After a year and a half of worship posts, I believe it’s time to circle back and discuss the reason why we worship and, ultimately, what worship is. It is so easy to get caught up singing songs on Sunday or listening to music and lose sight of the reason why we do these things. Our brains are smart and can sing along with a song without having to be consciously involved. But in order for our songs to truly be worship, our hearts must be involved. It is not merely a singing exercise but an opportunity to praise and extol our Savior. Therefore, let’s re-examine what worship is and why we do it.
The first time the word worship is used in the Bible was on Mount Moriah as Abraham prepared to offer his son Isaac to the LORD. Genesis 22:5 records that Abraham commanded his servants to stay at the bottom of the mountain, while he and his son went to worship. This event was the greatest test of Abraham’s life. He was asked to sacrifice his long-awaited, promised son, and he obeyed. He surrendered to the will and purposes of God and told others that he was going to worship his God.
So what is worship? Based on this first usage of the word and idea, what can we glean? Is worship merely a collection of songs we sing on Sunday, or is it actually much more than that?
Let’s look at another place the word worship is used in the Bible. God commanded the Israelites in the Ten Commandments that they were to worship no god other than Himself. Exodus 34:14 makes this declaration very clear and gives the reason for the command: God is a jealous God and does not want to share His people with false idols. This reveals that worship is more than just an outward ritual. God is jealous for the hearts of His people; therefore, worship is an action that goes beyond the external and speaks to the condition of the heart.
Finally, let’s look at a New Testament example of how the word worship is used. In Romans 12:1, Paul gives us an expanded, personal definition of worship. He states that under the New Covenant of Jesus’ blood, our act of worship is offering ourselves as living sacrifices and to live holy and God-honoring lives. We are not to worship God by what we do, but who we are. He wants our lives surrendered and transformed into the image of His son.
Worship means sacrifice. The two go hand in hand. In ancient times, people willingly sacrificed their possessions and even children in the name of worship. This reveals that those who worship objects or things are willing to make great sacrifices. They are willing to lay down whatever is required on the alter. In the worship and pursuit of fame, people sacrifice relationships. In the worship of success, personal well-being. In the worship of romantic love, peace and contentment are sacrificed. Whatever we worship—person, place, or thing—will require sacrifice.
Likewise, when we choose to worship God, we must bring an offering—the offering of ourselves. God wants our lives, surrendered and offered up as worship. For many, this is too high a price, and they are unwilling to sacrifice their will and personal desires. However, unlike the sacrifices worship of other things requires, what we give God turns out for our good and best interest. God takes what we give Him and turns it into a blessing which He bestows generously upon us.
So what is worship? Worship is a heart attitude. A posture. A life fully surrendered. A living sacrifice. Therefore, let us offer to Him unashamed, unrestrained worship. Let us give our lives as living sacrifices and live a life of surrender. Let us worship God from the heart, and worship Him alone. And may we remember this exhortation from Hebrews 13:15 and offer to our God continuous praise.
“Through him [Jesus] then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name.”
Receive Posts via Email