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Sunday: Worshiping Our Creator and Redeemer — 22 Comments

  1. Every part of the fabric of your personhood was carefully knit together by God's creative hands. There was no part of you that was hidden from him. There were no accidents, no glitches, no thoughtless moments. Just like David, you too were "fearfully and wonderfully" made.

    The color of your eyes, the shape of your body, your intellectual and physical gifts, your hair, your voice, your personality, the color of your skin, the size of your feet - everything! All of your hardwiring is the result of God's glorious creative ability. The "package" that created you comes from His hand...

  2. What is the deep meaning of worship? What does it mean to worship God? And why do we do it?

    The Hebrew word for worship is shachah. According to Strong's, this is a primative root word that means to prostrate reflexively - that is, to cause to stoop. Worship is a reflexive reaction.

    The best passage I have found that portrays this experience is Ex 34:6-8 against the context of Ex 33:13,18.

    Setting: Ex 33:13. Moses desperately wanted to know God's ways so he could better know God. What does this actually mean? The Amplified Bible accurately adds "[becoming more deeply and intimately acquainted with You, recognizing and understanding Your ways more clearly]". This is not just a cognitive (intellectual) experience - it is deeply experiential with a cognitive component. It is the same experience that David talks about in Ps 42:1 and that Jesus refers to in Matt 5:6.

    Ex 34:6,7. So God slowly passes by Moses as He declares the attributes of His nature and character - His "ways" (Ex 33:13),"glory" (Ex 33:18), "Name" (Ex 34:5).

    And what is Moses reflexive response? Ex 34:8. Moses is 'caused to stoop' meaning he can't help himself. Moses is compelled to bow to the earth - likely meaning falling down to the ground prostrate. This wasn't something Moses thought he should do - it was something he couldn't help himself doing. His whole body and being were unstoppably compelled to do this. Can you imagine this? If not, take a moment to try and do so.

    After you have imagined this, you are now in a position to begin to 'understand' the answers to the questions posed at the beginning of today's lesson.

    Worship is experiential and cognitive - spirit and truth. It was the truth of God's nature and character that Moses beheld - and that truth was so pure and Awesome, that it compelled Moses spirit to surrender his body which resulted in 'reflexive stooping/prostration'.

    Why do we worship? Because when we actually behold God, we can't not.

    If you are a worship leader in your church, or perhaps a leader within your small group, I would invite you to really stop and prayerfully reflect upon this depth of worship.

    And when you have done this, ask God to help you consider and identify how awareness of this depth of worship be opened up to the members of your church or small group? How can you invite them to enter this depth of worship? This will not be a one-off, experience for your members, but what can you do over time to help nurture it's development?

    NOTE: I am NOT advocating for some of the currently popular mystically-based practices that are entering Christianity such as centering prayer and so on that are based upon pure repetition rather than active contemplation and consideration. These mystically-based practices are deceptions. Rather, I am advocating for a return to true deep worship that Moses and David experienced, which is based upon active, intentional consideration and appreciation of God and His nature and character. There is a MASSIVE difference between the two.

  3. Worship in heaven is awe-inspiring.

    Habakkuk 2:20. The lord is in his temple let the earth be silent before him.

    After today's lesson do you see the need to be silent before the lord during the time of worship?

    What can you do to help your children to be silent in the church?

    Some people stay outside the church making unnecessary talk during the church service especially in the afternoons, with the view of how worship is done in heaven,how can you help them?

    Comparing how our Muslim brothers and Christians from other denominations are silent during worship, although being silent does not save anyone, but do you think we should change and avoid unnecessary talk in the sanctuary?

    • My husband and I have visited several churches and all have the same disruption of no reverence in the sanctuary during the service. Back in the 50's and 60's when we were children this was never allowed. We were taught to sit quietly in respect of the service. I think we are doing an injustice to our children not teaching them to reverence the Lord and His sanctuary during the service.

