"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?
"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 -
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
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
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:
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
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
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?
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
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
"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.