What is Worship? - Part 1

Wednesday, January 1st, 2014
Christians WorshippingIn a class at The Master's College, we studied the history of the Christian church and the development of hymns and worship.  While we read several good books on worship including John MacArthur's book "Worship: The Ultimate Priority" and David Peterson's "Engaging with God", we also were required to develop our own philosophy of worship based on the Bible and personal experience.  I wanted share my philosophy on my blog.

 I have broken down my philosophy into five separate parts and I will be highlighting each point of worship in the following blog posts.  Worship is:

     - Informed
     - God-Centered
     - Reflective
     - Responsive
     - All-Encompassing

Today, however, I will be addressing our first point:  Informed Worship.  

Do we know something about the One we are worshipping?It is impossible to worship God (or anything else) unless we know something about the One we are worshipping.  We must ask ourselves:  Why is God worthy of worship?  Is it because of what He has done?  Is it because of who He is?  For example, we would think it rather ridiculous if a wife says she loves her husband, but knows nothing about him.  We would begin to doubt her and question whether or not she loves him at all.  If this is the case, how can we say that we love God if we do not know anything about Him?  In Job 38-42, we learn that we cannot even begin to fully grasp all of God’s power, love, eternality, wisdom, grace, righteousness, and mercy.  Even though we will have all eternity to be with God and learn more about Him, we can never even begin to comprehend who God is.  This should not discourage us from striving to know more about God, however.  Instead we should “press on to know the Lord.  His going forth is as certain as the dawn; and He will come to us like the rain, like the spring rain watering the earth.” (Hosea 6:3)  We also should eagerly desire to learn more and recognize what God has done for us.  Psalm 66:5 tells us to “Come and see the works of God, Who is awesome in His deeds toward the sons of men.”

When we understand that God created the heavens and earth, we realize our worship should be taken seriouslyKnowledge of the attributes of God will give us a correct attitude toward Him.  It is very easy for us to have a wrong or careless attitude as we worship.  When we understand that the God we worship is an all-powerful being who created the heavens and earth (Genesis 1:1), formed us in our mothers’ womb (Psalm 139:13), holds the keys of death and Hades (Revelation 1:18), and is the source of eternal life (John 14:6), we realize that worship should not be done flippantly or carelessly, but should be taken seriously.  When we recognize that the God we worship knows everything there is to know about everything – Psalm 139:1 and 4 states that God has searched us and has known us and that “even before there is a word on my tongue, Behold, O Lord, You know it all” – we understand that we cannot merely fool God with outward actions of worship:  The proper heart worship is what God really desires.  Perhaps this realization is what prompted the psalmist to write “Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me and know my anxious thoughts; and see if there be any hurtful way in me, and lead me in the everlasting way.” (Psalm 139:23-24)  When we understand that God is omnipresent, we realize that we can and should worship Him everywhere and at all times (Psalm 139:7-10)

God laid out an exact plan of worship for the Israelites including specifications for the templeIn a desire to know God, we must also strive to learn what kinds of worship are pleasing and acceptable to Him.  We cannot worship God in any way we please.  This is no different than telling someone you love them, but never doing anything they like – only doing things that make you feel good.  It is a hypocritical form of love and is unacceptable to God.  God clearly laid out a plan of worship to the Israelites throughout the Old Testament – even specifying the exact measurements and types of materials that were used to make the temple and tabernacle.  God told Moses in Numbers 28:1-2 to “Command the people of Israel and say to them, ‘My offering, my food for my food offerings, my pleasing aroma, you shall be careful to offer to me at its appointed time.’”  He tells us in Leviticus 19:30 to keep his Sabbath day of rest and honor his sanctuary.  When we do not worship God in the way He chooses, we are disobeying and disrespecting the very one we are claiming to worship.  This is why God refused to accept Cain’s sacrifice (Genesis 4:4-5) and told us in 1 Samuel 15:22 that “to obey is better than sacrifice and to heed than the fat of rams.”

Once we know something about the One we are worshipping we can strive to ensure that our worship is God-Centered.

Discussion/Comments (1):

What is Worship? - Part 1

Wendy, I am very proud of the thoughtful, deep-thinking, and godly woman you have become.

Posted at 01/01/2014 14:14:04 byKathy Mack

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