* Remember to read the previous parts of this series first
Worship (2 of 2)
Those who would oppose the expressions of worship listed in Psalms would likely tell David that he too was "getting out of hand" as he was "dancing before the LORD with all his might, and David was wearing a linen ephod" (2 Samuel 6:14). And what was God's response? God "anointed him with His holy oil" (Psalm 89:20). He was "a man after God's own heart" (1 Samuel 13:14). He "found favor in God's sight" (Acts 7:46).
I don't know about you, but God holding me in such high regard should far outweigh what any man's opinion of me is. When I read these Scriptures, I wonder why I ever even consider what others think of my worship and praise! It is not about or for anyone but my LORD and King!
On a side note do you know the significance of what David was wearing? In this instance, David would have had to take off his royal robe and put on plain linen dress to be found in this ephod. You see, sometimes true worship is abandoning all that you know, all that identifies you upon this earth, leaving nothing to inhibit you from worshipping your God! It is time to leave behind the forms of godliness that have infiltrated the Body and worship the LORD in spirit and in truth!
Why do we, as Believers, spend endless time practicing and perfecting earthly things (spiritual gifts, wealth, wisdom, programs, events) yet nearly no time whatsoever developing a lifestyle of abandoned worship? Loud, outspoken, passionate worship is what we'll be doing for all of eternity, yet it is hardly ever experienced here on earth.
Speaking of singing praises, have you ever felt convicted of singing songs to the LORD that when you really pay attention, you realize you don't really mean it? We sing empty songs with lying lips. I just can't do it anymore. If I find myself singing along to a song that I don't feel that I mean from my innermost being, I'll just turn it off and ask the LORD to forgive me for not being in a place where I can honestly say the lyrics to Him. Well isn't that a little too harsh, you might wonder. I don't think so.
Well, what does the Word say about what is on our lips?
"Truthful lips will be established forever, but a lying tongue is only for a moment." Proverbs 12:19
"Lying lips are an abomination to the LORD." Proverbs 12:22
"O LORD, who may abide in Your tent? Who may dwell on Your holy hill? He who walks with integrity, and works righteousness, and speaks truth in his heart." Psalm 15:1
If this is true in a general sense, as to our neighbor, how much more so in regards to our words and promises made to the LORD? What about bringing a "sacrifice of praise"? I just don't see any sacrifice within modern day praise and worship. It is easy. It is comfortable. It is all according to what we like. If we like pop music, we go to a contemporary worship service. If we like hymns, we got to the traditional worship service. And of course, to make it as easy as possible for everyone, there is the "blended" service! Perhaps the greatest error is the simple, yet appropriate branding of the "service". It reeks of predictability and ritual and, according to what is stated in Scripture, I don't believe that God accepts it. We, myself included, must become willing to step out and do the uncomfortable and perhaps even the outlandish in worship! For Him and for absolutely no other reason! (If you say that you just won't do it, see John 12:43 and think again.)
If you grew up traditional as I did, we all sang "all to Jesus, I surrender", but we never really did. We uttered that we were "yielded and still", yet we seldom were either. We sang "wherever He leads I'll go", but never really listened to what He was even saying. What about "though none go with me, still I will follow"? That is easy to say when everybody is with you, isn't it? Perhaps you have more of a modern, contemporary flair. You have likely cried out to God "nothing compares to the promise I have in You" at the top of your lungs. Do you daily live this as reality? How about telling God that "step by step You lead me and I will follow You all of my days"? When exactly do "all of my days" officially start? You've likely sung "Here I am to worship, here I am to bow down". How many times when you've sung this line have you actually bowed down and laid prostrate on the floor before the LORD? You may say, "Oh, well I couldn't do that in my shirt and tie in the middle of church"… this my friend is exactly what my point is. We have come from praising the LORD with loud cymbals and shouts (Psalms) to mouthing empty words as we think about where we're going to lunch later. And we think that this is worship? Not according to what God's Word deems as such. Now is the time for us to return to true, biblically defined worship!
(Some other Biblical sources for much more on acceptable worship and offerings – Why Cain's offering was rejected and Abel's was accepted, Cherubim guarding the throne of God from unacceptable worship, the throne room worship that John saw in Revelation. Also go here to read a piece I wrote back in March 2008 on the subject.)
Next up, we'll look at how the Body of Christ gathers. Are we doing it right in God's eyes? How can we even know?