The Art of Worship
Hello blog readers of this blog! My name is Clay and I’m the lucky man who married the woman who owns this blog. Laura asked me many months ago to start my own blog, but I declined. I used the excuse of being too busy with my job, my bible studies, my college studies and my family. Instead, I agreed to do a “Clay’s Corner”. Well, here is my first post. I hope you enjoy it.
I’ve titled this post as “The Art of Worship”. Have you ever thought about how to worship? Sure, we see the videos on YouTube, the energetic people in church, the shy people in church, and people in between. Sometimes, we’re fearful of worshiping because of our fear of being judged. Well, let me expand on that…..
Scriptures tells us not to judge one another. We’re all children of God. Cain and Able worshiped through sacrificing their top products, so to speak. You see how judging one another led to the demise of Cain when he slew his brother.
The Bible doesn’t go into detail about how to worship. There are many examples of worship throughout the Bible though. In the Old Testament, most worship took place with burnt offerings, sacrifices and prayer. In 2 Samuel 6:16, King David worshiped God by dancing in the streets when he brought the Ark of The Lord to Jerusalem. Michal (the daughter of Saul) despised him for that and judged his outlandish behavior.
In the Old Testament, religious activities consisted of prayer and offerings. In the New Testament, nothing is mentioned how to carry out our religious activities to best relate to God. Should we get up and dance? Should we shout “Hallelujah!”? Should we slap each other on the backs like athletes and instead of saying “Good Game” say “Amen!”? Should we sing hymns of praise as loud as we can?
In my studies of the Bible, I learned early on God presents me with a fork in the road everyday. Go left or go right? Speed up or slow down? Pray or don’t pray? Glorify God or glorify myself? It’s the same with worshiping. God gives each one of us a choice how to worship. Two questions remain: (1) When you worship, are you glorifying God or glorifying yourself? (2) When you see others worship in their manner, are you judging them? Are you speaking about them under your breath or to your neighbor?
Going back to question 1, think of an athlete. We all have “God-given abilities.” But let’s break it down. There’s a difference between praising and worshiping. An athlete praises God for winning the fight; scoring a touchdown; hitting a home run to win the game. These are praises. Psalm 150:6 says, “Let everything that has breath praise The Lord.” “I thank you for my shoes; I thank you for my clothes; I thank you for giving me my job; I thank you how you blessed me with this car; I thank you for how you brought me through college.” Praise thanks God for what He did. The praise is thanking God for your shoes, but the worshiper says, “If I don’t have any shoes; If I don’t have a car; If I don’t have a house; If I never did anything; I worship you for who you are; You are valuable; Your peace is valuable; I worship you because you are God! You mean so much to me!”
Returning to the athlete, does he thank God for losing the fight? Throwing an interception? Striking out to lose the game? No, he doesn’t. We have a tendency of praising God only during the good times. What about the bad times? What about in times of mourning? Daniel didn’t stop worshiping and praising God’s name. Daniel was in a state of mourning throughout much of his life. What about Job? He never stopped worshiping and glorifying God’s name. Honestly, he had every reason not to praise and worship from a human standpoint. Which of you reading this would sing praises of worship if you went through what Job went through? A very small percentage, if any. Instead, we would ask, “Why me?!” Which brings me back to the athlete. When you hear the athlete on television thanking God for what the athlete had done and not what he didn’t do, is he glorifying God, or glorifying himself?
If it were possible for God to have a weakness, I think God’s weakness is for worship. God said, “I seek a worshiper. I looked for a worshiper.” God loves worshipers so much that when it was time for Hezekiah to die, and Isaiah the Prophet came to execute the sentence on his life, Hezekiah began to talk about all the works that he had done and how he had kept the law; but the sentence was still enforced. Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed and cried out to the Lord. He said, in paraphrasing, “Lord, the grave can not praise you from the grave.” The Lord blessed Hezekiah by adding 15 years to his life.
But everyone has a particular way to worship. It could be through song, dance, shouting, hand gestures, sports, holding hands in prayer, music and the list goes on. But it’s their way to connect with God. It’s their way to Worship The Lord in the splendor of His Holiness. It’s what is meaningful to you. Who am I to judge you for your method of worship? I think that’s what the scriptures are telling us in Matthew and Romans.
The hard part is discerning what is glorifying man and what is glorifying God in worship. We don’t want to raise a generation of youth to bring attention to themselves for self gratification by dancing in the aisles of church or falling on the ground and convulsing because the Holy Spirit has come upon them. Now, if that’s the case, well, then that’s the case. How can we be sure it’s God glorifying without becoming doubting Thomas’ ourselves? How can we be sure without being judgmental? That, my friends, is the difficult part. However, I am to be a good steward; set an example how a Christian should be. Much of that comes from Praise and Worship.
In my household, my wife and I have differing thoughts on music. I’m more modern in my music selection as she is more traditional. Neither of us are wrong, even though she finds my selection, at times, over the top and I find hers boring. It’s our connection to God. It’s what drives us to continually praise and Glorify His Great and Omnipresent name!