Monday, October 28, 2013

THE WORSHIP SERIES (Part 16): The Essence of Worship: DAVID (Bowing Down To God's Ways)

God's way does not always involve His answer to prayers. The reverse is often experienced. What should be our attitude in such circumstances?

In 2 Samuel chapter 12 we have the record of King David's sin in connection with Bathsheba. God sent the prophet Nathan to him with the message that the child would surely die. David had sinned, but he loved his son though the child was the fruit of his sin. He had a father's heart and he pleaded with God for his son's life. But God said, "Because by doing this you have made the enemies of the Lord show utter contempt, the son born to you will die" (verse 14 NIV). But David continued to seek the Lord and he sure knew
how to pray. We see in verse 16 that he fasted and all night long he laid prostrate on the ground before God, but the child died! Anyone who has not learnt how to be subjected to God's way would have charged Him with harshness when his request was not granted. Many Christians have controversies with God when His ways conflict with their ways. Other might rebel or loose heart but not David. When the child died, his servants feared to break the news to him. They reasoned among themselves that if David was almost overwhelmed with anxiety when the child fell sick, his grief would be unbearable if he should learnt of his child death.

What actually happened?
 "Then David got up from the ground. After he had washed, he put on lotions and changed his clothes, he went into the house of the Lord and WORSHIPED. Then he went to his own house, and at his request they served him food and he ate" (2 Samuel 12:20 NIV). 

What is worship? It Is bowing to the ways of God. It is not a dull kind of submission. It is not lapsing into hopelessness or passivity. It is a positive recognition of the sovereignty of God's ways.

It is often necessary for God to vindicate Himself in relation to us. It means that if we sin He has to justify Himself by making it clear to the angels, to the devil, to the world and to all His children that He has no part in our sin. He has to make it plain to the principalities and powers, to the world and to the church that He cannot be involved in our iniquity. When we are found guilty before Him, His governmental hand comes upon us and we are tried in fires of affliction. How do we react at such a time? Worshipers who know His ways will say: "If my affliction can vindicate Thy holiness, then I say, amen! If You can make known Your righteousness by my suffering, then I acknowledge that You do all things well and I gladly accept Your dealings upon me."

May God deliver us from our controversies with Him. When we meet with disappointments and frustrations we shall choose to worship Him if we see His ways.
(Watchman Nee - Twelve Basket Full - Vol 2)

Comment: I believe it was King David's act of true repentance (Psalm 51) and his acceptance of God's vindication (in bowing to His way - in worship) that we see God's blessing upon David's life. Later Solomon was born through the forgiven union of David & Bathsheba where God chose this unimaginable channel through which the Messiah was born as revealed in the Genealogy of Jesus Christ [Just like Rahab the harlot (Joshua 2); and Ruth the Moab's union with Boaz (Matthew 1:5-6)]. 
God is sovereign! His ways are higher that our ways and Hi thoughts are higher than our thoughts (Isaiah 55:9). We bow in worship to God's Sovereign ways and will in our lives!

Monday, October 21, 2013


We all know Job was a righteous man. God in the mystery of His ways permitted him to be deprived of everything he possessed though He Himself declared that "There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shun evil" (Job 1:8 NIV). 

How did Job react to the sudden calamities and disasters that stripped off all of his wealth? " At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship and said: Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised" (Job 1:22-21). Job first's act was to worship God. In Job's case there was no question of God having to vindicate Himself because of sin in his life. It was purely a question of God acting as He deemed well. Though Job in a matter of hours had been stripped of all his possessions, he could instantly fall down and worship God. Here was a man so utterly subjected to God that he could unhesitatingly bow to all of God's ways. Where there is TRUE WORSHIP, there is no complaint. Whatever God's dealings with you maybe, whether they seem reasonable or unreasonable, they are invariably good (Roman 8:28). 

Job's initial response to the first wave of trials was to humble himself and worship. His livelihood (i.e his oxen and donkeys) had been destroyed. His transportation (i.e his camels) had been stolen. His body was covered with boils (his health). And His children (i.e his legacy) had been killed. All of these in one day! And Job's first reaction, after his initial shock and grief, was not anger, not questions, and not apostasy. IT WAS WORSHIP. He violated every psychologist's formula for the stages of grief.
How could Job do such a thing? He knew, deep down in his heart, two essential facts that most of us question from time to time:

Job could WORSHIP because whatever was happening, it was under the SOVEREIGN hand of a really GOOD GOD. He didn't know why bad things were happening, but he knew who watched over him. And despite circumstances, he knew that the One who watched over him is WORTHY!
When lives fall apart, we're inclined to accuse God of not living up to His end of the bargain. Job remembered that he was not in a bargaining position - never had been. All he had received from God was from His mercy. He knew that it was now gone had nothing to do with God's character. That 's why Job could said in verse 21 "Naked I came from my mother's womb,and naked I will depart. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised."