    • It is almost shocking when visiting a Catholic church full of people, and seeing how quiet it is while most of their churches have either hardwood or tile floors, and unpadded pews.
      Too many of our churches, with carpet and padded pews, are too loud for silent meditation. I have witnessed talking/laughing while the minister and elders knelt when coming in to begin the service.

      As a young child, I remember the sanctuary being quiet for worship, with faithful ushers who would kindly remind any who were forgetful with a simple gesture. No one entered without an usher first finding a seat (for how many were needed) when there was no prayer or scripture reading in progress, once the doors were shut and the service had begun at the appointed time(that pastor was very punctual and required it of all taking part).

      Today, common greetings/conversations are not only allowed, but often encouraged within the service time.

      Some 30+ years ago the Lord brought a solemn conviction upon me through 5T, "Behavior in the House of God", which woke me up to realize God's desire for those who would worship Him in the beauty of holiness through faith.

    • I would like to add the suggestion that silence is not necessarily evidence of reverence. I have been in churches where silence has been the rule and have felt that the atmosphere was oppressive. I am not suggesting that we have a free for all atmosphere either. Reverence starts in the heart.

      Here is an illustration. Many years ago, as a teacher, I had a situation where I was unable to teach a class because I had a migraine headache. I set the class a task and put my head down on the teacher's desk and closed my eyes (there was no relief staff available and I just had to put up with it.) The class got quite noisy and every now and then I asked them to keep the noise down. I heard the conversation of a couple of students near me and found that they were animatedly talking about the task that I had set them. I lifted my head from the desk and walked around the classroom to find that every one of the conversations was about the task at hand. The noise was not evidence that the students were misbehaving, but that real learning was occurring at a much greater level than I had imagined. (It did not cure my migraine, but it was one of the turning points in my perception of teaching and learning.)

      Likewise, I have been in churches where the noise has been evidence of participation, not irreverence. A silent church is sometimes just evidence of ... silence.

      • Love your response Maurice Ashton.
        A lot of noise in worship does not distract God, but it can disrupt our thoughts and cause us to become frustrated with the person who came to the house of God. It can cause us to act very aggressive towards the children whom are expressing alegria to be in fellowship in the family of God.
        We really need to pray to God to be more like Him, and not react the way the old man of sin responds.

      • Maurice, I believe that most here realize that singing hymns, prayer, the sermon, scripture reading, etc, are not "noise" in the manner that private conversations, personal greetings and laughing/joking are. Those noises that reflect attention on worldly things and not on being in God's presence are not only distracting to those who wish to worship, but they are an offense to the angels and the Holy Spirit.

        I learned much from reading "Behavior in the House of God" in Testimonies 5, and would highly recommend this to any who desire to understand the meaning of reverence in God's house of worship more perfectly. I believe that the Author of these testimonies for the church is no one less than Jesus Himself through the Holy Spirit. Our need to understand exceeds our ability to comprehend it until we set ourselves to study these messages of Divine instruction. Satan is so clever that we all need Divine aid and guidance to escape the devil's snares.

        I don't understand how a quiet atmosphere in the house of worship would be oppressive to anyone. Could you elaborate on how/why you felt oppressed?

        • Last year I went to a church where that passage in Testimonies volume 5 was read as the sermon. I have to say that it was the most unwelcoming church I have ever been to. There was no warm welcome to visitors, just sideways glances to see if we were behaving. Sabbath School comprised the reading of the 28 Fundamentals. I am not a naturally demonstrative person but even I felt the awful weight of solemn religion that day. I am all for reverence, but I would like to experience the warm welcome of Christian fellowship, not the oppression of silence; a congregation scared spitless that they were doing something wrong in the church.

          • Sad to think that chapter was considered and shared as a public sermon. Someone wanted to "preach" to others, which is why most choose to read the testimonies in public meetings, which is really not the purpose of these testimonies. I'm sure there was specific emphasis, pauses, etc that came with the reading. They always come across as harsh and judgmental. But the same is done with scripture as well.

            Have you read this chapter for yourself? Have you allowed the true essence of these thoughts speak to you personally? Do you believe it is relevant or not? I don't need you to answer to me or anyone, only to yourself.

