Saturday, May 28, 2011


In Exodus chapter 4 we read about the story of the Israelites in bondage in the Land of Egypt. When God sent Moses and Aaron to tell the children of Israel that He had seen their affliction and was about to deliver them from the bondage of the Egyptians, "the people believed; and when they heard that the LORD had visited the children of Israel and that He had looked on their affliction, then they bowed their heads and worshiped." (Exodus 4:31 NKJV)
How did the children of Israel arrive at a faith that resulted in true worship? How were they able to overcome four centuries of slavery and yet they did believe?

"Now it happened in the process of time that the king of Egypt died. Then the children of Israel groaned because of the bondage, and they cried out; and their cry came up to God because of the bondage. So God heard their groaning, and God remembered His covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. And God looked upon the children of Israel, and God acknowledged them." (Exodus 2:23-25 NKJV)

The Egyptian Pharaoh was cruel and forced the Hebrews to be in a bondage so painful that it caused them to groan. The cruelties they suffered:
- the king set taskmasters to afflict them with their burdens (Exodus 1:10)
- they went through hard labor to build for Pharaoh supplies cities, Pithom and Rameses (Exodus 1:11)
- their male infants were almost wiped out by Pharaoh's (Exodus 1: 1:16-17, 22)
But God was FAITHFUL, He heard their groaning and remembered His covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

"Then Moses and Aaron went and gathered together all the elders of the children of Israel. And Aaron spoke all the words which the LORD had spoken to Moses. Then he did the signs in the sight of the people. So the people believed; and when they heard that the LORD had visited the children of Israel and that He had looked on their affliction, then they bowed their heads and worshiped." (Exodus 4:29-31 NKJV)

Moses and Aaron showed up among the Hebrews  bearing a message from God. Aaron spoke all the words which the Lord had spoken to Moses. Then, in the sight of the people, Aaron performed signs that manifested God's power. Because of the people's condition, God's signs of power were necessary in order to arrest their attention. But it was the message that God has visited them that caused them to worship. What does it mean that God had "visited" them? God's visitation, then and now, is His literal coming alongside a person in spiritual need. The children of Israel recognized their great need. In an elementary way they understood God's presence and appreciated it.
Interestingly, the text records that God had already visited the people. They became aware of His visitation by His Words, in this case His Words to Moses as relayed by Aaron through the elders. The people heard the message, observed the signs confirming it, and believed what the heard. 
The account in Exodus states that God's visitation occurred because He "remembered" His covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Does the word "remembered" indicate the God had forgotten His promise, and that it suddenly occurred to Him that He had not been taking care of His part of that promise? Of course not! The word "remember" is a human term. God cannot forget, so He does not need to remember. Sometimes the Bible says that God chooses not to "remember" our forgiven sins, meaning that He chooses not to bring up those past offenses. In the case of the Exodus, the Lord "remembered" His covenant in the sense that He saw it was time to enact this part of His will. The end result was that the people believed and worshiped!

Do you see the people of God worshiping Him for His FAITHFULNESS? But the situation recorded here is very different from the story of Eliezer in our last post. No change had actually taken place in the condition of God's people when they bowed their heads in worship. They had only been assured that God had seen their affliction and was going to deliver them. They were told by Moses and Aaron that God had not forgotten them those four hundred thirty years and it was this assurance that provoked worship.

We are often unable to worship God because in our trials we think He has forgotten us. We are cast down because of prolonged domestic difficulties; but whose domestic difficulties have lasted four hundred thirty years? We have been sick and have long hoped for healing; we have been out of employment for months and still cannot find a job; the same old harrassing circumstances remain. So we come to the conclusion that God has not taken note of all our trials and has left us to our own resources. How can we worship Him? Our lips are silenced.

But a day comes when we see God and understand His FAITHFULNESS, and immediately we know that He has never forgotten us. In that day our silenced lips are opened and with bowed head we acknowledge that all that we have gone through has been working for our good. (Romans 8:28) We see God's grace in everything and we worship Him for His FAITHFULNESS!

