While I was in church this past Sunday, we were singing a song with the words, “We worship You, O God.” This thought ran through my mind…”just about any religion can sing those words.” Hmmm. Is that true ?
What is worship anyways? It is defined as:
- The acts or rites that make up a formal expression of reverence for a deity: a religious ceremony.
- To show reverence and adoration for (a deity); to venerate; to revere; to honor; to adore.
From the earliest of times, man has worshipped. He knew there were forces outside of his control … much bigger than he … and he was afraid. So he worshipped these entities that seemed to be “in control” of what was “out of his control.”
The river sometimes overflowed … destroying lives and property. But it also brought rich soil and helped the crops… if it happened at the right time. So people thought that if they could appease the “river god”, the floods would happen at the right time … in the right amount.
Men and women wanted children. Men boasted of their strength in producing children. Childless women were considered cursed and were shamed … or divorced. A large family brought strength, status, alliances, help, and … in a way … immortality… people remembered and honored their forefathers.
The earth brought forth crops. A seed planted produced fruit … food. This “mother earth goddess” was often associated with fertility gods… they wanted those “seeds” to grow too.
And people feared death. Many, many cultures have gods and goddesses of death and the underworld. The Grim Reaper was feared … no matter what name they gave him.
There are a couple of common threads here. First, mankind feared these gods and goddesses. They wanted to keep them happy and appeased… so they worshipped … they had elaborate rituals … they sacrificed … they gave offerings … sometimes even sacrificing their own children in the fire! Secondly, they wanted blessings… favor … no curses … no punishment … except on their enemies!
So, all religions can sing “We worship you, O god.” But, do they sing that in the same way?
Worship is more than something we do… it is an attitude. Too often today “worship” is the 3 or 4 songs we sing before the sermon. We have “traditional” worship… “contemporary” worship… in some churches there is no singing, so they have “quiet worship.”
We worship Our God. But is our worship different from those in other religions? Sadly, sometimes, it’s not. But sometimes Yes! And it should be!
So, what is worship? It is so much more than singing. The word itself means “to bow down or to prostrate oneself.” Picture the movies you’ve seen, like The King and I, where everyone bows to the emperor and no head can be higher than his head. Our “bowing down” is the bowing of our hearts. Anyone can bow on the outside, and still be standing stiff-necked and full of arrogant pride on the inside! We bow our hearts, acknowledging that He is God and we are not … that He deserves praise … and thanksgiving … and obedience!
Of all the other religions in the world … Islam … Hinduism … Ba’al worship … even “churchianity” … we worship NOT from fear … or to get something… but we worship from LOVE! That doesn’t mean that we don’t bring our needs to God. He really cares about all that … big stuff and little stuff. But our worship is more than that… much more.
We don’t offer sacrifices to hopefully make our God pleased with us. We don’t worship so He won’t zap us! OUR GOD … OUR HEAVENLY FATHER doesn’t have to be persuaded or smooth-talked out of sending punishment and destruction upon us! He sent Jesus to take our punishment! He loves us! No other religion can say that!
As the saying goes, “God is Good … all the time … and all the time … God is Good!
We worship God because we love Him. He alone is worthy of worship! Now, and forever!
We bow our hearts to You.
You alone are worthy of worship.
Thank You that we don’t have to try and make You love us.
Thank You that we don’t have to figure out how to gain Your favor.
Jesus already did that for us.
Because of Jesus, You always and already love us.
We don’t have to worry that You are just waiting to “zap” us.
That knowledge alone brings such peace.
Your “perfect love” casts away all fear… of You … of what is to come.
In Jesus Precious Name,