            I have seen too many abuse the testimonies, using them as a means of manipulating others. They are given of God for a true purpose, but public "preaching" from them is not the purpose. Ellen has been specific about this, but few truly understand this.

    • (Habakkuk 2:20. "The lord is in his temple let the earth be silent before him.") - A very significant point that Cyrus, is bringing across is how we worship and how deeply focused we should be during worship. To a great degree, our respect to God during times of worship has dwindled over the years and Cyrus' observations is true and happening currently.

      However, how silent is silent is really the question. Many times during worship, when I am in meditation even in silence, I find my mind arguing of issues that affect me and soon after, I just ask myself, was that about me or God? I believe during such a moment then if anyone is watching me from the outside, he would believe that I am deep in worship, but in truth, my mind is in a state of noise while my body is in silence. Well! Worship is solely and wholly meant to be about God; our flesh would want a stake in it and argue with you "have you not...". The great controversy happens within us most, and sometimes, we may really not need to compare with others, but try out a self-diagnosis, maybe our thoughts, our troubles, our successes, our pride or our attention seeking stands between our true worship.

      In a good connection with God during worship, Phil puts it very well;

      ("Why do we worship? Because when we actually behold God, we can't not.")....the word here is "actually".

      "With all our heart, with all our soul and with all our mind" is how we should worship God.

    • If Habakkuk 2:20 was actually saying we should be silent during the time of worship, then in order to do so, that verse would be completely standing on its own and apart from the verses that surround it. In other words, it would be out-of-context.

      Habakkuk 2:20 is also cross-referenced to Zeph 1:7 and Zech 2:13. In all 3 instances, the context is God 'rising up in judgement' against idolatry. The context is closer to that of a court-room setting, not a place of worship. I don't know about other countries, but when the judge enters the court, everyone is asked to stand and be silent - because the truth is about to speak for itself. That is what is going on here - the truth about the impotence of idolatry is about to be displayed/revealed.

  4. As you read the psalms and study Revelation, we should introduce reverence in God's sanctuary, just as Moses taught the Israelites. We need to do the same.

  5. It has helped me to stay centered in worship if I think of a figurative worship setting. If we think the pastors and others up front are the ones charged with leading worship and we in the pews are following along it seems easy to criticize the type of experience you are having.

    However, if you think all of us in church are “up front” and God is the audience and we are involved in giving Him praise and honor then it places the responsibility of the worship as much on me as anyone else and makes me question myself if the worship experience is not meeting “my needs”. I just remember I am part of the group praising God and that my active involvement is part of the worship of Him.

    I don’t know if it helps others to use this imagery. It might help us all to take our part of the worship more seriously and participate more actively in mind and spirit, be less critical and perhaps prevent our thoughts from wandering if we concentrated on God physically present in the audience and we are part of the group praising, worshipping Him

  6. Worship is so personal, between you and your Creator, The Creator. It is such a direct link that you don't have room to judge what is going on around you; how another individual is compelled to worship God is between them and the Holy Spirit.

    • I agree with you but add that it is also a shared experience. The link between us and God must also reach our and be shared with one another.

  7. My husband and I have visited several churches and all have the same disruption of no reverence in the sanctuary during the service. Back in the 50's and 60's when we were children this was never allowed. We were taught to sit quietly in respect of the service. I think we are doing an injustice to our children not teaching them to reverence the Lord and His sanctuary during the service.

  8. Okk my problem is that worshipping the Lord means that giving the most high with reverence and adoration, people normally converse and do their own privacy in the presence of God, is it good for such things to be considered?

    • You will find examples of both in the Bible because there is a time and a place for each. It’s not that one is right and the other is wrong. No problem.

  9. Irreverence has always been a notable problem for me. I criticize others for activities that should not be allowed, because it shows disrespect to God, and have to wonder if He does not accept this type worship. By the same token I have been in similar situations, and have also been judgmental,and I still believe reverence should be practiced during our worship service. Often, not easy among friends.


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