“And Abraham said to his young men, “Stay here with the donkey; the lad and I will go yonder and worship, and we will come back to you.”” (Genesis 22: 5).
The father knew what he needed to do-sacrifice his son. The servants asked him what was going on, and Abraham answered that they were going to worship God. How does Abraham understand worship? It is to go and give up, to give up oneself for sacrifice, and to sacrifice even one’s dearest belongings. Genesis 22: 5 is the first place in the Bible where the word worship is used. It is not used, however, about songs or about prayer, but is about sacrificing.
Often, pastors starting a new church will wait for the first year, collecting donations for equipment and for singers, believing that this is worship. Some people think that it is impossible to worship without equipment. Even at home, we think we must have a player and CDs for listening to music during worship. For us, praise is fun; a celebration.
Is that how God thinks? Judging from the Scripture above, it is not so. Father Abraham had to hand his son over to the knife. Often, God ends up on a different trajectory than us – God is thinking about one thing, while we are thinking about our own things. Our thoughts are not God’s thoughts, we do not rightly understand Him and His words.
For example, if someone says: “Let’s have worship in the city,” people will start looking for the best musicians and singers. But when God thinks about worship, He is not always thinking about music.
When the elders and the angels came to worship Jesus, they did not sing nor dance, they laid themselves down at the feet of the King, bringing Him gifts. True worship means to lay ourselves down, to empty ourselves for God’s sake and His will. One might worship with music, but another with himself, his heart and soul. Somebody worships with songs, and another person with dances, while someone else worships with his own life.
Dances and songs can also be worship, they are one of its types. But God’s initial understanding of worship is a different thing: Shattering oneself, totally surrendering oneself to God. One must search thoroughly to find such worshippers.
How did David worship? He did not only sing, dance and play musical instruments. He worshipped to the extent that he forgot about clothes, and people thought he was crazy. He gave himself completely to God. That is what true worship is. It must always be connected to the heart and the sacrifice of oneself. A king is not expected to dance like crazy before the people, but David put his royal glory aside, dancing in front of ordinary people as if no one was watching him. At that time David was not concerned about royal etiquette at all, his thoughts were preoccupied by God.
The most important worship is when we worship God with our lives, giving ourselves up. That becomes a sweet fragrance to the Lord. We worship God when we do His will on earth. And the music is more to improve our own mood. God expects us to sacrifice for the fulfillment of His will. For God, worship is serious, and it is to worship with everything that you have.
“Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews. But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.””(John 4: 21-24).
This is what Jesus says about worship: True worshipers will worship in spirit and truth. Jesus showed this in practice. He did not mention music, the stage or the Praise and Worship team. All of this can be used as a form, but is not the main part of worship. To worship in spirit is to worship from the depth of oneself, with all of one’s essence.
Whenever you come to the church or turn on music, telling yourself that you are worshiping, remember what true worship is.
Jesus says that there is not one specific place for true worship. Someone says: “I’m going to the concert.” “And where were you?” People ask, “At the worship.”
But what does God say? If we are talking about worship, then there is no need to go anywhere, you can do it at any time and in every place. You have a heart, spirit, and life. You can worship God in the family, at work, in public transport and without even opening your mouth.
God says that everyone has his own glory – the sky has its glory, the stars have their glory, the plants have their glory. Every human is also a bearer of glory, and God wants us to lay it down before Him. Isaac was the glory of his parents, and they gave him to God. God has crowned us with glory and honor. Man is the crown of God’s glory and the greatest worship is to give back this crown, this glory, and oneself to God.
Worship is the process of returning the glory to God. When angels worship God, they say “Glory! Glory! Glory!” returning His glory to Him. It is impossible to worship God without giving Him glory. Glory is a spiritual concept.
It is important to know:
- You can not sincerely worship God without knowing Him. Where there is true worship, the knowledge of God is there. Unfortunately, many people have traditions, but no knowledge of God. God lives in the spirit, and that is how we contact Him.
- When Abraham went to the mountain to sacrifice his son, God came to him and spoke to him. God responds to true worship. True worship leads to deeper knowledge of God.
- Try to get out of the tradition. When the music sounds in church, connect to God in the spirit. Try to give back to God everything that He has given you. That is worshiping Him.
Senior pastor Sunday Adelaja