God initiated it! Shabbat Shalom: It’s Worship Time!
God initiated the Sabbath and He also initiated worship!
Sabbath is for rest and it’s also for worship. And worship takes place wherever, whenever and how-ever like while:
- Watching the sun go down, but not before it colors the clouds an autumn orange and the river a golden glimmering tint.
- Standing on the bank of the river transfixed, in awe of all creation bustling around me.
- Hearing geese honking, hissing and cackling as they waddle up and down the shore, till they fly off to their resting place for the night. Or,
- Seeing a father and son skipping stones on the river; and a small child running around his mom as the cutest little Pomeranian chases him, tugging excitedly against the restraint of his leash.
In these moments while I’m standing by the river experiencing life around me by observing laughter, familial chatter and play, and expressions of love it all directs my heart to God. In essence, God revealed Himself—and I worshipped.
The word “worship” itself is not in the Bible but there’s evidence of worship from Genesis through to Revelation. How do we know this? By knowing how worship is defined and seeking reference to that definition in the Bible.
Worship comes from two Old English words: weorth, which means “worth,” and scipe or ship, which means something like shape or quality such as the -ship in friendship that denotes the quality of being a friend. Worth-ship then is the quality of having worth or of being worthy.
On the banks of the river as I ascribed and attributed all that I observed to God and in saying/in knowing that God is worthy—in that moment, I worshipped. Or as the Bible puts it—I praised God.
I didn’t speak. I didn’t lift my hands. I didn’t bow, prostrate myself or even close my eyes for there is a worship that expresses the heart.
There is also a worship that involves the mind. And a worship that involves the body. There is a worship that is giving praise upward. And a worship that is receiving instructions from above. And there a worship that carries out instructions in the world around us. And above all, God initiates it!
So, God initiates worship and He does this by first revealing Himself.
Let’s think about it. God is beyond our scope of understanding. So how can we know His worth much less declare it, unless He reveals Himself to us?!
It’s when I see God revealed in His awe-inspiring-make-everything-from-nothing GREATNESS, His all-might-almighty-to-save POWER, His don’t-want-anything-in-return-kind-o’ LOVE, His flawless-perfect CHARACTER—then, and only then do I begin to understand His worthiness.
This stands to reason then that the better I know what God declares about Himself is the better that I can declare His worth and the better I can truly worship.
Worship is therefore my response to God’s initiation in revealing Himself and I declare Him worthy—I worship—with and from my entire being—my heart, my mind, my soul, my strength—and with and in sincerity.
This is how Jesus explains it. He says:
In essence, what was Jesus was saying? The most essential attribute of worship is sincerity. The externals do not matter if the heart isn’t right. If our attitude is wrong then we can sing the right songs, quote the right scriptures, even hold our hands in just the right way but it would mean nothing to God. For if our heart isn’t in it, it isn’t really worship.
And so God reveals Himself first—for He always takes the first step—He’s the initiator-God. Then He goes seeking to find worshippers—those who respond to His revelation of Himself by declaring His worthiness.
There is so much to say about worship than just one post won’t do. So join me next week as we dive more into the wherever, whenever and how-ever of worship.
Shabbat Shalom. May you find the joy in knowing the God who ceaselessly reveals Himself to you, and may your response to His initiation of revelation be one of worship.
Thank you for journeying along.