Bruce Collins, Evangelist

The personal website of Bruce Collins

Worship, What is It?

Meditation for the week of October 10, 2010

Genesis 22:5 And Abraham said to his young men, "Stay here with the donkey; the lad and I will go yonder and worship, and we will come back to you."

Worship is hard to define, but we all know it when we see it.  Some people worship actors and actresses, some worship athletes, some worship politicians and other secular leaders, some worship their professors in school, some worship doctors, some worship possessions and money; hopefully, we all worship our spouses.  However, there are some who worship the Lord Jesus Christ.

Worship of the Lord is sometimes defined as singing.  One who is worshiping may sing but worship is far more than singing.  Some define worship as the communion supper.  We certainly worship at that time, but worship is far more than taking communion.  While obedience may not be associated with worldly worship, it is a fundamental part of spiritual worship.  Worship has sometimes been called WORTH SHIP.  It involves our love, our time, and our sacrifice.  It involves loyalty,  honor and praise.  It can be seen by how we spend our money and time.  What we talk about is a key indicator of our worship.  The people or things that we worship are the focus of our lives.

If we were to look at the Bible for examples of worship, Genesis 22 would immediately come to mind.  Abraham was being asked to do something that was contrary to what he had been taught pleased God, and it was contrary to the promises that he had received from God.  God had never required human sacrifice before.  He had told Abraham that Isaac was going to produce offspring that would number more than the stars in the skies.  But now he is asked to sacrifice the life of this promised son.  Hebrews 11:19 tells us that Abraham was convinced that Isaac would rise from the dead after he was sacrificed.  All we know from this passage in Genesis 22, is that Abraham expected the lad to be with him after he and Isaac had “worshiped”. 

If we were to think of a book in the Bible that would be a manual for worship many would pick the Psalms because of the praise and thanksgiving in those songs.  However, I would pick Leviticus because it tells us how to worship God.  The book of Leviticus tells us about priests and tabernacles and holiness.  It also tells us about sacrifices.  In Leviticus 1 through 7 five offerings are described and the procedures or principles for offering them are given to us.  The offerings all speak of the Lord Jesus Christ.  The burnt offering is the first offering mentioned and is the one from which the others take their character.  It is all for God (except for the skin which is given to the priests) and ascends to God.  He says it is a sweet smelling offering.  The other offerings in part are consumed by men but this one is completely consumed on the altar and men do not eat of it.  Three of the offerings are sweet smelling offerings and two are associated with sin in general or specific sin. 

We can never limit the concept of worship because it includes anything that is given in heartfelt devotion to God.  But worship does involve giving.  Men may benefit from the gifts; but  just as the burnt offering was primarily for God, the gifts we give as worship are primarily for God. 

I find myself wondering if we are worshiping when we start talking about spiritual things that we like, what we want, and what makes us happy.  Today we all want churches that meet our needs, and to some degree they should.  But true worship is when we are concerned that our lives and our churches are pleasing the Lord.  If we are true worshipers, then they should be pleasing to us.

The first act of  WORTH SHIP that any of us offered that pleased God was when we trusted the Lord for salvation.  He gave us Himself. We gave Him our trust.   Trusting the Lord was being obedient to the faith according to Paul in Romans 1:5.  It is not a way of salvation that makes sense to man because man thinks he needs to pay or pray or do something to be saved when in fact faith is depending on the fact that the work of salvation is all done.  Faith in Christ doesn’t seem like it should be enough, but it is.

Abraham was tested and he passed the test.  His test was true worship.  I wonder how many of our churches are really worshiping today.  I wonder how many of us individually would pass a test like this today.

Bruce Collins

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