, I see in the dictionary a definition of “sacrifice” that I’ve never considered before:
And, maybe that hits close upon the core of that which I am to prepare each morning. There is much I pridefully prize, that must be slain, each morning. In fact, I pridefully prize my pride. I prize my independence. I prize my work ethic. I prize my intellect, even. My ability to observe.
I prize my watchfulness. I prize being able to watch, unaffected, coldly observing who You are, stepping outside to analyze. And evaluate.
And, in keeping with the dictionary definition of “sacrifice”, I am to surrender all of that in the preparation of what I am to offer You. But, maybe not only surrender, but also destroy.
The concept of sacrifice involves not only death, but an offering up as well. A giving. Kill pride, then give. To God. To others. But what? The limp carcass of my pride, of my sin? Or something more?
Hebrews 13:15-16 teaches this:
Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name. 16 Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.
A sacrifice of praise. First a sacrifice of surrender and destruction, then a sacrifice of worship. Or, maybe the surrender comes in the worship. A sacrifice of rightfully acknowledging who you are, and who I am in light of who you are. An acknowledgement of your name.
There is a reason why “Adoration” comes first, before Confession, Thanksgiving, Intercession, Supplication, in my approach of You, even when my approach is timid or sideways. It’s worship. It is the acknowledgement of Your name. It is the sacrifice of praise, that brings life and not death, though the slaying of my pride and the destruction of the pull to evaluate and observe you is most certainly a type of death that is only achieved through rightful acknowledgement and worship of you, followed by prayerful confession of the sins that make up who I am.
When I do the work of preparing sacrifice before you–of worshipfully acknowledging your name and destroying my pride–when I do these things first, then the “watching” I do that follows, looks very differently then the “watching” I do in cynicism and as an observer and analyst.
It is only then that my “watching” turns to anticipation.