2 Samuel 6:12-23; I Chronicles 15-16; Psalm 15
What is worship? That’s been a hot topic for the last 30+ years since the “contemporary” movement burst on the scene. If you’ve been with me very long, you know my take on that, and honestly, I’ve sat here for quite a while trying to look for something else to talk about today. But God isn’t letting this one go.
The example of worship here in 2 Samuel and I Chronicles is that of a rocking worship service. However, remember, so is I Chronicles 13 and 2 Samuel 6, and God was not pleased with that one. It’s an example of disobedient worship that looks an awfully lot like worship that God accepts. So what’s the difference?
First, I don’t believe it has anything to do with what songs were being sung. I say that because both accounts tell us they were celebrating with song, singing joyful songs. The truth is, as I see it, hymns can be as worshipful as praise songs.
Second, I don’t think it has anything to do with the musical instruments being played. Both examples tell us the worshipers played lyres and harps. I believe an organ can be as worshipful as a bass guitar.
The worship looked very much alike in these two accounts. So, again, what was the difference?
I think a huge difference between these worship services is obedience. It wasn’t the worship production. It was the heart of the people. It wasn’t how they looked while worshiping, it was their obedience to God that made the difference.
The other thing I see as a difference between the two examples of worship here in the Old Testament, and maybe the most important difference, is found in I Chronicles 16:43. After his time of worship, David went home to bless his family. He didn’t bask in the euphoria of a worship experience, then walk away unaffected. He took his experience and put it to work.
Dear one, if you are going to church on Sunday mornings for a worship experience, stay home. Go to a movie to be entertained. Worship does not end at the last “Amen.”
If you aren’t involved every day in some kind of ministry, in some kind of witnessing, and in living a Christ-like life on Monday, why are you worshiping? Do you think God needs your words, or is edified by your soaring emotions once a week?
The purpose of our church services is not to make us feel good, but to edify us, strengthen us, and equip us to go home and bless our families, our neighbors, our co-workers, the uttermost parts of the world.
I hope you worshiped God yesterday with a fellowship of believers. I hope your emotions were touched. But I pray that you learned something about God, that you were encouraged in your faith, that you were challenged and changed.
Now, get out there and bless someone.