"The Lesson of Linen"

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By: Emily Watkins,
Age 17


Exodus 38:9, “And he made the court...of fined twined linen.” (KJV)

What is the first thing you think about when you read the word worship? You might think of your favorite praise CD, song, or music group at church. Although that is all worship, the Bible gives us a somewhat different picture of worship. To find it, let's go back to the beginning – to the book of Exodus.

The first tabernacle of worship appeared thousands of years ago in the Sinai desert. When the Israelites escaped from Egypt, God told them to prepare a special place for the Arc of the Covenant. The Lord gave Moses a specific blueprint of how His temple was supposed to look. First of all, it had to be small and portable, not elaborate and grandiose like King Solomon's temple. The Tabernacle of Moses was a simple tent consisting of two tiny rooms and a modest yard. This area divided into three sections: the Outer Courtyard, a covered Holy Place, and the Most Holy Place with the Ark of the Covenant. Enclosing the tabernacle was a white linen wall. No one could even begin to draw near to the Holy of Holies without first facing this linen barrier. Why linen? Why not cotton or wool? Well, because linen in itself has a lesson for us.

If you have ever worn or even run you fingers down linen, then you have felt the pleasing smooth, soft coolness of this lightweight fabric. Surprisingly, linen comes from a woody plant called flax. Linen has to go through a long and painful process before it turns into this beautifully delicate material. Grown to the height of approximately six feet, flax is selected by the miller for use while it is in full bloom. Then, at the appropriate time, bundles of flax are gathered together and cast into deep pools of water to rot. Here, they must soak for a long time. Buried deep with all the woodiness there lies a single precious fiber that must be released. Within this hidden core is the essence of white linen.

What is the lesson of linen? Linen teaches us that if we want to become true worshipers, we must first be willing to surrender and wait. Patience and humility lie at the very heart of praise. Worship is not just singing, but humble anticipation for Jesus, because when he speaks then everything changes. One word from his mouth and the world came into existence. Before the Israelites entered into the Tabernacle of Moses, they had to stoop down low and bow their heads to pass under the linen barrier. The lesson of linen guarded the entrance to the tabernacle. Those who want to worship God had to first learn to offer their “bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God” as an expression of true, spiritual worship (Romans 12:1, NIV).

Worship is not just singing beautiful songs during church – it's a lot more than that. Sacrifice, patience, and humility come first and prepare our hearts for worship. So next time you think about worship, think about linen. When you are singing songs in church, think about linen. Think about what it means to wait and surrender, so that God can release the beautiful strands of linen from deep within your heart.

My Prayer for Today:

Lord, thank You so much for allowing me to worship You. I know that sometimes I am like hard flax, wrapped up in my own selfish desires. Teach me an attitude of surrender. I want to become like pure white linen in Your hands, so that I can truly worship You. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Related Resources:

LIVE: Holy Bible, New Living Translation

Want More Life?, by Natalie Lloyd

Think About It:

What was God's purpose in putting a linen wall before the entrance to His Tabernacle?

What are some ways that you can worship God today?

How is obeying your parents and other authorities part of worship?

What lies at the heart of true worship?

Live It:


Every time you don't feel like doing something, think about linen. Remember, worship is linen released from deep inside your heart as a result of obedient surrender. Sometimes walking in obedience and surrender is hard. Sometimes it means giving up your right to something and allowing others to have their way. Remember though that every time you humble yourself, you destroy more of your “woodiness,” allowing the beautiful strands of linen deep inside your heart to come forth.

Watch Marc James, "Surrender" on You Tube.

Power Verses:

Romans 12:1, “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship.” (NIV)

Ephesians 5:1-2, “Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” (NIV)

Jonah 2:9, “But I, with a song of thanksgiving, will sacrifice to you. What I have vowed I will make good…” (NIV)

© 2009 by Emily Watkins. All rights reserved.






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1 Comments:

Blogger Fields of gold said...

Hi Emily! Thanks for sharing what the Lord has taught you about worship. What a sweet truth about linen and our surrender and waiting in worship.

Love,
Samantha (from church)

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