Worship: A Reality Check
When we worship we die to our self and give everything to a living God. Worship costs us something.
In 2 Samuel 24 David is doing a census. Pretty ordinary, right?
But God had forbidden the kings to count the number of people available to fight in their army. You see, a census is a measurement of power. It’s just logical. If you have a lot of warriors and your enemy only has a few, you have a better chance of winning.
There’s a problem with that? (It all seems to make so much sense!) God asked his people to put their whole trust in him. Even though God had proven himself time and time again, the Israelites consistently turned their backs on trusting God and put their trust in human power.
David’s sin had huge ramifications. God punished Israel. 70,000 people died in three days.
But the story has a great ending. David, referred to as a man after God’s own heart, finally gets it. He goes up to the farmer, Araunah, and asks him to sell him his threshing floor and oxen so he can make a sacrifice to the Lord. Araunah offers his property free of charge but David insists on paying for it. He replies, “No, I insist on paying you for it. I will not sacrifice to the Lord my God burnt offerings that cost me nothing.” (2 Samuel 24:24)
Worship costs us something. It involves a giving up of my rights and desires so that I might meet God’s desire to be worshipped.
It’s not just an Old Testament principle. Listen to what Jesus tells his disciples in Luke 9:62: “No one who puts his hand to the plough and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.”
Worship is sacrifice. God will ask a different sacrifice of each of his children. For some a sacrifice of worship may be using their body in worship through lifted hands or bended knees in obedience to what God is requiring of them – in spite of what others are doing. For some the sacrifice may be that they need to give up some of their personal free time in order to serve the needs of a neighbour who is going through a difficulty. For others the sacrifice might be to reject a great job offer to which God seems to be saying “No.”
Worship is giving our lives to God and our fellow believers, seeking first his kingdom, fixing our eyes on the author and perfecter of our faith (1 John 3:16; Matthew 6:33; Hebrews 12:2). If we continue to look back, we lose our focus on who God is and what he is doing. When we are distracted by those things that don’t point us to the object of our faith, we are not true worshippers.
But more than that, Jesus says we are not even fit for the kingdom of God.
Those are tough words! But God never said that following him would be easy – why would we expect that becoming better worshippers would be easy?
There are many things that distract us from worshipping God – family, work, gathering possessions, growing a business, entertainment, church – we each have our list. Ultimately, our true worship of God costs us more than our gifts and talents. True worship costs us our lives.
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