ESSENTIAL #3: Worship

About The Band
Skillet Timeline
Skillet E-Mails
Skillet News
Music Videos
Song Meanings
Skillet Bible Studies
Alien Youth Encounter
Pre-Skillet Bands
Skillet Sizzle Banners
Contact Me

"Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength" (Deuteronomy 6:5).

What words come to mind when you think of worship? Some words might be: passion, zeal, and abandonment. When you are in love with someone, it consumes your thoughts and actions. It encompasses all of who you are - emotions, mind, heart, and soul. In the same way, the essence of worship is simply loving God. He is a person with whom you can have a love relationship. In fact, one of the characteristics of the alien youth is one who is consumed with a passion and a desire to know and love God more each day. His presence is real and alive; once you taste it, you will not be satisfied with anything but Him.

Do you relate to God like you do to one of your best friends, or do you find that your relationship with Him is duty-oriented and cold?
Do you look forward to your time alone with Jesus because He experientially touches your life?

Romans 12:1:
"Therefore, I urge you brothers, in view of God's ___________, to offer your bodies as living _____________, holy and pleasing to God - this is your spiritual act of ___________."

Worship always begins with God. Romans 12:1 puts it this way - in view of God's mercy. He has chosen us and opened our eyes to His truth and love. Worship is our response to His initiative.

When studying this scripture, it helps to get a feel for the historical context in which Paul spoke. When he brought forward this teaching, thoughts of animal sacrifices would have immediately come to mind - more specifically the burnt offering. Therefore, turn to Leviticus 1 to examine this in more detail.

Read Leviticus 1:1-9
How does this passage relate to worship?
Verse 6: Skinned & cut into pieces - totally vulnerable and open - beyond naked.
Verse 8-9: Every part separated, examined, washed.
Verse 9: Consumed by fire, becoming an aroma pleasing to the Lord.

Such is the intense response of the life of a worshipper:

"Every part of me, every thought, every action is laid bare before you, Lord. I'm taking off my skin, cutting myself up into pieces, examining myself bit-by-bit, cleaning each part and offering it to you. All my talents and abilities, all my weaknesses, all the special parts of me and all the parts I don't want anyone else to see - It's all yours Lord. Use my life. Change me."

His response: "I will consume you and cause your life to be a pleasing aroma to me."

Worshippers are thirsty for Him, hungry for His presence, and long for Him. They want Him to consume every part of them until His life is reflected in theirs.

David is a great example of what a worshipper is. He cultivated the life of a worshipper. He fellowshipped with God every day and through this fellowship understood who God was. We see this intimacy and knowledge of God reflected in all of his actions

In this section we will answer the following questions:
 Why did God call David, "a man after His own heart"?
 What made David the greatest worshipper that we read about?

Most of us know that Saul was the first king of Israel, whom David replaced. Let us compare and contrast their lives and reactions to God in order to clarify what a true worshipper is.

Saul was anointed king and had known the power of God in his life (1 Samuel 10:10). Scripture says that he looked the part, "…an impressive young man without equal among the Israelites - a head taller than any of the others" (1 Sam 9:2).

His first major disobedience as king can be found in 1 Samuel 13:7-14. Here Saul waits seven days for Samuel, his troops quaking with fear. Samuel does not arrive soon enough for Saul, so he decides to take things into his own hands. We can be like this as well, taking things into our own hands because of fear and pressure, instead of trusting God with everything. Even if Saul would have lost all of his men, God still could have provided victory (remember Gideon)! Unfortunately for Saul, he disobeyed the command of the Lord, and God gave his kingdom to "a man after his own heart" (1 Sam 13:14).

