Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Worship as The Main Thing

Our Bible study tonight covered 1st Chronicles 9-12. Ezra (the likely author) went against the understanding of the leadership of his time to suggest that Israel was called on to worship God in the fashion of David.

Many millennia later, we have all kinds of things we call worship. However, our culture today knows very little about worship. The closest thing we have to the kind of worship God intends us to direct towards Him is the worship that we have of self. We believe in our own ability to rule our own destiny. We look to our own devices and our inner being for answers to daily problems. We only trust ourselves for our future happiness and sustenance.

In the time of David, the people knew that the king had the ability to control their lives and destinies. The revered the king because of some combination of fear and love. Even the worst and most horrific leaders commanded respect because of their power and authority. This model made it easier for people of those times to revere and worship a God who was like an unseen king.

We have no such kings today in Western Culture. The common suggestion that we worship money or things or celebrity is inadequate. We don't worship those things in the sense that those in kingdoms worship their kings.

Real worship is based on the abject and clear understanding that the person worshipped has power and authority to dramatically effect our lives. At the same time, the worship also derives from the love we have for the object of our worship. This love comes from respect for the character of the loved one and from awe at the beauty and power of that person. Finally it comes from our innate desire to reciprocate for the love we feel from the loved one.

So it is likely that the closest we come to worship in our culture is the way a dependent child feels about a loving parent. The difference is that the child doesn't do worship, but rather is worshipful. I think this is what God meant when He said that David had the heart of God. His worship (singing, dancing, praying) came from his love for his God, not the other way around. He couldn't help himself.

God grant me the spirit of worship to the point of not be able to help myself.

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