When our trials weigh heavily upon us - even when crisis strikes - we must remember the unchanging, merciful God.


Monday, October 14, 2013


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 Eliezer 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 worshipTo bring glory to the lord is to worship Him and it is our bowing before Him that is true worshipThe 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 recognize 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 demonstrated 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 Abraham  These attitude are foundation to the ESSENCE OF TRUE WORSHIP.

Monday, October 07, 2013


Hannah provides an Old Testament example of someone who manifested complete commitment in her worship. As the first book of Samuel opens, Hannah is carrying a great burden. She is unable to have children. This experience is a painful one for any woman, but it was especially difficult for Jewish women who felt obligated to continue the seed of Abraham. And Hannah faced individual circumstances that aggravated the problem. Her husband Elkanah had another wife, Peninnah, who had children (1 Samuel 1:2).
Peninnah was not a nice person to Hannah. The Scripture record that "her rival also provoked her severely, to make her miserable,  because the Lord has closed her womb ... therefore she wept and did not eat" (1 Samuel 1:6-7).  Yet Elkanah "loved her" (1 Samuel 1:5) and tried to compensate for her barrenness by giving Hannah extra provision.
The story of Hannah illustrates to us how God can bring good out of our difficult circumstances by using those circumstances to draw us into greater dependence on Him. Our greater commitment to God, in turn, leads us to more TRUE WORSHIP.

The way Hannah dealt with her problem illustrates the fact that she learned humility and commitment. Her "heart grieved" (1 Samuel 1:8) or, as we would say today, her heart was broken. Hannah was not merely a woman who was angry at her circumstances. Literally, the Hebrew word speaks of a heart that trembles out of uncertainty or fear. When Scripture says that Hannah "was in bitterness of soul" (1 Samuel 1:10), it means that she was in pained because of her heavy burdens. What did Hannah do? In the pain of her broken heart she vowed a vow to God.
"Then she made a vow and said,'O Lord of hosts, if You will indeed look on the affliction of Your maidservant and remember me, and not forget Your maidservant, but will give Your maidservant a male child, then I will give him to the Lord all the days of his life ...' " (1 Samuel 1:11).
Hannah willingly committed what she did not yet have to God's service. Put yourself in Hannah's situation. What if God did grant her request, as she fully believed He could? She was agreeing up front to surrender the very thing she requested and wanted so badly! No selfish person would be willing to make such a vow! Only through an unselfish heart can we, like Hannah, truly display God-honoring humility. If our worship and requests are not rooted in humility, they will be rooted in selfishness.
By her unselfish request, Hannah demonstrated her humble submission to God. This demonstration was reinforced by her subsequent actions. "And she said, 'Let your maidservant find favour in your sight.' So the woman went her way, and ate, and her face was no longer sad" (1 Samuel 1:18). Her vow was not impulsive, frenzied outburst that left Hannah emotionally drained, wondering what she had promised God in the heat of the moment. Hannah was satisfied to make her commitment and trust God. This point is critical. Although her circumstances had not changed, she was satisfied to let God handle the matter as He saw fit. The next day, with a confident spirit, she and Elkanah "rose early in the morning and worshiped before the Lord" (1 Samuel 1:9).
Like Hannah, we too can offer God TRUE WORSHIP when we lay everything at His feet and are satisfied to let Him do with it what He wants.

The Scriptures recorded that Elkanah and Hanah worshiped at the tabernacle before returning home from the annual sacrifice. They came into the presence of God, in the manner He prescribed for them, and they bowed in humble commitment. In this case, God granted Hannah's request and personally intervened in her circumstances. Upon return home, "Elkanah knew Hannah his wife; and the Lord remembered her" (1 Samuel 1:9). Hannah conceived and bored a son, and called his name Samuel, saying' Because I have asked him from the Lord.' " (1 Samuel 1:20).

As soon as the child was weaned she brought him to the temple in Shiloh and presented him there with these words: "For this child I prayed, and the Lord has granted me my petition which I asked of Him. Therefore I also have lent him to the Lord; as long as he lives he shall be lent to the Lord." So they worshiped the Lord there." (1 Samuel 1:27-28). 
Let us note two phrases here: "The Lord has granted me ... I lent him to the Lord." The Lord gave her the child and she gave the child back to the Lord. The sum total of her request was for this child and when she had received all she had craved for, she gave ALL back to the Giver!
Hannah's offering can be truly written that she "WORSHIPED THE LORD." It is not the person who wants God's grace, but the person who wants God Himself, who can worship Him wholeheartedly! Hannah shows us what was supremely precious to her ... not the answer to prayer, not the grace given but God's way with her in the giving of His gift. God gave Samuel to her and she gave Samuel back to God; and as Samuel passed out of her hands into God's hands, WORSHIP emerged from her heart to God's heart.