Now let us move ahead to 1 Samuel 15. In this chapter, Saul was instructed to destroy everything, but instead he kept all the best things. Why? His initial excuse was that he kept the best "in order to sacrifice them to the Lord (our) God at Gilgal" (1 Sam. 15:21). This does not seem so bad. It is easy to mask our sin by burying it under religious practice: "I'm not going to change or repent, but I go to church every Sunday and raise my hands, etc." God's response to this is obvious: "…Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the voice of the Lord? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams. For rebellion is like the sin of divination, and arrogance like the evil of idolatry…" (1 Sam 15:22-23). However, in verse 24, we see his heart motivation: "…I was afraid of the people and so I gave in to them…"

"Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe" (Proverbs 29:25).

Part of worshipping God with purity is to understand that no secrets can be kept from Him. He sees and knows everything (omniscience), including your every thought, action, and motivation. You stand completely vulnerable and exposed before Him, even if you do not want to. Saul tried to please the people but still kept the pretense of serving God. The problem here is you cannot be a man-pleaser and a God-pleaser. In your heart you have to make a choice; to be a true worshipper means to choose to be a God-pleaser and to fear Him alone.

Have you ever done something or not done something because you were worried about what others would think or say about you?

One of Saul's biggest problems was his fear of man. We saw it when he was first anointed king; we saw it in 1 Samuel 13, and again in 1 Samuel 15. He wanted to keep up the appearance of doing right while he was also compromised in his heart. His primary motivation was not to please God and obey His every command. He did not trust in the Lord for the victories. He trusted more in what he saw, in his own strength, and in the ability of his people.

The Heart of a Worshipper:
Now, let us take a look at David, who we have already seen in 1 Samuel 13:14 was, "…a man after His (God's) own heart…" Therefore, we know that prior to David coming on the scene, he sought to please God. He worshipped God. He daily cultivated his relationship and love for God. He did not suddenly become amazing for the Lord. He had cultivated this relationship and love for God while tending his father's sheep. He just did his chores, seeking and finding God in all that he did. He did not go to Bible College and suddenly transform into an amazing leader. He served where he was, honoring his father. By doing this he proved his love and fear for the Lord. He did not look for promotion or position; He looked for God.

Do we occasionally make distinctions between "normal" Christians and "ministers?"
Does God want all Christians to know and worship Him, or is it only for the full-time paid ministers?

After Saul's rejection by God as king, Samuel is sent out to anoint another. God sends him to Jesse in Bethlehem to anoint one of his sons. He goes to the family and the first brother he sees looks the part of the king. Samuel thinks that he must be the one but God speaks a very clear message to him. "Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart" (1 Samuel 16:7). Then we see Samuel anointing the youngest son, David. From that day on, the Spirit of the Lord came upon him in power (1 Samuel 16:13).

Side Note: The first thing David did after he was anointed was to play the harp before Saul. As David played, an evil spirit would leave Saul. Everyone knows that there is a strong connection between worship and music. Our goal here is not to touch on the musical side of worship, because the essential quality of worship is heart motivation. However, it is impossible to dismiss the power and eternal qualities of music when used as a vehicle to worship God. In this passage, we note that David was a skilled musician, and also an anointed musician. Skills are not enough to see the presence of God come and change lives. We need the anointing of the Holy Spirit. That should always be the goal and end of all of our musical endeavors.

Now let us read a story that most of us are familiar with. Break up into groups and read 1 Samuel 17. Answer the following questions:

01. How tall was Goliath?
02. What was the challenge to Israel?
03. Who should have gone to fight? Why?
04. What was Saul's reaction to this challenge? Why?
05. How long had this challenge been going on?
06. What was the army of Israel doing in verse 20? Do you think this is ironic considering everyone was too afraid to actually fight? (Verse 24).
07. When David heard Goliath's challenge, what was his reaction?
08. How was this different than Saul's reaction?
09. Many times, when serving the purposes of God, opposition comes from the most unlikely of sources. Where did David's initial opposition and discouragement come from? Should our confidence in God be swayed, even from those closest to us?
10. Was he afraid?
11. What was the outcome of the battle?
12. Do you have any "Goliath's" in your life (areas where fear holds you back from being all that God has called you to be)? How can this be changed in your life?

