Worship is a Heart Issue
I have watched people struggle with worshipping in church most of my life. I have struggled with it. We don’t like the music. We don’t like the message. We don’t like the preacher. We don’t like someone who is there. We blame the situation that we are in for the lack of worship on our part. We blame the people we are with for our lack of worship.
We do not see that our lack of worship is a failure of humility on our part, a failure of trusting God with where he has put us.
Job, the oldest book in the Bible, addresses this issue of worship. God allowed Satan to touch all that Job held dear. It was not a friendly touch. Once Job lost his children, his wealth, his health, and even the support of his wife, he worshipped.
Job 1:20 says, “then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshipped.” Verse 21 goes on to say, “Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.” Verse 22. “In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly.”
This might just be the best definition of worship in the Bible. I am going to break this down into its parts.
1. “Job arose”. He was not passive about what was going on in his life. He made an effort to go forward. I have watched people pout, withdraw, and worse. They are doing the opposite of “arose”. They are not participating.
2. “He rent his mantle”. That is “he tore his coat.” He did not pretend the situation God allowed him to be put in was easy or pain free. There is no worship without grieving what is lost. Worship always involves a loss of self before God. It must be acknowledged.
3. “Shaved his head.” This is public humiliation of self. It is public declaration of loss. It is public demonstration of pain, even of dying. There is no such thing as “private worship”. There is always an audience.
4. “Fell down upon the ground”. This may have been deliberate or it may have been that he could not stand up. It was too much for him. Both are part of worship. Both have to be there for true worship.
- If it is deliberate, it is to choose to humble himself (prostrate) before God. It is a demonstration of the truth that for him, God was God, in charge, and not he himself
- If he had no strength to stand before God, he is in good company. All through the Bible men have no strength to stand before God. Daniel 10:10, 11, 15-18 or Revelation 22:8 And true worship involves letting God put you back on your feet, letting God put strength in you. It is his strength, not yours. No worship can find strength in the flesh.
5. Verse 21. Job “says”. What you say is an important part of worship. There are many things you might say that would not be worship at all. Isaiah 6, where Isaiah is “undone” (at least symbolically not able to stand), the angel puts strength in him. The same is true in Daniel 10. Both of them worship with “right” words.
6. For Job, those right words are, “naked came I out of the womb, and naked shall I return.” That is, all that I have is from God and he can take it away. I DESERVE nothing. Those capitals are deliberate. You can not worship and think you deserve anything.
7. Job also says, “The LORD gave, the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.” There can be no pride of accomplishment in worship. There can be no tightly grasping that which God gives. Corrie Ten Boom said, “Don’t hold anything to tightly.” Those are words of worship. When Job said, “blessed be the name of the LORD”, he is saying that God is worthy of worship whether He gives to us or takes away from us. Worship is to put God first, to give him the glory, honor, and praise.
8. Verse 22. Job does not sin in his terrible circumstances. For those who think that Job was self-righteous and that God was addressing his self-righteousness by letting Satan have a shot at him; this statement should silence that thought. Self-righteousness is a sin, and Job did not sin in the worst of circumstances. (The book of Job certainly admits to Job being a sinner that sins, but God never charges him with sin. In fact, God calls him righteous, not self-righteous. And in Job 42:7, after all the trouble is over for Job, God says that Job had spoken that which was right of God.)
True worship is a place where we stop sinning. (at least at that moment) We need to think about this at the moments when we think we are worshipping.
9. Job did not “charge God foolishly.” True worship does not charge God with wrong doing in what we are experiencing. True worship puts the blame for the struggle on ourselves.
When you go to church, to work, or at play, or at home… wherever you are, learn to worship God. Learn to make God look good by your response to the situation. Learn all 9 of these parts of true worship.