It is an easy thing to worship God in a mass gathering because there is no cost attached. What if one day, our circumstances are against us? Can we still give thanks and offer sacrifice of praise and worship?
God is still seeking for worshipers who dare to worship Him in all His ways upon their lives. We must come to a point where all our entire future hinges on the matter of our worshipful acceptance of all His dealings with us. We must come to a stage where we worship Him for everthing it pleases Him to give and for everything it pleases Him to take away.

The Essence of True Worship, then, flows from a trusting heart, a heart that understands God's faithfulness to His promise.

Saturday, May 21, 2011


In Genesis chapter 24 we read the story of Eliezer, Abraham's servant, who was given the responsibility to find a wife for His master's son, Issac. By this time, Abraham was about one hundred and forty years old. And though God had promised to make of his descendants a great nation, Abraham was becoming concerned. His son was now forty-two years old and had no wife or children. Abraham did indeed have faith in God's promise. But because he and Isaac lived among the Canaanites, Abraham was concerned that his son not take a wife from that pagan people. He realized that God's promised seed could not be pure if it came through a Canaanite woman, and so Abraham had to arrange for a wife to be brought from his own kindred back in Mesopotamia. (Genesis 24:2-4)

Abraham was then living Canaan and to reach Mesopotamia involved crossing two rivers and a stretch of desert in between. The journey was nearly five hundred miles through solitary country with no roads or transportation services. It was a difficult task for Eliezer to travel to a distance strange land and to persuade a young woman to accept this offer of marriage.
But would Eliezer agree? As the chief servant in Abraham's household, Eliezer was next in line to be his master's heir if Isaac were to die without children. Even if Elizer did agree outwardly, it could have been easy for him to fail in his task intentionally. However, praise the Lord that he was a righteous man who had always obeyed his master's will. Still, in agreeing to the journey he needed Abraham to clarify his instructions. Eliezer expressed his concerns to Abraham:

"Perhaps the woman will not be willing to follow me to this land. Must I take your son back to the land from which you came?" But Abraham said to him, "Beware that you do not take my son back there. The Lord God ...swore to me, saying, 'To your descendants I give this land,' He will send His angel before you ..." (Genesis 24:5-9)

The whole matter of Isaac's getting a bride and producing seed resolved around God's promise: He would give the land to Abraham's seed. The same truth applies today. All details of our lives as Christians must resolve around God's promises. We cannot leave the place where God wants us to be and still expect those promises to be fulfilled. These thing being true, as worshipers, we must make the daily decisions of our lives based on God's instructions and promised (OBEDIENCE).

But Eliezer was looking to God. He prayed, "O Lord, God of my master Abraham, give me success today, and show kindness to my master Abraham. See I am standing beside this spring, and the daughter of the town people are coming out to draw water. May it be that when I say to a girl, 'Please let down your jar that I may have a drink,' and she says,'Drink, and I will water your camels too' - let her be the one you have chosen for your servant Isaac. By this I will know that you have shown kindness to my master." (Genesis 24:12-14).
Notice also that in his prayer Eliezer considered God first, then his master Abraham whom he represented, and only then did he express his own petition.

Abraham's servant had not even finish praying when Rebekah arrived at the well, and in detail all his requests were transpired (imagine the time taken and amount of water needed to feed ten camels). But what if the girl was not of Abraham's family? So Eliezer asked about her connections. As soon as he was assured that Rebekah was a relative of Abraham, he "Bowed his head and worshiped the Lord." (Genesis 24:26)
Do you see the ways of God? if you request Him to do certain thing and begin to trust Him, and then things fall out as you asked, you will adore Him for His ways with you. What does it means to worship the ways of God? It is to render all glory to Him. When you are faced with some difficulty and He carried you through, do you just rejoice in the prosperity of your way? It was not with Eliezer, He did not even stop to talk to Rebekah, he straightaway worshiped. He did not feel embarrassed but instantly bowed his head and blessed the Lord.

