Today, I want to start by asking a question: Where does your worship come from?
“iTunes. Wal-Mart. CD Baby. LifeWay.”
No… Not where do you buy worship music…
“Oh… Hillsong United, Chris Tomlin, Kari Jobe.”
No… Not who is your favorite artist, or composer of your favorite song. I am asking where does your worship come from?
We have long been a culture of labels and titles – worship is no exception. We have the part in the church service we call worship. We have a style of music we call worship. We have made worship more than a conversation or attitude… it has become an industry.
Now, understand that I am not casting aspersions; I am simply asking a question. When you strip away all of the trappings of how we view worship — the music, the sound, the lights, the crowds — and get back to the “heart of worship” (as Matt Redman once said in song), where does your worship come from?
Oh come, let us worship and bow down;
Let us kneel before the Lord our Maker.
For He is our God,
And we are the people of His pasture,
And the sheep of His hand. ~ Psalm 95:6-7
Webster’s defines worship as extravagant respect or admiration for or devotion to an object of esteem.
The Greek word for worship is proskuneó ( προσκυνέω ), meaning, to kiss toward.
In his book, Real Worship, Warren Wiersbe defines worship as “the believer’s response of all that they are – mind, emotions, will, body – to what God is and says and does“.
So, again with the question… where does YOUR worship come from?
You worship could be prompted by a victory God has brought about in your life. Take Moses for example…
“… I will sing to the Lord,
For He has triumphed gloriously!
The horse and its rider
He has thrown into the sea!
The Lord is my strength and song,
And He has become my salvation;
He is my God, and I will praise Him;
My father’s God, and I will exalt Him. ~ Exodus 15:1-2
This is the song of worship that Moses and the children of Israel lifted up to the Lord when, against impossible odds, they were delivered from Pharaoh and the army of Egypt, when God showed His supernatural might against the enemies of His people.
What about David?
O Lord, open my lips,
And my mouth shall show forth Your praise.
For You do not desire sacrifice, or else I would give it;
You do not delight in burnt offering.
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit,
A broken and a contrite heart—
These, O God, You will not despise. ~ Psalm 51:15-17
David’s worship came from a variety of places throughout His life, but from few places as dark as this. David had committed adultery with Bathsheba, arranged for her husband Uriah to be killed in battle, then took the pregnant Bathsheba to be his own wife. However, the sin he sought to cover was laid bare when the prophet Nathan showed up and called David out for his sin. Yet, instead of dodging, denying, or blaming anyone else, David immediately owned his sin, and sought forgiveness and redemption. He understood that his sin was a barrier between he and a holy God, and sought the path back into his presence.
…was a teenage girl when she was visited by the angel Gabriel with the good news that she had been chosen to be the mother to the Son of God. Although this news was joyous beyond belief, I cannot help but imagine that Mary also was aware of the societal ramifications of her state: I think the Bible hints at this when it says that her fiancé Joseph wanted to “put her away quietly”. Yet, in spite of any potential negative reactions from those around her, Mary’s worship was unhindered and with abandon to the One who chose her to carry and care for the Savior of the world…
…“My soul magnifies the Lord,
And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.
For He has regarded the lowly state of His maidservant;
For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed.
For He who is mighty has done great things for me,
And holy is His name.
And His mercy is on those who fear Him
From generation to generation…” ~ Luke 1:46-50
God had called Gideon…
…to a seemingly impossible task. He and three hundred men, armed with pitchers, torches, and trumpets were going to take on the well-armed army of the Midianites. Gideon had tested God, and God had shown Himself faithful. As a final sign, God told Gideon to sneak into the camp of the enemy. When he did, he overheard a man telling his dream to another man, prophesying the defeat of their army at the hands of Gideon. Judges 7:15 says…
And so it was, when Gideon heard the telling of the dream and its interpretation, that he worshiped.
Gideon believed in the promise God had given him. Though he had not seen the victory with his own eyes, Gideon believed in the word of the Lord, and chose to worship in advance of that victory. It was worship inspired by faith.
Horatio Spafford was a successful lawyer and businessman…
…when the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 destroyed his businesses and ruined him financially. When the economy crashed two years later, he endured additional hardships. Planning on traveling to Europe with his family, business issues caused him to send his family on ahead, and he would later join them. Tragically, the ship carrying his family collided with another ship during the voyage, and all four of his daughters were claimed by the sea. On his own journey across the Atlantic, upon crossing the very spot his children had died, Mr. Spafford penned these words from the deepest places of sorrow…
When peace like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to know,a
It is well, it is well, with my soul.
It is well, (it is well),
With my soul, (with my soul)
It is well, it is well, with my soul.
Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.
My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!
For me, be it Christ, be it Christ hence to live:
If Jordan above me shall roll,
No pang shall be mine, for in death as in life,
Thou wilt whisper Thy peace to my soul.
But Lord, ’tis for Thee, for Thy coming we wait,
The sky, not the grave, is our goal;
Oh, trump of the angel! Oh, voice of the Lord!
Blessed hope, blessed rest of my soul.
And Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
A song in the night, oh my soul!
At the beginning of this blog, I asked the question:
Where does your worship come from?
I guess a better way to phrase it would be “What inspires you to worship?” What is it that makes you drop to your knees in reverence, desperation, and humility before a Holy God? What events in your life have pointed you to His goodness and grace? Honestly, for all of us as humans, we all have those things that strike a nerve, and for everyone, that thing is different. Some are inspired to worship through victory. Others are driven to worship through desperation. Joy, sorrow, grief, confusion, ecstacy — these are all powerful emotions, and equally powerful motivators. Yet regardless of what motivates us, our worship should share a common thread…
That God alone is worthy to be praised.
That He is the Great I AM – Who was, and is, and is to come.
That only He is holy.
That no one compares to His matchless worth and worthiness.
That, as Matt Redman penned, “It’s all about You, Jesus.”
We live in a fallen world, and we are all on different paths, some more triumphant, and some more tragic. Yet, God never changes. He is the constant and consistent One. And from His throne, He doesn’t demand… He invites. He invites you into His presence to worship Him — in spirit and truth. He invites you to release the song He has put into your inmost being. It’s not the song others sing… it’s the one He gave you. It’s the song that reflects YOUR adoration and YOUR devotion to Him. It is the song specific to who He made you to be. It’s no better and no worse than the song He gave to anyone else — it is simply, uniquely YOURS.
And guess what? He wants to hear it.
But all of our songs of worship have one thing in common… Jesus.
When we will learn to make worship our first response to all of the circumstances of life, and make it a chorus instead of a competition, I believe we will find the grace, peace, joy, and unity that God intended for us to walk in on this journey.
Now… go find your song. 🙂