We invited Kelvin and Veronica to contribute a blog column for us to recapture some of what we learned.
Firstly, here's links to the two hilarious (and perhaps sadly true) clips we watched:
1. What if worship was an NBA game?
2. Wrong worship (aka "I exalt me")
Over to you guys!....>>>
Worship – it’s not an event, it’s a lifestyle
Worship. Ask most people in your church what it’s about, and most will answer it’s about singing or music or the slow songs that make us feel close to God. As we are finding, what the scriptures have to say about worship is something much bigger … something much more intense ... but um … also quite challenging.
In Exodus 34:14, God says “You shall worship no other god, for the Lord whose name is Jealous is a jealous god”. We’ll get to the worship bit shortly, but God is … jealous? … really? .. is that in the bible? Yep, and what God is referring to is that he is simply not interested in sharing the limelight. He’s looking for it all.
I thought we were talking about worship?
Right so back to Exodus 34:14, the Hebrew word here that we translate as worship is shachah which means to bow down to, give reverence to, to submit to. We’ll look at some New Testament verses shortly, and here the greek word is proskyneo, which means the same thing as shachah, so this definition of worship is throughout the whole bible. The approach doesn’t change when Jesus comes along … sorry.
But … that’s not how God works … he gave us free will remember.
So what’s going on here? The very heart of worship, that’s what.
We have a choice whether we submit to, obey, bow down to, God. He’s given some very clear signals of what he is looking for, but as always God also wants us to make this choice for ourselves. If we don’t, that grieves him, but as we’ll see shortly there’s some pretty cool stuff that happens when we do make the choice to truly worship him.
This is heavy stuff, but important if we are to grasp, what it is to worship God.
Abraham says to his servants to remain while him and Isaac carry on and worship. Now, what was Abraham doing? Was he just throwing the servants (and Isaac) off the scent? There might have been a bit of this, but what Abraham was really referring to when he said worship was that he and Isaac were going to go and submit to God’s will”.
Imagine what must have been going through Abraham's mind. Here was the very son that God had promised him …now going to be killed …by his own hand …at God’s command. This can’t be true. Surely not.
So what is going on here? Back in chapter 17, God promised Abraham that he would be a father of many nations. His promised son Isaac was born and now God is asking something really hard of Abraham and Abraham is continuing to believe. Abraham is holding onto the first promise and his faith in what he believes God can do to get him (and Isaac) through this. Abraham undoubtedly had fears and questions, and it probably all seemed hugely illogical, but he trusted and had faith. Hebrews 11:17-19 also gives us some insight here, where it says that Abraham believed that God would raise Isaac from the dead.
Is this worship? You bet! It’s relatively easy to believe God when it all seems logical and understandable. The true test comes when we just don’t get it and it all seems to be tumbling down around us. There’s also something about our worship testing us at the very core of our being, at what’s most important to us.
But surely it all changed with Jesus right, and it became about the songs?
In Matthew 7:21-23, Jesus says that only those who do God’s will, those who worship, enter into the kingdom of heaven. He gives a similar message in Matthew 12:46-50. There’s also the conversation that Jesus has with the rich man in Matthew 19:16-24 which is also fundamentally about worship.
Notice how the rich man is seeking eternal life and Jesus answer is to keep the commandments. The rich man asks which ones - I would have thought answer was pretty obviously all of them. Jesus initially focuses on the last 6 that we talked about earlier, before going to the first 4 commandments about worshipping God.
Notice how Jesus doesn’t address the first 4 commandments directly, he simply goes to the man’s core for the answer. Jesus command to the rich man to sell everything, was simply a question about whether the rich man worshipped God. Unfortunately, the rich man’s heart was somewhere else.
God gets it. Jesus gets it. Truly worshipping God is really hard. It’s OK to wish that we didn’t have to fast, or give up our time, or give that money, or sell our house and go to Africa. True worship costs us, and we feel it. I think that’s why it’s called a sacrifice.
Worshipping in spirit and truth. The heart of worship. It’s about submitting to God and what he is calling you to do. Even when we just don’t get it. Especially when we just don’t get it. Can we trust God as much as Abraham did? As much as Jesus did?
Worshipping God is a lifestyle. In Romans 12:1-2, Paul tells us to offer our lives, that’s everything in it, as an offering to God, and that this is our worship. And that in the transforming of our minds we can be in the perfect will of God. Why? Because we are trained up for it, we trust God, we submit to him, we worship him, and when the going gets tough we don’t stop worshipping him.
But what about the songs …? We’ll get to those next time, now that we’ve laid the foundations.