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Sunday, January 18, 2009

Worship! Who's it for, Anyway?

I just finished a time of worship and reading His word. In browsing through the book of Isaiah, I was struck by the fact that God rejected Israel's worship and sacrifices because they were done from a detached and insincere heart. In other words, they performed the physical duties of worship but their hearts were far from God.

How many times do we perform worship from a since of duty rather than as a natural response to a dynamic relationship? Oh, how He longs for fellowship. Read the Old Testament some time and you'll discover how many times He called out to His people in a desire to restore their broken relationship. Quality of worship is directly related to quality of relationship.

How many times do we view worship as something that is for our benefit? How often do we enter in and participate in worship so we can leave feeling better? Our eyes, like the Israel of Isaiah's time, are on the wrong thing. Our heart motivation is off course and self-centered when we approach worship like this.

I'll tell you a secret: worship isn't for us.

Who is worship for, anyway?

God. Because He's worthy of praise, because He's worthy of all our love, devotion, and time. Worship is a select slice of time we purposely set aside to offer Him a sacrifice. Today, our sacrifice may not be of sheep and goats but we still sacrifice. We sacrifice time by setting it aside just for Him. We sacrifice flesh (our bodies) to kneel, raise our hands, praise with our lips, and express thanksgiving. We sacrifice our thoughts by concentrating our thoughts solely for Him during our time of worship. We sacrifice our will by putting Him first and staying to bless Him, to thank Him, to delight His heart.

Worship is more than just a time set apart to glorify and thank Him. Our lives are worship--every single thing we think, feel, and do can be an act of worship. Whether or not we get anything from worship is irrelevant.

Finally, I am struck by one last reality: We don't worship God because things are going well. We worship God because He's worthy.


Weston Elliott said...

I just love your comment that we don't worship God because all is going well! Amen!

By the same token, how many of us only worship when we really need something from Him, and forget to when we think we can handle things on our own?

As a new mom, I'm really starting to appreciate the validity of the phrase "Because I told you to!". I wonder if sometimes God feels the same way - He can see the real reasons we need to worship Him, and maybe we can't. We just need to do it because He told us to, and trust that He knows better than we do.


Scott said...

Wow! You know, I've been having this conversation in my head for so long, I've threatened (to myself) to speak to the church that I attend on this very subject, AND I'M NOT THE PREACHER!

It hurts my feelings on Sunday mornings to see all these folks there to "worship" and they are never seen again until the next Sunday. Then, while they are there, if the singing is off, or if the prayers are off, or if the preacher "preaches" too long, then they say, "Well, that worship service was not good!" Burns me up.

We ARE to worship every day, every minute, every second of our lives. In all we do.

Worshiping "at church" is a time the family gets together and worships with the Father, for the Father, and to the Father, together.

Thanks for this post!

Shane Blyth said...

Couldn't agree more.
I am a musician and one of the worship leaders at our church.
Its all about him and not us. We do obviously enjoy being close to God and he does inhabit our praises. People get this confused as you have pointed out. This feeling or sense of his presence sometimes becomes the thing we seek and hunger after rather than God himself. We can worship him in many different ways and not just songs. God is looking for true worshipers and thats ones that worship in spirit (not the flesh or feelings) and in truth. not some lie or distortion of the truth. Worship , praise and thanks giving should flow from our spirits and heart up to God in everyday life. While at work, while going about our daily life it's not something we "do" on Sunday for a few hours.

Joanie said...

Amen to that! Sometimes you have to ask yourself if you were worshiping or being entertained. If I communicated with my husband or only thanked him on Sundays, that would be tragic. You make excellent points.

Gene Oden said...

Just reading that last night - then discussing that scripture and topic with friends at dinner tonight. Great minds and all (yours, not mine). Thanks for the follow on twitter. I'll be a faithful reader...

Leslie Oden said...

Thanks for this post, Debbi. Worship in life's hard places is truly the most precious. Offering the sacrifice of praise touches Him and changes us. Thanks for the reminder...

God's Girl said...

Great post! Amen! Amen! Amen!

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