Have you ever tried to cry? I remember as a little girl, a friend and I challenged each other to see who could cry first. The plan was to think sad thoughts and squeeze out a few tears. Only little girls would think of such a challenge, right? Little boys test each other’s skill to run and jump. But girls…we cry. No doubt, I cried first and won the Miss Dramatic Award. It’s a gift—and a curse. I still cry at the drop of a hat. In fact, I cry almost every Sunday during our worship service. The music and the lyrics sweep me into the presence of my God, and I’m awed by His wonder. ~ Nothing brings me to tears more quickly than this song:
But when I have a million other things on my mind, tears—and worship—don’t come easy. I sit down in my recliner, open my Bible, and start reading. Yep, that’s good. Ooooh, yes, I can use that in a devotional. Uh-huh, that speaks to this problem. Ah, I never knew that was in there. And I’m done. Bible closed, eyes shut, prayer list begins:
- Thanksgiving first, of course. I don’t want to appear selfish.
- Then my requests for family and friends, and…
Before you know it my mind has wandered to the day’s tasks or someone else’s woes, and my prayer time has ended without an “Amen.” Sound familiar? Or perhaps you live a slightly amended version. Here’s the question that stopped me dead in my tracks during this morning’s quiet time:
Where’s my daily worship?
Working Up Worship
Now, I’ve tried to “work up” worship—sort of like working up tears when I was a little girl. I tried to think worshipful thoughts and squeeze out a few praises. It worked. Sort of. I can read a Psalm or recite a few tired phrases. But the Creator of the heavens and earth, the Almighty and Eternal God, deserves more than worked up worship. He deserves a torrent of praise that wells up from my toes and comes gushing uncontrollably from my lips! He deserves facedown, hands up, voice raised honor and glory from a wholly committed heart.
That kind of REAL worship comes only after an encounter with the REAL God. I’ve been reading in Exodus for almost two years, and it’s been a privilege to watch the Children of Israel become acquainted with their God. Before the Exodus, God had revealed Himself to a very few individuals—Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Sarah, Hagar, Miriam. But when Moses returned to Egypt after his encounter with Yahweh at the burning bush, he announced something spectacular to the fledgling nation of Israel that sent them into responsive WORSHIP:
“And when [the Israelites] heard that the Lord was concerned about them and had seen their misery, they bowed down and worshiped.” Exodus 4:31 (emphasis added)
The idea that Yahweh was concerned about them drove the Israelites to worship. They didn’t need to “work it up,” did they? After declaring His care for Israel, Yahweh sent nine plagues on Egypt to convince Pharaoh to let His children go. Just before the tenth plague, Yahweh spoke through Moses again, describing how He would further distinguish Israel as His own and show His protection over them.
“‘It is the Passover sacrifice to the Lord, who passed over the houses of the Israelites in Egypt and spared our homes when he struck down the Egyptians.’” Then the people bowed down and worshiped.” Exodus 12:27 (emphasis added)
Again, worship as a spontaneous response to God’s gracious love and work on His children’s behalf. Amazing.
Worship a Person
Israel didn’t have the benefit of knowing God as the Son of Man. They worshiped God as a Being, an unseen Entity, but our Heavenly Father gave us His Son that we would have a Person to worship. Jesus—in who dwelt all the fullness of the Father.
“The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word.” Hebrews 1:3
The Bible is packed full of stories describing God’s faithfulness, miracles, and promises. So when I read my Bible today, I read about a Person. I prayed—as I always do—but then I lingered in His presence, meditating and listening. I didn’t cry, but I worshiped. I spent time with Jesus today during my quiet time. I didn’t just “do my devotions.” There’s an infinite difference—a majestic difference. I worshiped Him today. Why don’t I do this every day?
- REAL worship comes only after an encounter with the REAL God.
- The Creator of the heavens and earth deserves more than worked up worship.
- God deserves facedown, hands up, voice raised honor and glory from a wholly committed heart.
- There is a majestic difference between meeting with Jesus and “doing your devotions.”
- What creates a “heart of worship” in you?