What do you think of when you hear the word worship? What is your concept of a worship service for God? We are assembled together because we feel a sense of devotion or obligation to God, but sometimes we struggle with how to worship Him. This is nothing new, and the question of worship has been around since the first family. More and more, there is a growing trend to adjust worship to make it more appealing to the general public or ourselves. The question remains whether or not that is actually what God want.
Honoring God’s Worth
The most common Greek word for worship literally means to prostrate oneself in homage. In older English, the word was “worthship.” It was giving honor to one considered worthy of praise. In Psalm 96:4, the psalmist appeals to God’s people to fear and honor Him. He assigns honor, glory and majesty to Jehovah as is due His name. Psalm 95:6-7 invites God’s people to bow down and kneel before our Creator, and Psalm 100:3-5 reminds us that we are His creation and His flock to whom he grants loving kindness. Does our worship reflect this honor and humility before the Lord?
In John 4, Jesus enters into a conversation regarding worship with a Samaritan woman, and, in verses 23-24, Jesus explains that God wants our sincere worship. He seeks our worship. As a parent wants love and obedience from a child, as a spouse want love and fidelity, our Creator wants us to love and honor Him. In our pursuit to worship Him, we have to respect what He considers to be true worship. As the First Covenant was being founded, God was meticulous in making sure His people would reflect His character. Likewise, our worship today should also be reflecting the character and the desires of our Lord.
Worship Reflecting God’s Character
In Genesis 4:3, Cain and Abel make offerings to the Lord. Abel brings of his best while there is an implication that Cain may have offered an inferior sacrifice. God, as a result, respect for Abel’s worship. Nadab and Abihu, in Leviticus 10, seek to worship God in their own way by burning offerings in an unauthorized way. These were priests, sons of Aaron, but they were bound by God’s wishes. Matthew 15:6 records Jesus telling spiritual rulers of His day that they are voiding God’s word by supplanting His precepts with their traditions. These examples teach us that worship must reflect our best efforts, that worship means glorifying God, and that worship must honor His name.
- Giving God Our Best. The Lord’s Supper is something we observe on a weekly basis based on the New Testament model. We are attending a memorial service in this, and there is nothing contemporary or casual about a memorial, contemplating Christ’s death and resurrection. Sometimes we act like God should be thankful for our presence when we should be the ones thankful for this time in our God’s presence. Hebrews 13:15 describes our worship as sacrifice, and I Peter 2:5 describes Christians as members of a spiritual house and a holy priesthood offering sacrifices to God. My time and resources may have to be sacrificed to give God my best, but God has never accepted inferior sacrificed.
- Glorifying Our God. In Leviticus 10, after Nadab and Abihu perish, God explains that He must be sanctified and glorified by those coming near to Him. Aaron holds his peace at this because he knows his sons failed to glorify and sanctify God in their actions. Hebrews 10:28 begins explaining the consequences of violating the Levitical Code, and he asks us to consider how much more sever the result of counting Christ’s sacrifice as common or ordinary. Revelation 5:13 describes all creation giving honor and glory to God. Revelation 7:11-12 describes heavenly entities praising the Lord. Revelation 15:3-4 reflects praises of God’s glory. We assemble to glorify God. Our worship is for Him – not for us. We do benefit from our time spent in worship, but He is the central focus of our efforts. In our worship, we are participants, not spectators. If we are filing to get anything out of worship, we should look at how much we are putting into ascribing honor and glory to our Lord.
- Worship That Honors God. Returning to Matthew 15, the problem these leaders have is that they are engaging in lip-service. They say the right things, but their hearts are elsewhere. Jesus describes this kind of worship is vain. These spiritual leaders have supplanted their own traditions and wisdom over God’s, and they dishonor Him. Without our hearts, without our respect of His ordinances, we cannot truly worship our God. Our role is to submit to Him, honor His precepts, and give Him our hearts.
God takes worship seriously, and we must also. We have to remember our place before God. God is the focus. We are the created in presence of the Creator. He wants us to come to Him, and our honoring Him is not restricted to the times of service. Once we devote ourselves to serving and glorifying our Lord, every day of our lives should be reflecting the reverence we give Him. Here I am to worship.
lesson by Tim Smelser