There is a connection between glory and worship. To bring glory to the lord is to worship Him and it is our bowing before Him that is true worship. The proud in heart cannot worship Him because they will find it difficult to bow to Him. When their way is prosperous they attribute it to their own ability or to chance; they do not give glory to the Lord. To be a true worshiper is to offer without reservation all the thanksgiving, praise and worship to Him for everything we meet. At every turn Abraham's servant did so. When he went with Rebekah to her home and explained his mission and found Laban and Bethuel willing to let Rebekah go at once, again his instantaneous and spontaneous reaction was to adore the ways of God. "He bowed himself down to the ground before the Lord." (Genesis 24:52)

As worshipers, we must not only learn to recognise His works, but we must learn to acknowledge the way He works. Apart from from worshiping Him for Who He is, we must learn to worship the ways of His working in our lives. If our hearts are set to be worshipers of God, He will give us more and more opportunity to worship Him. God will orders all our affairs so that we may bring Him the worship that He desires. At times He will make our way so prosperous that we have to acknowledge it is He alone Who did it, and all the glory goes to Him.

The humility that Eliezer had demostrated in his prayers to God was manifested in his worship. And his response was simply to bow his head and prayerfully give God glory. And He did not rejoice first for his own sake; rather he rejoiced first in God's favor for Ahraham. These attitude are foundational to the ESSENCE OF TRUE WORSHIP.

Sunday, May 15, 2011


Nearly every fast food restaurant today has a "Value Meal".
These menus contain items that do not cost much, with a wide selection of choices for every taste. Although it's nutritional content may be limited, the menu is designed for people who feel hungry but do not want but do not want to spend much time or money on food. Spiritually, are we "Value Meal Christian"? We feel hungry, but in a hurry to get somewhere else, choose only quick bite of so called worship that does not cost much. As a result  of our choice, we often become spiritually weak and under nourished.
What can we do? We need to derive our patterns and practices of worship - all of them - from teaching and examples in God's Word. We must compile the examples and the plain instruction of Scripture and then determine the most reverent way to express our love, thanksgiving, and devotion to God. When our worship is based on the fact of God's Word, then we have a foundation to stand upon even when our feelings fluctuate.

The first recorded example of worship in the Bible is that od Abel and Cain. the second that of Noah.
In Genesis 8:20 we read that Noah walked out of the ark, built an altar, and worshiped God. Why? The Bible does not give a specific reason for Noah's action. But common sense dictates that Noah's immediate circumstances instilled the fear of God in him. He had just survived the greatest cataclysm in the history of mankind. He had been through an amazing sequence of events that left an indelible image of God's power stamped on his mind. Many years earlier, God had revealed to this man His will about the flood of destruction, the ark, and the salvation of his family. He spent much of his life building a structure that made no sense to him or to his incredulour neighbours. But obeyed God's Word as the writer of Hebrews recorded that:
"By faith Noah, being divinely warned of things not yet seen, moved with godly fear, prepared an ark for the saving of his household, by which he condemned the world and became heir of righteousness which is according to faith." (Hebrews 11:7)

This man of faith must have marveled when it came time to load up the ark. Where did the animals come from? How did they know that they should come to the ark? How did they know where the ark was? apparently, God brought the animals to Noah. Then over the next few months Noah witnessed with his five senses the absolute destruction of all life forms from the entire earth. It was phenominal! Mind-boggling!
Noah was right to fear God in response to this display of power. Yet Noah had respected God even before God had fully demostrated His power. From the onset, Noah had done all that God commanded Him (Genesis 7:5), even though men must have have ridiculed and resisted him. While the scoffers jeered, Noah trusted God. Noah completed God's will because he feared God instead of man. As a result of his fear of God, he saw the mass destruction that befell his accusers and he experienced God's hand of deliverance. What did Noah see when he walked out of the ark? How did Noah feel? It is no wonder that he feared God.

