Many people today feel that it doesn’t really matter how we worship God. They think that as long as we are sincere, God will be pleased.
To me, that sounds so close to the belief that it doesn’t matter what religious beliefs we have. Many believe that as long as we are sincere in what we believe, then surely God will let us into Heaven one day.
But nothing could be farther from the truth!
For salvation. Or worship.
The Word of God, what God has said that He will or won’t accept, is the final authority on any subject. And God’s Word has much to say about the subject of acceptable worship.
Just as there is only one way a lost person may approach God…through Jesus…
Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. John 14:6
We who are believers may only approach and worship God in one way…His way!
As for God, his way is perfect: Psalms 18:30a
God’s way, because of Who He is, is always going to be the perfect way for doing anything we do in this life. Including how we worship.
In our reading this week, we saw Moses and Aaron and his four sons follow God’s prescribed method of consecration for the priests. Moses warned them to do all that God had commanded in order for them to be set apart for service to God in the tabernacle. Death would be the penalty for straying from God’s commands concerning these things.
Therefore shall ye abide at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation day and night seven days, and keep the charge of the LORD, that ye die not: for so I am commanded.
So Aaron and his sons did all things which the LORD commanded by the hand of Moses. Leviticus 8:35-36
Aaron and his sons were careful to complete all that God had commanded in preparing themselves to approach God for the service of the Lord…to worship God.
And then it happened! A fire came “from before the LORD, and consumed upon the altar the burnt offering…” (Leviticus 9:23-24) Fire from Heaven came down in the sight of all the people! They saw the glory of the Lord!
And they fell on their faces in worship!
However, just after this appearance of God’s glory, Nadab and Abihu, Moses’ two older sons, decide to do things their way, disregarding what God had said that He would accept as worship. They offer “strange fire before the LORD, which he commanded them not.” (Exodus 30:9)
And God takes their lives. As He had said He would.
And there went out fire from the LORD, and devoured them, and they died before the LORD. Leviticus 10:2
You may ask, does it matter how we worship God, how we approach God? I think what happened with these priests of God answers that question very definitely.
It matters greatly to God!
And since He is the same God today as He was in Old Testament times, it still matters greatly to God.
It matters greatly to God how we view Him, how we follow or disregard Him, and how we come before Him. All of these things determine whether our “worship” is truly worship in the eyes of God.
Now that we know how we worship God is vitally important, we must ask the question…
How does God require that we worship Him today?
Three things constitute worship that is pleasing in God’s sight.
First, worship involves a right view of Who God is.
If we would worship God, we must know Who He is. We must acknowledge that He is God. He is All-powerful Creator God who has every right to command our worship.
Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters. Revelation 14:7
And as the One who has loved us and given His life for us, He deserves all worship and praise and adoration we could ever give! He is the One who made this world and rules over it and all that are in it.
To acceptably approach God in worship, then, I must acknowledge that God is Ruler over me and my life. He is my God, my King, my Saviour, and my Judge. And as such, He alone is to have all my worship.
So shall the king greatly desire thy beauty: for he is thy Lord; and worship thou him. Psalms 45:11
For the LORD most high is terrible; he is a great King over all the earth. Psalms 47:2
We believers today focus a lot on the love of God and the fact that He is our Abba, Father. And I am so thankful for that truth. But I think we have lost a bit of the fear of God that should also be a part of how we think of Him.
But as for me, I will come into thy house in the multitude of thy mercy: and in thy fear will I worship toward thy holy temple. Psalms 5:7
Worship requires of us a certain respectful and reverential fear before the Lord our maker, our Sovereign King and Judge!
Second, worship involves a right heart before God.
God has a lot to say in His Word about our hearts and what makes us right before Him. For it is the heart that determines everything in our walk with God, as well as, whether our worship is pleasing in His sight. Or, even is worship.
Worship is, above all else, a heart matter.
Nadab and Abihu failed in their worship of God when they allowed their hearts to be filled with what they thought, what they wanted to do, instead of what God had said. Their hearts were filled with iniquity…their own way.
Again, if we would worship God, we must do it His way. Or, it is not worship.
Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. Matthew 15:7-9
Worship begins in the heart.
Remember Ananias and Sapphira in the early New Testament church? And how God rejected their offering, striking them dead on the spot?
Why would God do such a thing? Why did He reject them and their offering, their attempt at worship? Because their hearts were not right before Him. Their hearts were filled with deceit. (Acts 5:1-11) They lacked a fear of, and respect for, God.
I believe this is something I and the church today need more of…a reverent fear and respect of our Holy God…at all times, as well as, when we enter His house for corporate worship.
Again, it matters greatly to God, even today, how we approach Him and the heart with which we do so. Verse 11 of Acts 5 says,
And great fear came upon all the church, and upon as many as heard these things.
After God’s judgment of Ananias and Sapphira, I imagine that the early church was much more careful in how they approached and worshiped and served God .
And God blessed!
And believers were the more added to the Lord, multitudes both of men and of women. Acts 5:14
I wonder what the Lord would do with our churches today were we to grow in our understanding of true and acceptable worship of Him?
Since a heart that pleases God is a heart that is worshiping God, whether in a church house or going about our daily lives, we need to know what that kind of heart looks like. What does God see as a heart full of worship to Him? A heart that is—
Reverent—Hebrews 12:28, Psalms 89:7
Humbled—Isaiah 57:15, Philippians 3:3
Clean—Psalms 29:2, 66:18
Thankful—Psalms 100:4, Hebrews 13:15
Faith-filled—Psalms 28:7, Hebrews 11:6
Once our hearts are right before Him, God views our praise, our obeisance, our service, and our giving in His name, as acceptable worship…“an odour of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, wellpleasing to God.” (Philippians 4:18)
Lastly, worship involves reverential actions of worship, or service, to God.
Worship and service go hand in hand.
Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. Matthew 4:10b
We worship God when we serve Him as God.
I used to think of worship, though, as what happened inside the church doors…singing praise to God, taking up offerings for His work, prayer, and listening to the preacher. And all these things, done with a heart right with God, is worship.
But as I’ve grown in the Lord, I’ve come to realize that worship is so much more. And should just be part of who I am in Christ.
My life should be a life of worship!
Each morning we worship God when we humbly kneel in prayer before Him and thank Him for all He is and has done in the world and in our own hearts and lives. (Psalm 95:6) The acts of bowing and kneeling before God are acts of worship we do to show our humility before our God and King.
But we also “worship him in spirit and in truth” (John 4:24) as we willingly, and sometimes sacrificially, honor the truth of His Word and choose the Spirit’s leading over the desire of our flesh.
Anytime we acknowledge the right of His Spirit to order our steps, and willingly obey Him, we offer worship to our God.
Willing, heart-felt obedience, then, is also worship. (Genesis 22:1-14, 5)
Our praise of Him, whether we are singing our praise or sharing with others what He has done for us, is worship, too, whether we do it inside the church or outside.
Many in the Bible fell down on their faces before the Lord in worship when He appeared to them. And that is what I believe we will all do when we finally behold our God and Saviour. What a moment that will be!
And it is good for us to start each day in such humility and surrender before God…bowed before Him in humble prayer and worship. But let’s then get up and live each day out in worship to our holy God…as we do all that we do to the glory of God! (1 Corinthians 10:31)
Drawing nigh to Him,
LET’S TALK ABOUT IT.
How do you view worship? In what ways do you worship God at home, or at church? How do you view God?