Purpose of Guarding the Treasure

The purpose of this blog is to encourage readers to invest their time into the Word of God and "Guard, through the Holy Spirit who dwells in us, the treasure which has been entrusted to you." Paul wrote these words to Timothy (2 Timothy 1:14) in his presumed last letter before his execution. May we be those who see the word of God as a treasure, guarding it with our lives, investing in it with our hearts and minds, and reaping the fruit of an abundant life while getting to know the God who loves us and created us for His marvelous pleasure and glory.

Friday, September 25, 2009

The Heart of Worship

The first mention of the word worship in Scripture is found in Genesis 22:5, “And Abraham said to his young men, "Stay here with the donkey, and I and the lad will go yonder; and we will worship and return to you." Abraham makes this statement of faith concerning his son Isaac whom God has asked him to sacrifice as a burnt offering (Hebrews 11:17-19). Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son was an act of worship before the Lord and a testing his allegiance and the breadth of commitment to God (Genesis 22:1-19).

The commandments given to the people of Israel discussed worship, “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. You shall have no other gods before Me. You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth. You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing lovingkindness to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.” (Exodus 20:2-6) From this commandment it is clear that the Lord alone is to be worshipped and the He alone is worthy of worship. Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego refused to worship (literally pay homage) to a golden image set up by king Nebuchadnezzar having accepted their fate of the fiery furnace. (Daniel 3) The Apostle John was told twice to worship God alone when he fell before an angel in worship having received the Revelation (Revelation 19:10,22:9)

The most common word used for worship in the Old Testament literally means “to bow down,” which suggests allegiance and humble subjection. As the Lord passed by Moses, he “made haste to bow low toward the earth and worship.” (Exodus 34:6-8) David wrote in the Psalms, “Worship the Lord with reverence, And rejoice with trembling…Come, let us worship and bow down; Let us kneel before the Lord our Maker…Worship the Lord in holy attire; Tremble before Him, all the earth.” (Psalm 2:11, 95:6, 96:9) These Scriptures acknowledge a physical posture of submission before the Lord, but more importantly an attitude of submission and awful reverence to the Lordship of Almighty God.

Another word used for worship in Scripture carries the idea of work or service. Deuteronomy 6:13 says, “You shall fear only the Lord your God; and you shall worship Him, and swear by His name.” A believer who serves the Lord is actually worshiping the Lord in that service. As such, worship and service are closely intertwined.

The first mention of worship in the New Testament is shown toward the Christ, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we saw His star in the east, and have come to worship Him…And they came into the house and saw the Child with Mary His mother; and they fell down and worshiped Him; and opening their treasures they presented to Him gifts of gold and frankincense and myrrh." (Matthew 2:2,11) The magi from the east came to pay reverence to the King of the Jews. Their act of worship was coming from afar to acknowledge Christ as the Promised King. The Scriptures do not tell us what the magi were wearing or whether or not they raised their hands or shouted upon seeing the Child. These details were not important because the focus and object of their worship was Jesus and nothing else mattered.

Jesus spoke of worship to a Samaritan woman after she said, “Our fathers worshiped in this mountain, and you people say that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship." Jesus said to her, "Woman, believe Me, an hour is coming when neither in this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, shall you worship the Father. You worship that which you do not know; we worship that which we know, for salvation is from the Jews. But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers shall worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth." (John 4:20-24) Worship is not concerned with the place but rather the Person. We must worship the Father in spirit and truth through the power of the Holy Spirit and the name of the Way, the Truth and the Life, Jesus Christ.

Finally, the Apostle Paul writes of worship in Romans 12:1, “I urge you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.” Our worship is our service, willingly giving up our life in service to God. In presenting our bodies to God, this is an acceptable form of spiritual worship and is at the heart of the type of worship Jesus was talking about to the Samaritan woman. While singing praises to the Lord is an important part of worship, a life of worship through service in the power of the Holy Spirit is our key form of worship and praise toward God that is most pleasing to Him. Believers “worship in the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh.” (Philippians 3:3) As long as God is at center and heart of our worship, it matters not whether we stand or sit, remain silent or shout, raise our hands or bow the knee. Worship toward God is more about an inward attitude than an outward appearance.

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