48. Hebrew Worship: The Objective

You yourselves have seen what I did to Egypt, and how I carried you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself.  Exodus 19:4  NIV

There is quite a difference in the two objectives.

The Hebrews mostly wanted out of the brickyards, but didn’t really want out of Egypt.  They thoughtfully considered God’s promise of a land flowing with milk and honey, but were rather turned off by the fact that the price tag for peace was, as usual, war.

God’s objective was relationship.  He did not bring them out of Egypt to ease the burden of slavery.  He did not bring them out simply to facilitate getting to the Promised Land.  His objective was to bring them to Himself.

For relationship.

It is a challenge to meld vision and relationship in a single life.  Our cultural stereotypes abound with portraits of relational groups, and for the most part, the stereotypes portray the highly relational groups as being less productive.

On the other hand, when we look at our builders, whether in athletics, the marketplace, academia or religious circles, most of the movers and shakers are not overly known for their general love-ability.

There are some exceptions in the entertainment industry, where a few high performing stars are also wonderful humans with many sustained, intimate, peer relationships.  But most of the high dollar artists are legendary for the kinks in their personalities, not their relationships.

Individually there are so many layers to the intimacy vs. builder paradigm.  Some redemptive gifts are more naturally prone to one end of the spectrum or the other.  Design.  So does that mean that Prophets and Givers and Rulers get a pass on God’s expectation of intimacy, just because building comes so easily for them?

Or do Servants, Teachers and Mercy gifts get to drift through life enjoying horizontal or vertical intimacy, while leaving little in terms of a legacy when they go home?

Are the Exhorters the only ones expected to love everyone and God and change the world in a single lifetime?

And what about the impact of your family of origin?  I grew up in the shadow of a formidable warrior/builder.  My dad single handedly planted more churches in Brazil than all the rest of the missionaries from his denomination did in Brazil over 60 years.

I spell formidable as “BILL BURK.”

He understandably left an imprint on the peeps who shared his table three times a day and who went on lots and lots of day trips with him.

His first born trains managers for a chain of restaurants.  A builder of builders.

I am second born.  An obsessive compulsive builder.

The third born has spent the last 35 years leading a high tech team that helps build missiles and satellites.  He builds high speed, extraordinarily competent technical teams.

The fourth born is a pastor effectively building a church in a community that is massively dominated by the Mormon church.  He is effective!

The fifth born is a former missionary, and currently the wife of a church planting pastor.  She is a builder of legacies with 14 kids all her own and counting.

The baby of the family is the only one who has not really gotten traction yet in terms of building.

Admittedly, we are not the most relational family in the world.  Kind of like Dad.

The apples don’t fall far from the tree.

Then there was a couple in the church I used to pastor.  Their 40 year old kids stubbed their toes in what I thought was a minor way, and mom and dad were in the car in a couple of hours, heading a thousand miles away to help the kids.

Talk about a tightly relational family!  I was stunned that a 50 cent problem generated a $5K response from the parents.

I was also dumbfounded that the 40 year old kiddo who was much loved and who loved back couldn’t get traction in life.  Couldn’t build a square out of Legos.

That is our community.  We have every point on the spectrum from the builder Prophets to the intimate Mercies.  We have the latch key kids who learned survival skills on the street and can build more with less but don’t trust anyone, anywhere.  We have the Baby Princess who couldn’t make pancakes for breakfast with a box of mix and a life coach at her elbow but sure loves everyone and everything (well, except for work, anyway).

That is our reality.

And God’s reality is that He wanted Israel to come apart from the (forced) building projects of that OCD Ruler nation call Egypt, to spend time with Him.  To learn intimacy.  To connect with Him as a personalized God, not the distant God of their 400 years-dead ancestors.  And to do that, He ditched the building for the most part.

Let me put it in our vernacular.  Do you realize God put THE ENTIRE NATION on welfare for 40 years?  Deliberately.  They had to dabble a bit to gather manna, and there was a short, two year building project with the Tabernacle, but it only occupied a handful of the labor force.

Forty years of welfare so people could learn to be intimate with God (and maybe each other, although that seems to be stretching it a bit).

Now here is the kicker.  OUT OF THE INTIMACY SEASON came a nation of warriors.  And the lead warrior was Joshua, Mister Mercy Himself, who preferred to abdicate his responsibilities as Moses’ right-hand man and just hang with God at the tent, doing intimacy.

And the ultimate One Man Wrecking Crew, Elijah, was sidelined (on welfare, again) for three years before he unleashed a warring and building project that was historic.

So what?

At the end of the day, there is no algebraic formula for blending our lives with our culture and our gifts.  There are only a vast number of unique journeys.

But . . . we must anchor ourselves in the reality that God holds both objectives equally.  We ARE the Bride of Christ, which is an intensely intimate concept.

And we ARE the sons of God, co-heirs with the King of Kings, participating with Him in bringing every kingdom in the world under His Lordship.

It behooves us to ponder the paradox and the paradigm, and not simply slide into what comes easiest for us.

