Nehemiah 8-9 join Leviticus 10 and Hebrews 12 as significant to our development of a theology of worship. In verse 1, the people of Israel are described as gathering “as one man into the square before the Water Gate” (Nehemiah 8:1). When the people gathered before the Lord for corporate worship, they did so “as one man.” That moment focused on the individual as part of the body. Together, God’s people stood, listened, answered, said “Amen”, lifted their hands, bowed their heads, and worshiped (Nehemiah 8:6).
When we worship Christ, it’s a powerful temptation to think that whatever pleases us must please him. If I enjoy interpretive dance, neon lights, and little Suzy’s solo, surely Jesus must. Approaching worship this way is self-centered, not Christ-centered. As God sanctifies us, he aligns our affections with his, but we are never free to depart from the clear testimony of his Word. His Word becomes our delight (Psalm 119:14).