Real Worship

What does real worship look like in the Christian life? We have a wonderful example from King Asa of Judah, the third king after Solomon. Not long after a great and decisive victory over a 1,000,000-man strong Ethiopian army, Asa launches a reform movement in Judah. Read here the words of the prophet Azariah to Asa:

And the Spirit of God came upon Azariah the son of Oded: And he went out to meet Asa, and said unto him, Hear ye me, Asa, and all Judah and Benjamin; The LORD is with you, while ye be with him; and if ye seek him, he will be found of you; but if ye forsake him, he will forsake you. Now for a long season Israel hath been without the true God, and without a teaching priest, and without law. But when they in their trouble did turn unto the LORD God of Israel, and sought him, he was found of them. And in those times there was no peace to him that went out, nor to him that came in, but great vexations were upon all the inhabitants of the countries. And nation was destroyed of nation, and city of city: for God did vex them with all adversity. Be ye strong therefore, and let not your hands be weak: for your work shall be rewarded. (2 Chronicles 15:1-7)

We read some familiar things here: Read more about Real Worship

Remembering to Bless God

We have been studying 1 Samuel in our Sunday night Bible study. In 1 Samuel 1:28, we read of one who “worshiped the LORD.” In the context, this one seems to be the very young Samuel, perhaps as young as three years old.

The text reads (ESV), “ ‘Therefore I have lent him to the Lord. As long as he lives, he is lent to the Lord.’ And he worshiped the Lord there.”

In Genesis 24:26-27, when Abraham’s servant was blessed in his search for a mate for Isaac, we read, “the man bowed his head and worshiped the Lord and said, ‘Blessed be the Lord, the God of my master Abraham, who has not forsaken his steadfast love and his faithfulness toward my master. As for me, the Lord has led me in the way to the house of my master’s kinsmen.’”

There are other similar examples throughout the Old Testament (e.g., Gen. 24:48, Exod. 4:31, Exod. 12:27, 1 Chron. 29:3, Neh. 8:6).

There seemed to be two elements to worshiping the LORD in the above contexts: (1) bowing down, (2) blessing the name of the LORD for some reason. In the case of Abraham’s servant above, the reason is stated: “ ‘who has not forsaken his steadfast love and his faithfulness toward my master…. The Lord has led me in the way to the house of my master’s kinsmen.’” The blessing defines what is meant by “the man…worshiped.” Read more about Remembering to Bless God

Cultural Conservatism, Styles and Accidental Meaning

A river in China features a warning sign for visitors. Thoughtfully, the authorities included this helpful English translation: “Take the child. Fall into water carefully.”

It is possible to intend one meaning and yet convey a very different one! In other words, a medium (vehicle of meaning) may “contain” meaning we do not realize is there. And use of that medium may also send a message we do not realize is being sent.

This phenomenon has important implications for the debate over cultural conservatism (“styles” or “forms” of music, dress, speech, etc.) and the sub-debate over the fitness of styles of music for worship. Many involved in the debate seem to reason that since they do not intend any meaning by the style they are using, and they are not aware of any meaning, therefore no meaning exists and none is being conveyed. Are they right?

The case of Corinth

Before we turn our attention to the implications of accidental cultural meaning, we should pause and consider another question: does the Bible teach that styles have meaning—intended or otherwise? It does, and 1 Corinthians 11 contains an example. In this passage, not only does a medium convey meaning, but the meaning conveyed is not what some of those involved intended. Read more about Cultural Conservatism, Styles and Accidental Meaning