O 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.
An essential fact about true worship: Biblical worship is on God's terms, not ours. Psalm 95, in calling us to worship, says nothing about our rights. Instead, it summarily calls us to bow down, to kneel before this One whose creatures we are - the sheep of His pasture. And make no mistake, the call to bowing and and kneeling refers to more than mere bodily posture. It focuses the surrender of our will and way to Him. It means that we are granting supreme authority to God; that in worship and in life we are giving up our will in favour of His. It notes a foundational fact about true worship: Once I choose the living God as my God, I give up the right to worship in my own way. In the very act of naming God "GOD," you and I are granting to Him alone the right to prescribe how He wishes to be worshipped.
For example, in Genisis 22, when God told Abraham to go to the land of Moriah to worship, we're introduced to God's ways in appointing the "worship program" for those He plans to grow up in faith's ways. Abraham had no occasion to say, "Sure, God! I will worship You - but how about in my own way, OK?" Rather, when Abraham heard God tell him that he was to worship by offering his son Isaac on an altar of sacrifice, he knew that he had to choose between his way and God's way.
What a shock to have heard God's appointed worship plan! Offer Isaac?! Not only did this act apparently go against God's revealed displeasure with pagan practices of human sacrifice, but God had actually given Isaac as a special gift to Abraham and Sarah after they were past the normal age of childbearing. And now, to demand Isaac's life? Outlandish though it seems, Abraham was ready to obey, and he told his servants something very significant: "I and the lad will go yonder and worship" (Genesis 22:5, KJV, emphasis added)
Of course, today we know the story's end: God provided another sacrifice - a ram caught in the thicket - and spared Isaac's life. Yet the New Testament says that Abraham really "offered" Isaac, because faith's living worship was found in his obedience and willingness (see Hebrews 11:17). He demostrated the basic meaning of worship: totally giving over our human will to the will of God.
As we begin the New Year, we are wise to expect to be shaped in understanding and practice as we answer God's call to worship. We'll find it not only a priviledge but also a challenge. Be aware and be prepared: To grow in praise and worship is to discover new dimensions of saying to God, Not My Will But Thine Be Done.
An extract from - The Heart Of Praise by Jack Hayford
Blessed New Year 2008!