Noah worshiped God because he feared God. The Genesis story indicates that the first thing Noah did when he walked out of the ark was to build an altar to the Lord. But noticed that there is no indication that God commanded Noah to build an altar and make a sacrifice.
"So Noah went out, and ... built an altar to the LORD, and took of every clean animal and of every clean bird, and offered burnt offerings on the altar." (Gensis 8:18-20)

Why was building an altar Noah's first act upon leaving the ark? Was he following a religious tradition that he believed was expected of him? No, the most reasonable explanantion is that Noah, having been delivered from certain destruction, was motivated to worship God by a sincere desire. This explanation is especially probable in light of "clean" animal and every kind of "clean" bird. That statement is an interesting one. Not until hundreds of years later, in the time of Moses, did God incorporate into Israel's sacrificial system a distinction between clean and unclean animals.
Remembering that Noah took on to the ark two of each kind of unclean animal, but seven of each clean animal. It seems likely that the term "clean animals" is a reference  to thoses animals that could be domesticated herds. Therefore, when God commanded Noah to take extra number of clean animals, it seems He was preparing to sustain Noah's family with those animals after the flood.  The next chapter, of the Bible contains God's command that allowed the eating of animals for the first time. So although the clean animals played a vital role in the sustaining of his family, Noah gladly sacrificed them in the process of worshiping God.
His example stands in stark contrast to the practice of our own day, when so many Christians prefer worship of convenience, worship that meets their needs but demand nothing from them. It is at this point that "Value-Meal Christianity" may be at odds with the example of Noah. 
Noah worshiped out of a HEART that feared the awesome power of God and was thankful for deliverance from destruction. Then he demostrated his attitude through worship in which he sacrificed something of himself. Are we doing the same in our own worship?  ,
The fact that God was satisfied with Noah's sacrifice unfolds a picture of His grace. The account of Noah's sacrifice states that it pleases God, for "the Lord smelled a soothing aroma" (Genesis 8:21). It speaks of the whole person of Noah that was involved in worship. God saw the evidience of Noah's HEART of OBEDIENCE all through his experience with the ark.  He saw Noah's fear. He heard Noah's prayers. And God was pleased. He accepted this expression of worship.
That wonderful grace of God must undergrid our worship. If Noah had not experienced God's grace, he would not have been able to give Him true worship. Noah's life and practice teach us a very important truth. When we attempt to live for God, to serve and worship Him, without applying His grace to our lives, our efforts result in worship that is not pleasing to God.

Saturday, May 07, 2011


A good place to begin the study of TRUE WORSHIP is with the first example of worship found in the Bible, the story of Cain and Abel. In this account we learn that these two sons of Adam and Eve were different, not only in age and occupation, but also in character.
Abel was a submissive shepherd (Genesis 4). This fact in itself, however, did not give him any natural advantage with God over his brother. Abel did not please God more simply because he was a keeper of sheep and Cain was a tiller of the soil. Yet shepherding was Abel's chosen profession, a choice that was based probably on a desire and ability to work with animals. It seems likely that Abel was quite satisfied that shepherding placed him in God's will.

What was obvious from Genesis 4 is that Abel understood God's requirements regarding sacrifices and offerings. "And the Lord respected Abel and his offerings" (Genesis 4:4). When it was time to bring an offering to God, it appears there was no argument from him - he was submissive to God's will and purposes.

In contrast to Abel, Cain was a farmer. When it came to pleasing God, Cain was not at a disadvantage simply because of his occupation. Farmer was then, as it is now, good and honest work. The prophet Amos was a farmer too - God certainly did not condemn Cain for his line of work. The Bible does not say why God rejected Cain's sacrifice.

Indeed it seems reasonable to assume that Cain was equal to Abel in his knowledge of God's requirement for offerings and sacrifices. But instead of submitting to God's parameters regarding his offerings, Cain chose to do his own thing in his own way. How do we know this? We read in Matthew 23:34-35 that Jesus in His discussion with the Pharisees declares that Abel was righteous and equal in status to one of the prophets - that meant that Abel had received God's Words and lived as a godly example before his brother Cain. Hebrews 11:4 states, "By faith Abel offered to God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained witness that he was righteous." This is an affirmation that Abel exercised faith in what he knew about God, and that he did so not only in daily life but specifically when it came time to express worship fulfilling God's requirement. Whereas Cain worshiped the way he did because he had a HEART that was predisposed to oppose God. How do we know this? Jude writes, condeming rebellious teachers, "Woe to them! For they have gone in the way of Cain." (Jude 11). Cain did not hesitate to do something religious, but his HEART was far removed from God.

