Much has been taught about worship. Definitions of worship and explanations of how worship should be a large part of our lives, assist all believers. We can learn much about worship through the many mediums available today. But before print, video, or the Internet, God himself had much to say about worship.
“God spoke.” (Exodus 20:1) It is clear that the first training session on worship came from God. The first three commandments given to man on Mount Sinai are foundational to the ministry of worship.
The first logically flows out of an understanding of who God is. God says, “I am the Lord your God.” (Exodus 20:2) It’s not idols or things that are God and so worship is only due the Creator. In terms of any church worship ministry or our personal lives, there is only one that is God. He alone is to be worshiped. God makes it clear that worship is exclusive. Each human being will some day bow the knee and confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God (Phil. 2:9-11) but in the meantime careful attention must be given to focusing on Almighty God and not things, including worship itself.
God is so wonderful to care for us in many ways. At times he uses songs to minister courage and strength. The real temptation is to begin to worship the song. Yes, I said worship the song! We can get trapped into focusing on the song instead of the one who loves us. The song is only a thing, and to say, “I love that song” instead of “I love God for touching me through that song” borders on raising a thing to worship status. God said, “I am the Lord your God, You shall have NO other gods before Me”. (Exodus 20:2, 3)
The second commandment is more than a prohibition against idolatry. It goes further. Man is not to make anything that could be worshiped. Unfortunately idols abound. The golden calf may be gone but it has been replaced by personal idols. This is a work of the flesh which is as awful as drunkenness, drugging, and adultery. (Galatians 5) God says, “You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God.” (Exodus 20:5)
Jealousy is listed as a work of the flesh. (Galatians 5:20) but God is righteously just in being jealous for us. Our lives cannot be divided between worship of God and anything else. This word found in Exodus 20:5 is used only of God as having no rival. Only God is real. He is so far above every created thing. Things are no rival and worshipers must have no room for anything else except God.
The third commandment has to do with reverencing who God is. Jesus communicated this in the Lord’s prayer when he said, “Our Father who is in heaven, hallowed be Your Name”. (Matt. 6:9) God reminds us that he is. He really is the “I am”. God says, “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain”. (Exodus 20:7)
Through profanity, frivolity (using the name of God in a superficial), and hypocrisy (claiming the name of God but acting in a way that disgraces Him) this commandment can be broken. Obviously most believers will not profane the name of the Lord, but he is so incredible that even Isaiah had his tongue cleansed when in the presence of God. (Isaiah 6:7)
We can’t dodge what God has taught regarding worship by stating that these are from the Old Covenant and not to be observed. Let’s be reminded by what Jesus said to the tempter. “You shall worship the Lord your God and serve Him only.” (Matt. 4:10) Jesus also taught, “true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers”. (John 4:23)
God has no equal. His love, care, and wisdom causes us to focus on him. Praise God, he has effectively taught us the who, how, and why of worship. We appreciate your Comments