48.  Hebrew Worship:  The Objective  WYCiB SLG Coaching blog

Copyright June 2016 by Arthur Burk

From home, after a weird half week of neither building nor much intimacy


  1. nita7932014 says

    Intimacy with our Creator is a far broader concept than the allegory of marriage intimacy in the human arena. Intimacy in a marriage makes for bonding together the gifting and strengths of TWO for the objective of multiplication of many gifts as well as a multitude of talents with which to express the Love of God. No one person out side of Jesus Christ can fully express the complete, perfect message that God is Love. However, as the Body of Christ, we through our multitude of expressions have the capacity of exploding the Love of God to dimensions far beyond our imaginations even into eternity.
    Intimacy with God is a bonding which develops our redemptive gifts to ‘birth’ the fruit of the Holy Spirit. We do become builders, warriors, inventors, performers, etc. because we are designed to produce life giving or Love Producing and Maintaining beings.
    Worship in Egypt only extended the lie that the God of the Universe had to have humans appease him. The worship of the gods of the world creates a slave mentality.
    Notice that ‘welfare’ in the desert for 40 years included no miscarriages, and no worn out clothing. God’s love is reproductive and eternal in nature. Worship of any other something is self-destructive.
    Thanks for the challenge to rethink what it means to “be brought to Himself”. It reminded me of the one verse that has always stood out, my missionary dad taught me a the dinner table.
    As he would say Romans 11 three times 11. “OOOOOH!, the depths of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgements, and his ways past finding out!”
    This magnificent God brought me to Himself!
    We are no longer slaves to a world system. We are SONS of righteousness with power beyond expression to live out the design He created each of us to live.


  2. DietrichP says

    Clearly, I have wished much more and have missed intensivly the son of GOD’s side most time of my life but couldn’t usually put that into words in front of myself or authority figures of the church family around me for decades; just the opposite happened I have been ridiculed for that wish for not focussing on the brides side only.
    I am coming more to grips with that situation focussing now more on:
    HIS kingdom, HIS Dominion, HIS reign, HIS Empire, HIS Lordship, HIS Realm to come-enlarge-extent,
    HIS power, HIS Strength, HIS Vigor, HIS Strength to showcase-setfree from bondages plus
    HIS Splendor, HIS Magnificence, HIS Glory to enlighten-show-worship
    Clearly all of us especially myself need both sides and each has a bit of a diffenent balance to keep up.
    In the past I have been afraid to my bones and avoided intimacy for fear of being hurt and harmed again and again…which let me into the sad & wrong situation of trying to controll everybody & all situations IOT avoid being hurt again, no trust…
    Not a good idea, cost me dearly…1st marriage, respect of all my kids, but especially of my beloved wife, now on the edge (or beyond) my marriage of 30 years @ the end of my carreer & short of being reitirement…but JESUS I love and trust HIM


  3. Noeleen says

    Pondering the paradox and the paradigm. I would be more on the relational side I think and I have lived in fear of the consequences of having focussed on maintaining a relationship at the expense of moving into what I think you would refer to as ‘fathering’. I lived with guilt and fear and in anticipation of having to watch the damage that I had done in essentially being true to who God made me to be and living with the reality of the boundaries of another person. It turned out that the other person had developed many gifts and competencies somehow anyway.

    Sometimes the sequence isn’t too smooth – in fact going backwards and forwards so much that at times it looks as if there’s no progress at all. Looking back over time you can see progress but in the moment of the small decisions there has to be quite a steely determination to stick with it.

    I’m sort of convinced that there are certain principles and processes that we need to trust which we don’t because we feel we need to see results sooner than we’re supposed to. We fear that too much love softens people. I think that belief may come from a source other than our Heavenly Father.

    I love this expression of this song – it seems to be praising the Son to the Father.


  4. Nichols Web Management says

    Being a Teacher married to an Exhorter I can appreciate the intimacy/building conflict on a very personal level. After twenty one years of marriage (and the prior 7 years of friendship) we still struggle with bringing our designed personalities into productive agreement. Often it seems we compromise into just tolerating our differences or just cheering the other on from the sidelines, which is not great. We know that God has great and wonderful purpose for this marriage but boy does it get challenging. This article encouraged us and shined some needed light into our home. Thank you once again Arthur!


  5. Maggie says

    I find myself sitting at the feet of Jesus, on welfare for 40 years…( most literally). Building is a concept I must explore as the days darken , and twilight falls in the wilderness; endeavouring to gain more understanding of the gifts and ways of the ruler/prophet and/giver and exhorter. Thank God you have a handle on this quest Arthur.The Bride has got to get into fighting mode, worship like the waves of the ocean, calm one day violent the next. Wonderful ocean of God.


  6. Janis Leal says

    Lu-hu-huuuve this… [i.e., “love (verbally-stretched-out) this”].

    Striking the balance between intimacy and building… really very possible, only in God’s unique way… one can be both a Lover AND a Fighter (or Builder, etc.).

    And it reminds me a little bit of this:
    “Therefore, behold, I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak tenderly to her. And there I will give her her vineyards… [Drawn into intimacy, out which comes productivity]. And… you will call me ‘My Husband…’ And I will betroth you to me forever…. And you shall KNOW the Lord. [INTIMACY, to the max]. And I will answer the heavens, and they shall answer the earth, and the earth shall answer the grain, the wine, and the oil….” [PRODUCTION, to the max, in whatever form it takes]. (from Hosea 2:14-23)

    Maybe this is elementary to some, but it was very helpful to me when once the Lord showed me a paradigm using David and Solomon, saying “Worship-Wisdom-Wealth-Witness.” Worship is the seedbed of Wisdom, which produces Wealth, which becomes a Witness. David, an intimate lover, produced Solomon, an immense builder. Out of this, the witness to the entire world was absolutely overwhelming – even the Queen of Sheba was blown away. What an impact! Influencing the masses, all starting cozily — one-on-one — with an Intimate Lover….

    Maybe it’s just time for the culmination/combination of this intimacy-builder prototype to manifest today, not just within the Body corporately, but also within individuals.

    Thank you so very much for this deeply moving article/perspective.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Devorah R.G says

    Two-edged synergy seeking:
    How do we use intimacy to build our endurance levels?
    How does building become an intimate experience?
    How do we manifest intimacy in our structures?
    How does intimacy expand our life-building ambitions?
    The mysteries of breathing eternity…


  8. says

    Love this one. My life feels like it is constantly lived in the place between 2 things – intimacy and building are another great picture.