In the last entry I started a three part series on why we worship. These are just three giant brush strokes of the Bible that hopefully entice you to search deeper. In the last newsletter we examined John 1 and Genesis. We saw that we and all of creation were spoken into existence. We saw that Jesus was there at the moment of creation and was the very word in which we were created, and we concluded that because we are image bearers of God we should in return audibly sing His praises with the words He has given us. So where is the command to worship? In the 10 Commandments (Exodus 20), the first 7 verses are a clear guide:
“And God spoke all these words:
“I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.
“You shall have no other gods before me.
“You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.
“You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.
God demands that we recognize who He is, and that we worship only Him. God won’t settle for a watered down likeness, for what of our imaginations could truly hold His greatness? Recognize that he is God and God alone. In the chapters that follow God lays down many laws and instructions for the Israelites. These displayed two things: God was intolerant of sin being in His presence, and to display the allegiance of the Israelites.
But it was clear it wasn’t enough to follow the rules, 1 Samuel 5:22 says, “Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the Lord? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams” This is the message that God is trying to convey over and over in the Old Testament, that eventually took the sacrifice of His son for us to understand.
God used the law for us understand his character and Holiness, and for Him to see where our heart is. We are no longer slaves to the law, but we have replaced burnt offerings with musical choice, with stained glass, or with lighting. We must approach our worship services as an effort to love the lord with all our hearts.
If we do not feel engaged in what we are doing should that exclude us? I confess my Bible would be rarely opened, and my prayers would be rarely spoken. There are times when I want a good meal more than eternal life. There are times when I want a relationship to work more than eternal life. There are times when I want the Cubs to win more than eternal life. I may want these things. My heart might yearn for these things, but my efforts must be put at magnifying God in my heart, and all I do.
In my next entry we’ll look at Revelation, and how worship is only possible through the sacrifice of Jesus.