Worship is at the heart of who we are as Christians.
But our definition of what worship is needs fine-tuning. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been to a gathering of saints and someone leading says something like, “Okay, church, let’s stand and worship.”
That sounds harmless enough. The implication, though, is that worship means standing up to sing. Of course, singing is a part of worship. But only a part. That’s one of the reasons the worship wars are so silly. We get riled up about one small aspect of worship.
While we gather for corporate worship, most of our worship doesn’t happen then. On Sunday mornings, we pray together and listen for God’s voice through scripture. Of course, we sing and give our offerings. Again, those are all aspects of worship. Our true worship is connected to those practices.
But our true worship happens when we leave. Worship is more than liturgy and holy days. Our worship of God is our willingness to live according to the ways of God. Obedience is worship.
Particularly throughout the Old Testament, God’s call is for obedience. Instead, the people turned to idols. Now, they still said the right things about God and participated in religious services. But they didn’t live according to God’s measure of righteousness. If they did, they would have taken care of one another. They would have provided for the widows and orphans. Justice would have been at the forefront of their relationship with the world. Their idol worship hardened their hearts and perpetuated their self-centered lifestyle.
In Isaiah 1, God says to a disobedient people, “I hate your New Moons and your appointed feasts. They have become a burden to me; I am weary of bearing them” (Isaiah 1:14). I wonder how many of our worship gatherings are a burden to God.
We see both these aspects of worship in Exodus 24. God told Moses to bring the elders of Israel up the mountain with him. Moses was to go near to God and the elders were to “worship at a distance.” What do you think their mountain worship looked like?
After this, Moses told all the people what God told him. The people’s response is what we’re considering today. They said, “All the words that the Lord has spoken we will do.” Their obedience would be their worship.
So, when you’re with your church family on Sunday morning (or whenever you meet), you bring your worship of God with you. In our gatherings, we glorify God and offer our lives as living sacrifices together. From there, our true worship is living as if all that we said about God is true. So true that we will live like it is.