Yesterday during song worship at the Sunday morning gathering, the worship leader began sharing what was on her heart. She said, “We were created to worship. We were born to worship God.” I felt a familiar rebellious thought begin to invade my mind. I hate being told what to do. (Clearly, I have authority issues. I’m working on them.) I don’t want to be told to worship.
I consider myself a worshipper but worship, like love, must be given freely otherwise it’s not authentic or sincere. Since I was a child with a rebellious nature, I’ve struggled with a so-called Christian’s requirement to worship. I had no trouble with the disciplines of Christian life – reading my Bible, praying, doing good works, fasting and interceding, but I drew the line at worship being mandatory. Despite my rebellious heart towards worship, I understood even as a child, worship was/is an internal response.
My heart attitude towards worship began to change several years ago when I was challenged by a volunteer who worked with girls trapped in a cycle of drugs and prostitution. She gave God [genuine] praise for each night a girl was kept safe, and off the streets. It didn’t matter if it was for one night, or one month, or one year. I began give God praise for blessings in my life, even if the matter wasn’t totally resolved. I praised God in the process; and in the process, my heart changed.
My knowledge and understanding expanded again when I heard Bill Johnson say, “We praise God for what he’s done, we worship God for who he is.” I was confronted by lies and untruths I believed. I didn’t differentiate between praise and worship, except for praise songs were a little faster, more drums and got your toes tapping and worship songs were slower, more contemplative, and they typically ended the singing portion of a Sunday morning service. Praising God for what he did, does, and will do makes sense. Worshipping God for who he is makes sense too, the problem is, many Christians (me included) don’t know who God is.
It’s impossible to worship what you don’t know.
These are the thoughts swirling around my head yesterday, and as I’m attempting to meditate on truth, and not lies, my mind simultaneously began to think of what the Lord promised Moses when He commissioned him:
Exodus 3:12 And God said, “I will be with you. And this will be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you: when you have brought the people out of Egypt, you will worship God on this mountain.”God gave me a new understanding (a lesson, if you will) about what He planned to do for his people. It wasn’t a plan to get them out of Egypt so they could worship God, as if he needs validation. He is complete in himself. A few verses later, God declares his name to be I AM WHO I AM. He is complete, and needs not requires any validation from us or any of creation.
God rescued his people to show himself to them, so they could know God, intimately and relationally. It’s impossible to worship what you don’t know. God is so complete in himself, he knows when we, his people, get to know him, and his heart, the only response is worship. Throughout their salvation and exodus from Egypt, there was many exhibitions of God’s power and might and there was much to praise him for but he wants us to know more than what he does, God wants us to know him. When we know him, we worship.
#40lessons: God wanted to bring his people out of Egypt to worship him, because his intention was to show himself to them. You can’t worship what you don’t know, and to know God is to worship him.