01. He was over nine feet tall.
02. One on one combat determined the victory - Goliath versus one Israelite challenger.
03. Saul. He was the king appointed by God who promised victory over enemies
04. He was dismayed and terrified. Again, Saul was looking at the outward appearances (his own physical strength and ability) and not trusting the God of all power.
05. Forty days - every morning and evening.
06. The army was going to battle positions, shouting the war cry!
07. Philistine was a disgrace. They were uncircumcised (not of the covenant people of God), defying the armies of the living God. He did not see him as an undefeatable enemy; he saw him as one who stood in the way of God's purposes for His people. He knew God would take care of him.
08. Saul looked at the size of the man; David looked at the greatness of God.
09. His oldest brother, Eliab, who had seen him anointed by God. Our confidence in God should never be swayed, even when those closest to us question our motives and actions.
10. No. He had killed a lion and a bear, but his confidence was not in his experiences, it was in God, who delivered him.
11. David killed Goliath with a sling and a stone. He then cut off his head.

The Act of a Worshipper:
Worship involves outward acts and expressions. They should not be negated because the heart motivation may be wrong. However, the outward action should be an inward expression, which longs to submit to God. The Bible lays out clear guidelines for outward expressions of worship. Let us look at one example.

In 2 Samuel 6:12-23, the ark of the Lord has been returned to Israel. In the Old Testament, the ark was the sign of the tangible presence and dwelling of God with man. As it is returned to Israel, David worshipped, dancing before the Lord with all of his might. He stripped himself of His kingly robes - of that which distinguished him and brought him honor among men - and worshipped the Lord in humility. Once again, we see a strange reaction to David by those closest to him. His own wife despised him in her heart and made fun of him to his face. She misunderstood him and questioned his motives, just as his brother had before he fought Goliath. Again, David is not shaken and responds: "…I will celebrate before the Lord. I will become even more undignified than this, and I will be humiliated in my own eyes…" (2 Samuel 6:21b-22a).

It is amazing to know that we can actually enter the presence of God every day, and that the presence of God is with us and inhabits us every day. The mark of the people of God should be the presence of God, and this relationship is cultivated greatly through our worship times. We do not have to carry around the ark of God anymore because the tangible presence of God is now in us and with us. We can enter the very presence of God boldly and without shame. The place where the priest could enter only once a year is open for all of us, all of the time.

"God wills that we should push on into His presence and live our whole life there" (Tozer, The Pursuit of God).

We do not understand what we have or where our victory lies, because if we did, we would press on through our laziness and complacency into the very presence of the living God where we can be molded and changed into His likeness and image. Don't you want your life to be so inhabited with His presence that it overflows into all of the lives around you? Moses, like David, knew that the victory and blessing did not lie within his grasp. Instead he prayed, "…If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here. How will anyone know that you are pleased with me and with your people unless you go with us? What else will distinguish me and your people from all the other people on the face of the earth?" (Exodus 33:15-16).

Read 2 Samuel 6:23. It is interesting to note what happens to David's wife. This is a definite warning for us to be wary of making judgments on how people worship. We want our walks with God to be fruitful.

In conclusion, the essence of worship is a life completely laid down before the Lord. It is not simply about the outward actions, although with the right heart motivation, they are vitally important. However, the foundation of our motivation must be the fear of the Lord and a trust solely in Him. This is what David understood and cultivated daily. In contrast, Saul's biggest motivation was the fear of man and a trust solely in his own strength. We must begin and continue to press in to the presence of God, where we find fulfillment and the power to change. The vehicle to His presence is our worship; so let us continually offer ourselves before Him holding nothing back. Let us learn to lavish our love upon Him, and press in until we taste His greatness.

"The world is perishing for lack of the knowledge of God and the Church is famishing for want of His presence. The instant cure of most of our religious ills would be to enter the Presence in spiritual experience, to become suddenly aware that we are in God and God in us" (Tozer, Pursuit of God).

Pray that God draws you deeper into His presence. Pray he reveals Himself more to you. Be determined to find Him, for those who seek Him will find Him.