What is worship?
Why do you worship?
How do you worship?
0) In Exodus, Moses is told to ask Pharoah to set the Israelites free that they might worship the Lord in the desert. This is also called holding a festival, or making sacrifices. And in the first commandment, we’re told not to worship any idols in very strong language. What does that tell us about worship? Why couldn’t the Israelites just worship the Lord in captivity?
(Matthew 4:8-10) Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.” Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’ “ (Jesus is quoting Deut 6:13, although that is usually translated “Fear the lord your God.”)
1) What does this tell us about the importance of worship? The purpose of worship? Anything else?
(John 4:21-24) Jesus declared, “Believe me, woman, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.”
2) The most quoted passage about worship. What does Jesus mean by true worship? Worshipping in spirit and truth?
3) Worship in translations. In the Old Testament: Shachah which means “to bow down” or “to prostrate oneself in respect” or “showing submission.” In the New Testament: Latreia which means “to serve a superior.” How does that fit with what we’ve said so far?
(Romans 12:1-2) Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
4) Why does Paul say to worship?
5) What reasons have we seen for worshipping the Lord in the other scripture so far?
(Isaiah 12:1-6) In that day you will say: “I will praise you, O LORD. Although you were angry with me, your anger has turned away and you have comforted me. Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The LORD, the LORD, is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation.” With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation. In that day you will say: “Give thanks to the LORD, call on his name; make known among the nations what he has done, and proclaim that his name is exalted. Sing to the LORD, for he has done glorious things; let this be known to all the world. Shout aloud and sing for joy, people of Zion, for great is the Holy One of Israel among you.”
(Is 29:13) The Lord says: “These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is made up only of rules taught by men. (Quoted by Jesus in Mt 15:7-9.)
(Psalm 100) A psalm. For giving thanks. Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth. Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. Know that the LORD is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the LORD is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.
(2 Samuel 6:14-16, 20-22) David, wearing a linen ephod, danced before the LORD with all his might, while he and the entire house of Israel brought up the ark of the LORD with shouts and the sound of trumpets. As the ark of the LORD was entering the City of David, Michal daughter of Saul watched from a window. And when she saw King David leaping and dancing before the LORD, she despised him in her heart. …
…When David returned home to bless his household, Michal daughter of Saul came out to meet him and said, "How the king of Israel has distinguished himself today, disrobing in the sight of the slave girls of his servants as any vulgar fellow would!" David said to Michal, "It was before the LORD, who chose me rather than your father or anyone from his house when he appointed me ruler over the LORD's people Israel—I will celebrate before the LORD. I will become even more undignified than this, and I will be humiliated in my own eyes. But by these slave girls you spoke of, I will be held in honor."
6) What do we learn from these scriptures about how to worship?
C.S. Lewis wrote: As long as you notice, and have to count the steps, you are not yet dancing but only learning to dance. A good shoe is a shoe you don’t notice. Good reading becomes possible when you need not conciously think about eyes, or light, or print, or spelling. The perfect church service would be the one we were almost unaware of; our attention would have been on God.
7) What is Lewis trying to communicate here? Have you ever experienced it?
Bonus: Sounds better than homework, eh?
The psalms have many examples of worship. Here are some of the most cited. Psalm 27:6; Psalm 34:1; Psalm 47:1, 6; Psalm 63:4; Psalm 95:6, Psalm 149:3, Psalm 150:3-5