Serious Business

Posted: October 15, 2010 in QT's
Tags: , , , , , ,

How would you define worship? What is it? Why do it? Who is it for? How do we do it? These are all good questions that I think every Christian should consider. We talk a lot about worship. We have worship services and praise and worship music but what exactly is it? I certainly won’t be able to definitely answer all of these questions or even come close to exhausting the subject of worship in this short post, even if I had all the answers. This is one of those things that I think we continually grow in as we walk in Christ. There is one question however that I do want to address and that is: Is there a right and a wrong way to worship? It seems that in many churches we have what is known as “worship wars”. That means people in our churches have different ideas about how the church should worship. Unfortunately many of us base our arguments on what we think or what we like. We have a preference for a particular style of music and we assume that since we like it and it makes us feel good and close to God that it must surely be the right way. We impose our preferences on God. There are a couple of problems with this. One, music is only one way to worship and two, we don’t decide what constitutes worship; God does. We need to look past our Christian radio stations and even beyond our hymn books and look to Scripture if we want to know how to worship our God.

In Deuteronomy 12:3-6 Moses is reminding the Hebrew people that God is very specific and particular when it comes to worship. They are not to worship like the people around them who are worshiping false gods their own way. Listen to what he says, “You shall tear down their altars and dash in pieces their pillars and burn their Asherim with fire. You shall chop down the carved images of their gods and destroy their name out of that place. You shall not worship the Lord your God in that way. But you shall seek the place that the Lord your God will choose out of all your tribes to put His name and make His habitation there. There you shall go and there you shall bring your burnt offerings and your sacrifices, your tithes and the contribution that you present, your vow offerings, your freewill offerings, and the firstborn of your herd and of your flock.

Evidently there is a right way and a wrong way to worship God. The Old Testament spends a great deal of time on the subject of sacrifices and offerings and on the tabernacle of meeting (the place where God dwelt among His people and sacrifices were made). I think it’s safe to say that God takes worship pretty seriously. It’s also interesting to me that there is no mention of singing in this passage. Could it be that God is more concerned with our sacrifices and offerings than He is with the style of music we’re singing? So what does this have to do with us, I mean after all that’s Old Testament stuff, right? I don’t see anybody bringing any bulls or lambs to church as an offering to the Lord. In John 4:23-24 Jesus tells a woman that God is seeking those who will worship Him in spirit and truth. We don’t bring animals to church with us to sacrifice because we don’t have to. Jesus was the Lamb that was slain for us, once and for all. God Himself is our sacrifice. So where does that leave us? What then do we bring? We bring ourselves. We offer to God complete surrender of who we are and everything we have. We express that through music but it must be more. We must live it daily. We are to be living sacrifices to God.

Our worship is very different from what God required in the Old Testament but it is just as serious. Let’s bring to the altar the sacrifice that God requires, complete surrender, rather than what we think He ought to accept. Remember that He is the object of our worship.

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