Friday, 12 November 2021
“Do not worship the LORD your God in the way these pagan peoples worship their gods. Rather, you must seek …. –Deut. 12:4-5
Worship to God in the days of Moses to the early churches and then to the present day is supposed to be different from what and how the world worships. It is a fact that every person worships but it’s just a matter of what one worships and how one worships. What and how do people in our culture typically worship? Self, money, power, the opposite gender, pleasure, etc. have become objects of worship in our day.
But what was worship for the Israelite people in the times of Moses mentioned in Deuteronomy12?
Worship was about coming to God. Verses 5, 11 and 13-14 make it very clear that worship is about coming to God, wherever He is. He didn’t want the people of Israel getting all mixed up with the cultures around them and going to their temples. He wanted them to make sure they were worshipping no other gods but only Him in an allocated place.
Worship was about bringing offerings to God (giving). Verses 6, 11, and 14 says, the people would not be going to the Temple to get anything for themselves but instead they would go with the mindset of giving to God and in fact, those offerings at the time would be used to take care of the Temple, the priests and the poor.
Worship was about celebrating and rejoicing who God is and what He has done in their lives. Verses 7 and 12 speak that all the families are to come together, bring their offerings and have a feast to celebrate and thank God for everything He was doing. When this happened, clearly everyone left being filled, encouraged, and full of joy.
Worship was about joining together in that joy and celebration. It wasn’t about just one person but the entire community joining together in worship to God.
The word “Worship” in Hebrew means to “bow down” or to be “prostrate,” –signifying respect, awe, and the power of another person. It also means to “fall down.” Another meaning is to “serve, work or labor;” in other words, “putting other people before ourselves.”
In those days, worship was a very serious and dangerous thing- because in order to come into God’s presence, the people had to be clean and innocent of sin because “The wages of sin is death.” (Romans 6:23). The Temple itself had sections for different people to worship God. It was only the High Priest who was allowed to go into the Most Holy Place once a year. God’s presence was reserved to this one place and only to the chosen few. Looking at the Old Testament Worship will help us understand something very important about worship for us now.
Today, worship and God’s presence are not reserved for the best or the few but for everyone who puts their faith in Jesus Christ. Jesus came to earth to restore our relationships with God, to forgive us our sin and disobedience to God, invite everyone to come into the presence of God, no matter who you were. The Holy of Holies was opened up so that everyone could boldly come into the presence of God. Hebrews 10:20 [TLB] says: “This is the fresh, new, life-giving way that Christ has opened up for us by tearing the curtain—his human body—to let us into the holy presence of God.”
Worship and God’s presence are not reserved for just the Temple anymore but we- the believers, are His Temple. From this perspective, worship really becomes a lifestyle- not just something that happens at church- but when we are at school, on the sports field, at home, at church, at youth group, at work…everywhere! It is not about the things we use to worship (liturgy, music, prayers, objects, etc.) but about our attitude to God and our relationship with Him!
Thought for the Day:
Worship is a believer's response to God's revelation of Himself. It is expressing wonder, awe, and gratitude for the worthiness, the greatness, and the goodness of our Lord. It is the appropriate response to God's person, His provision, His power, His promises, and His plan. - Nancy Leigh DeMoss