This is a post that I wrote for my old blog. It was published a little over three years ago (February 28, 2012). Enjoy…
I recently wrote a paper for an Old Testament assignment about the nature of worship in Genesis and Exodus. As I wrote about what it means to worship, I had this verse from Psalm 96 ringing in my ears: “Ascribe to the Lord the honor due his name, bring offerings and come into his courts with praise.” This is the verse that many faithful Anglicans and Episcopalians hear read before the tithe offering is taken up by the ushers. This verse locates our financial offerings within the realm of worship. What else should we locate in the realm of worship?
To worship is to assign worth. In and through worship we assign worth to God. Before trekking up to the summit, Abraham told his servants to stay behind while he and the boy “went to worship.” Abraham gave worth to God when he walked up Mt. Moriah with Isaac and raised the knife to sacrifice the son of promise.
The act of faithful obedience to God on behalf of Abraham was an act of worship.
When Moses saw the burning bush that was on fire but not consumed, he went to take a closer look. God spoke to Moses and told him to take his shoes off because the place that he was standing was holy ground. Moses agreed to the request of God, and in taking off his shoes he demonstrated that God was worthy of such action.
Israel was to be released from Pharaoh’s oppression to the liberation of YHWH for a purpose: to worship in the desert. God’s intention was to form the Israelites as the people of promise through the right and proper worship of God their Redeemer. The songs of Moses and Miriam in Exodus 15 are good examples of sung worship while Moses’ 40-day retreat atop Mt. Sinai exemplifies continual worship. Israel demonstrated that God was worthy of their praise, that the LORD was worth their worship.
Paul tells us in Romans 12 to offer our very selves as a living sacrifice. Our entire being is to be an offering before the Lord. Why? Because it is our spiritual act of worship! I can worship with my wallet in the same and significant way that I worship with my songs and service. I can worship God by responding to His call.
We are to worship through faithful obedience. No matter the cost. No matter the call.
I love what Bonhoeffer says about discipleship. He says that the significance is not in the call or in the one being called but rather in the one who is calling. Jesus simply says, “Follow me.” We do not know where that will take us, or how we will get there, but we answer because the one calling is the Faithful Israelite. May we ascribe to the Lord the honor due his name with our wallets, our words, our wills and our lives.
Worship is the life we are called to live before the one who makes that life possible.