“But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.”
– John 4:23
Worship, a word that inseparable from an apostolic church or the Christian in general. I have have heard about worship most of my life but what is it? Is worship just a mere lifting of the hands or a lifting up of your voice in song? Worship is recorded in the bible over 100 times with eleven different forms of the word. In general, worship means humility, submission or adoration toward God. Worship then is the act of voluntary submission through humility in genuine adoration of the One True God. Its interesting the first use of worship is in Gen 22:5, “And Abraham said unto his young men, Abide ye here with the ass; and I and the lad will go yonder and worship, and come again to you” (KJV).
Abraham, once called Abram, was given a promise way back in Gen 12:2, “And I will make of thee a great nation….” Now God had promised to make Abraham a great nation and yet doesn’t have his first son Ishmael until the age of 86. However, Ishmael was not the promised son because he was born to Abraham’s wife’s handmaiden. It would be another 14 years before Sarah, Abraham’s wife, would give birth to his promised son Issac. But this was not when Abraham worshipped, it would take years later when his promise, Issac, was around 15 years old. Worshipped is used for the first time by Abraham while he is on his way up the mountain to sacrifice his son on an alter in obedience to God. Wait, didn’t God promise to make Abraham’s son a great nation, that out of Issac would be born an entire country? But now God is asking Abraham to sacrifice his promise, what is this? From the very beginning Abraham was obedient and so, on that day, he took his promised son up a mountain to offer him as a sacrifice to God. It’s at this point that Abraham turns and tells the men with him stay here because my son and I are going up the mountain to worship.
It’s here that the real meaning is understood, God was testing Abraham to determine if the promise meant more than the God of the promise. Jesus would say in John 4:23, “But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.” Jesus is looking for an Abraham type worshiper. One whose spirit is in full submission to the will of God, not because of what Jesus will give, but just because he is God Almighty. A voluntary act of submission through humility in true adoration to God in every aspect of our life. Our spirits must be ready to say not my will, but thine will oh God be done. Everything must be done in complete truth; now this can have several different meanings or be translated differently. I believe however that what Jesus is saying is that when you worship in your spirit, when your spirit is voluntarily humbled in everything before him, that it must be entirely and completely genuine. I believe God wants to know if you can worship in the lowest darkest time of your life when nothing is going right, just as much as you worship when your basking in the blessing and favor of God. Worship must come solely from the understanding that no matter what, Jesus deserves it all.
David, I believe, gives another example of what real worship looks like. Psalms 42 is listed as a Psalm for the sons of Korah, but its authorship was more than likely of David. It is believed that he wrote this Psalm in the year of his flight from Jerusalem on the revolt of Absalom. At this time he spent months in the Trans-Jordan territory. The Psalm seems to be one of considerable sorrow, David says his tears have been his meat day and night, while they say unto me where is thy God. David is at a point where he does not know if the promise that was given so long ago will continue. Will he sit as king of Israel ever again, will he be slain at the hand of the men of Absalom? However, in the real Davidic form he ends with Psalms 42:11, “Why art thou cast down, O my soul? And why art thou disquieted within me? Hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.” David understood that no matter the situation God still deserves the praise and the worship because he’s always on the throne.
The Angel of the Lord stopped Abraham before he could sacrifice Issac and David would be restored to his kingship over Israel. However, before either knew the outcome both were willing to worship not the promise given but the God of the promise. It was out of the lineage of Abraham that a man named Jacob would be born who would be called Israel. Jacob would then bear the 12 tribes of Israel, one who was Judah. Through Judah, a shepherd was born who one day be king of Israel, and through his lineage, a baby would be born in a manger. The baby’s name would be called Jesus and it was He who was God manifest in the flesh to become the perfect sacrifice for you and me. So when times look bad, everything is falling apart and tomorrow is uncertain remember worship in spite of the storms. Because in the end, Jesus is still on the throne and he is looking for a true worshipper.