Tuesday, May 14, 2013

TRUE WORSHIP

Sacrifice. It can be a powerful expression of worship that often manifests in the physical world to display one’s commitment to God.

When I hear the phrase, especially in song, “we bring the sacrifice of praise into the house of the Lord”, I imagine someone at a place in their life where they don’t feel and can’t reason praising God. I have been there. I have allowed some situations to blind me so bad I panic and don’t operate with the other spiritual “senses” I have like trust in His promises, previous victories, going back to the basics – His provision of my salvation. Yet, through the writer of the book of Hebrews, God says, 

“Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise--the fruit of lips that confess his name.” – Hebrews 13:15 

One of the ways we can willfully show God our sacrifice of praise is to bow. If our mind and spirit are not quite ready to praise yet, bowing is a great start toward reaching that sacrifice of praise. "The Hebrew word most often translated as worship is the word shachah. It simply means to bow. We most often see it paired with the words 'bowed down,'" (p.83, Neese, How To Worship A King) This version of bowing seems to be connected with a simple display of reverence, possibly a bowing of the head and heart. That is the Old Testament word for bow. The New Testament word for bow or worship has our body even more surrendered.

The New Testament word for worship is proskuneo. "Proskuneo means to prostrate yourself before God and to blow Him kisses because you adore Him. The New Testament does not let us off the hook at all. If anything, New Testament worshipers bow lower (prostration is lying face first, flat on the ground) and humble themselves more than Old Testament worshipers." (pp.83-83, Neese) This is the picture I get when reading about the 24 Elders of Revelation 4:10-11

“…the twenty-four elders fall down before him who sits on the throne, and worship him who lives forever and ever. They lay their crowns before the throne and say: "You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being." 

I also get this image when I sing – “We bow down, we cast our crowns, at the feet of Jesus, we cry, Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lamb”.

Why would you desire to worship God anyway? Why would you want to bow before God? For me there are countless reasons I could start listing. The number one reason why I worship Him is He loved me first by not withholding the life of His only Son for the redemption and restoration of my eternal relationship with Him. Another way to explain why one would worship/bow down to God is found in Luke 7:36-50.

Within this passage Jesus visits the home of a Pharisee named Simon. As Jesus is visiting, a woman of questionable reputation also comes into the room and "brought an alabaster jar of perfume, and as she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them." (v.37-38)

Simon slipped up. Whenever a guest, especially a guest of honor, visited your home the host was expected to first, cleanse the feet of the guest or at least provide the water for the guest to clean his/her feet. Second, give the guest an appropriate kiss of welcome. Finally, the host was to anoint the guest's head with oil. After observing what the woman did for Him and after observing what Simon Did Not do for Him - Jesus said,

"Simon, I have something to tell you." (v.40)

"Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven--for she loved much. (v.44-47)

Take Notice! "Something happened and now I know, He touched me and made me whole." I believe this ole song could be sung again and again by this woman. Many scholars believe this woman to be Mary Magdalene. I tend to agree. I don't see this woman so distraught over Simon's mistakes that she capitalizes on them. No. I support the view that Mary's life changing encounter with Jesus occurred before this moment of worship, therefore the attitude of gratitude and humility drove her to find Jesus and worship Him - "When a woman who had lived a sinful life in that town learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee's house,..." (v.37). You know the rest of the story.

"First Corinthians 11:13 says that a woman's hair is her glory. This woman used her glory as a rag to serve Jesus. If only we could worship so well. If only we would humble our glory to serve His Body instead of wearing our glory as crowns for our own beautification." (p.95, Neese)

I challenge me as well as you today, align your body, mind, and spirit to deliver God proper worship. Bow before Him, laying prostrate and surrendered and the sacrifice of praise will flow easier. "Worship is a posture of our hearts that informs every action of our lives. Worship is an attitude of love and submission that demands action." (p.89, Neese)