WHAT GOD SAYS ABOUT WORSHIP
Much has been taught about worship. Definitions of worship and
explanations of how worship should be a large part of our lives, assist
all believers. We can learn much about worship through the many
mediums available today. But before print, video, or the Internet,
God himself had much to say about worship.
“God spoke.” (Exodus 20:1) It is clear that the first training session
on worship came from God. The first three commandments given to
man on Mount Sinai are foundational to the ministry of worship.
The first logically flows out of an understanding of who God is. God
says, “I am the Lord your God.” (Exodus 20:2) It's not idols or things
that are God and so worship is only due the Creator. In terms of any
church worship ministry or our personal lives, there is only one that
is God. He alone is to be worshiped. God makes it clear that worship is
exclusive. Each human being will some day bow the knee and confess
that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God (Phil. 2:9-11) but in the
meantime careful attention must be given to focusing on Almighty
God and not things, including worship itself.
God is so wonderful to care for us in many ways. At times he uses
songs to minister courage and strength. The real temptation is to
begin to worship the song. Yes, I said worship the song! We can get
trapped into focusing on the song instead of the one who loves us. The
song is only a thing, and to say, “I love that song” instead of “I love
God for touching me through that song” borders on raising a thing to
worship status. God said, “I am the Lord your God, You shall have NO
other gods before Me”. (Exodus 20:2, 3)
The second commandment is more than a prohibition against idolatry.
It goes further. Man is not to make anything that could be worshiped.
Unfortunately idols abound. The golden calf may be gone but it has
been replaced by personal idols. This is a work of the flesh which is as
awful as drunkenness, drugging, and adultery. (Galatians 5)
God says, “You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the Lord
your God, am a jealous God.” (Exodus 20:5)
Jealousy is listed as a work of the flesh. (Galatians 5:20) but God is
righteously just in being jealous for us. Our lives cannot be divided
between worship of God and anything else. This word found in
Exodus 20:5 is used only of God as having no rival. Only God is real.
He is so far above every created thing. Things are no rival and
worshipers must have no room for anything else except God.
The third commandment has to do with reverencing who God is. Jesus
communicated this in the Lord's prayer when he said, “Our Father
who is in heaven, hallowed be Your Name”. (Matt. 6:9) God reminds
us that he is. He really is the “I am”. God says, “You shall not take
the name of the Lord your God in vain”. (Exodus 20:7)
Through profanity, frivolity (using the name of God in a superficial),
and hypocrisy (claiming the name of God but acting in a way that
disgraces Him) this commandment can be broken. Obviously most
believers will not profane the name of the Lord, but he is so incredible
that even Isaiah had his tongue cleansed when in the presence of God.
We can't dodge what God has taught regarding worship by stating that
these are from the Old Covenant and not to be observed. Let's be
reminded by what Jesus said to the tempter. “You shall worship the
Lord your God and serve Him only.” (Matt. 4:10) Jesus also taught,
“true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such
people the Father seeks to be His worshipers”. (John 4:23)
God has no equal. His love, care, and wisdom causes us to focus on
him. Praise God, he has effectively taught us the who, how, and why
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