"And in the process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought an offering of the fruit of the ground to the Lord. Abel also brought of the first born of his flock and of their fat. And the Lord respected Abel and his offering but He did not respectCain and his offering. And Cain was very angry and his countenance fell." (Genesis 4:3-4)

Even though their outward offerings of worship seemed very similar, Cain and Abel offered different expressions of worship - because their HEARTS were different. Of course, it was to be expected that the outward expressions of their worship would be similar, since both men were aware of God's requirements:
1) Both Men brought their offerings to God at a set time
- Here the Hebrew words translated "in the process of time" literally mean "at the end of time." What was that end? Maybe it referred to a thanksgiving offering that God prescribed at the end of the year or at the end of harvest in order to call man's attention to God's goodness. Maybe the phrase points to the end of the week, a Sabbath that commemorated God's day of rest after six days of creation.
2) Both also engaged in worship in the same place
- The words "brought ... an offering unto the Lord" probably indicate a specified location.
3) Both Cain and Abel were engaged in acts of worship
-  The simple action action of presenting an offering implies bowing down before the mighty God to express submission or obedience. At least outwardly, Cain and Abel appeared to be doing the same thing. Yet beyond the apparent similarities, Cain and Abel were actually quite different in their expression of worship.
The disctinction is an important one, and it applies to everything we see in the world of religion today. Not all expressions of worship are truly worship. Abel's worship proved that he had a HEART of submission to the Lord: he understood God's Words and trusted them, and he acknowledged God's authority to prescribe worship. He also expressed his submission by giving God the BEST he had to offer. "Abel also brought of the FIRSTBORN of his flock and their fat." (Genesis 4:4) - these terms always indicate a sacrifice of the BEST!
By contrast, Cain's worship was empty and self-centred. He knew God's requirements and he did what God required him to do - but no more. "Cain brought an offering of fruit of the ground to the Lord ... but [the Lord] did not respect Cain and his offering." (Genesis 4:3, 5). Fruit was an acceptable offering (i.e Mosaic law includes grain offering), but notice the glaring omission - the text does not say that Cain, as compared to Abel, offered his first or his BEST. Therefore we cannot say that Cain's offering of grain was inherently less acceptable than Abel's blood offering.


What was the difference? Cain and Abel worshiped at the same time, at the same place, and through the same outward actions. But God "had respect" for Abel's expression of worship; the phrase means that He regarded it favorably and accepted it kindly. In other words God was predisposed toward the kind of worship Abel offered.
However, God "did not respect" Cain's expression of worship. Why not? What was wrong with Cain's worship?
Cain proved by his response to God's disapproval that his HEART was not right before God. When God disapproved of his worship style, "Cain was very angry, and his countenance fell" (Genesis 4:5). He did not ask for forgiveness or accept correction. Instead, he took his anger out on his brother, whose righteousness highlighted his own unrighteousness. That attitude characterized Cain's HEART, and it became obvious in his worship.
Cain became angry, and then he compounded his problems by refusing to do well. "If you do well, will you not be accepted?" the Lord asked; "and if you do not do well, sin lies at the door" (Genesis 4:7). When God rebukes us, as He did Cain, for failing to have a RIGHT HEART in worship, we still have the opportunity to do good. God challenged Cain to that end, but Cain was not interested.. Instead of dealing with the sin expressed itself in false worship, he refused to acknowledge his error. That refusal led him into a downward spiral until he committed the ultimate sin of the flesh - murder.
(an extract from True Worship by David Whitcomb & Mark Ward)

In conclusion, THE ESSENCE OF TRUE WORSHIP - is expressed by those who have RIGHTEOUS HEART - those who are intimately acquainted with and has a daily relationship with God exhibited through OBEDIENCE