Tuesday, September 22, 2009

High Priest

I've posted previously on Christian rapper Shai Linne, and there I've commented in brief on what I think of "Christian rap."

I heard the following song after reading through the book of Leviticus twice, which was very fitting. The song is called "High Priest," and it's basically the experience that the Jewish high priest had on the Day of Atonement each year, told from the priest's perspective. Shai Linne is on point in capturing not only the accuracy and precision of those rites of worship, but the reverence and temerity that the book of Leviticus demands for worshipers of Yahweh.

As I listened to it I thought that our worship today with our hands and voices raised should be no less reverent and grave. It is a serious thing to approach the throne of God. He doesn't have to accept our worship. Our best, purest worship is like filthy rags (Is 64:6). But because of the great, sufficient, finished work of Jesus Christ, we can approach the throne of grace with confidence that He accepts our worship as it's bathed in His Son's blood (Heb 4:14-16; 10:19-22).

Anyway, enjoy the song. As you read the lyrics below, let it spur you on to pure and reverent worship. I encourage you to listen to the song twice, and click on all the links on the second time through.

There's commotion in my brain, strange is the notion,
Words cannot explain my range of emotion.
I'm speechless, my flaws exposed and my weakness,
Each breath draws me closer to a deep test.
It's month number seven, it's been ten days,
I've been awake all night reflecting on my ways.
A threat to my peace in this greatest of moments,
Because I'm the High Priest and its the Day of Atonement.
The LORD is so holy and perfect, I'm nervous,
I'm floored that He chose me to worship through service.
Don't ask me why the God who crafted the sky,
Drafted this weak guy from the clan of Levi.
Preceding generation taught me to read the regulations,
Deep meditation on decreed revelation.
Extreme trepidation breeds hesitation,
Yet I must lead and be the representation.
My occupation: to intercede for the nation,
But indeed my own sins need expiation.
The wrath of Jehovah's grim, sin is no joke to Him,
The hope is slim for unholy men coming close to Him.
He's spoken in His Word the proper way of approach to Him,
Nadab and Abihu got it wrong and He roasted them.
These things I weigh as I sigh,
This could either be the greatest day of my life or the day that I die!


So you say that you wanna know the Lord?
Do you really wanna stand before the Lord?
Do you know what it takes to meet the Lord?
God is an all-consuming fire.
So you say that you wanna know the Lord?
Do you really wanna stand before the Lord?
Do you know what it takes to meet the Lord?
Be careful what you desire.

For now, no time to focus on my sinning,
I bathe in the laver though it seems extreme,
I put on the holy coat made of white linen,
Craving His favor -- I'm ceremonially clean.
I check to inspect -- no tangible faltering,
Next I must collect the animals for the offering.
A spotless ram and a bull -- the components,
God gives to make atonement for my own sins.
This part of the ritual makes me real cautious,
Because the very sight of blood makes me feel nauseous.
Still I proceed by snatching him close, slashing his throat,
When his blood splashed on my coat.
Reacting, I choke -- gasping that's when I'm grasping,
God's reaction that sin provokes.
I take a moment to reflect on the blood spilled in this,
Staring at the goat to be sent into the wilderness.
I'll confess Israel's sins with my hands on his head,
Symbolizing guilt transferred in stead
To a substitute the living God provided and stamped,
Guilty of our sin, driven outside the camp.
This beautiful picture of hope and grace motivates,
And I don't want my fear to make this dope occasion go to waste.
Change my outer garments, slow my pace, yo I brace
Myself to stand before Jehovah's face in the Holy Place.


The time has come, the great moment has arrived,
About to enter in -- what a lonely enterprise.
Look at the other priests, they speak only with their eyes,
Rope tied around my ankle just in case I don't survive.
I enter through the first curtain to a dark room,
I'm standing in the Holy Place, my thoughts consumed.
I'm caught off guard, I'm unraveling at this stage,
My heart beats so hard it's rattling my ribcage.
Feeling like I'm disintegrating and I can't stand,
Comforted by the light emanating from the lampstand.
This helps my vision -- I can see the showbread,
I think of God's provision, that helps me go ahead.
I need courage to worship! Man, this is intense!
I take burning coals off the altar for the incense.
The sweet aroma fills the room,
The smoke protects my eyes -- one sight of Jehovah seals my doom.
It's no mere coincidence I'm here surrendering,
With fear and trembling I'm nearly entering.
I feel like running scared, hoping I'm not unprepared,
Stunned with fear -- no one comes in here but once a year.
Nevertheless I'm at the point of no return,
Besides, I don't want my anointing to be spurned.
After counting to three, next time I exhale,
I'm in the Holy of Holies, beyond the veil!
The first thing I realize is I'm thrilled that I've
Entered into God's presence and yet I'm still alive.
I'm awestruck by the weight of His terrible beauty,
It's almost unbearable but I must fulfill my duty.
Approach the ark, the first part of my works complete,
when I sprinkle blood seven times on the mercy seat.
Quickly I exit, impressed with the chesed,
that rescues the wretched and left us accepted!

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