Worship is one thing: Ministry to the Lord. This is the most crucial aspect of understanding worship because the whole point is to connect with the Spirit of God! Worship is the way to make that happen. However, even people of genuine, godly faith misunderstand the purpose of worship and then wonder why they are not seeing all the “blessings and promises” attached to worship unfold in their lives. Internalize this into your spirit so that it’s not a point of memory, but a spiritual instinct: Worship is ministry to the Lord. Nothing else. Don’t confuse the “perks” of worship with the purpose. The “perks” are all the blessings and promises God has laid out- healing, restoration, miracles, answered prayer etc. Those are not things to be sought in worship. They are not a valid reason to worship. God will do His part. You just need to take time to minister to Him and He’ll take care of the rest.
There are 4 main principles (generally speaking in a nutshell kind of way for a blog-style devotional!) that comprise how worship comes together. (If you want a deeper exploration of this, grab a copy of the book, The Way of the Worshipper!)
The purpose of the priesthood in the Bible was the minister to the Lord. That isn’t just the job of the pastor and the worship team! Every believer is called to minister to the Lord and, very specifically, worship is how we do that.
Thanksgiving – In Psalm 50:12-14 & 23 the Lord said, “If I were hungry, I would not tell you; for the world is Mine, and all its fullness. Will I eat the flesh of bulls, or drink the blood of goats? Sacrifice a thank offering to God.. Whoever sacrifices a thank offering glorifies Me and makes a way…” Leviticus 22:29 says, “When you sacrifice a sacrifice of thanksgiving to the LORD, you shall sacrifice it so that you may be accepted.” Psalm 100:4 says, “Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise; be thankful to Him, and bless His name.” I could go on and on and on! However, the Bible is clear: The point of origin for worship is gratitude. God wants you to minister to Him from a thankful heart. In the Bible, God makes this an option because He knows a grateful heart will respond with gratitude.
Obedience – We don’t question God. That’s a basic tenant of faith. If we have truly given Him control, then when He asks for something, we do it without excuses, arguments or questions. Jesus worshipped when things were great, as shown in Luke 10:21 when He “jumped for joy” in the Holy Spirit, and when things were bad, as in Matthew 26:30 before heading to the Garden of Gethsemane for His betrayal to the cross. Romans 12:1 puts it this way in the New Living Translation: “I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all He has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind He will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship Him.” Worship is optional, not a command. Worship is also, however, a sign of an obedient heart, the kind that wants to do it, without being asked. Jesus was obedient to the point of death, according to Philippians 2:8. He did not have to take the cross. God asked and He obeyed.
Sacrifice – Psalm 116:12,17 says, “What shall I render unto the Lord for all His benefits toward me? I will offer to You the sacrifice of thanksgiving and will call upon the name of the Lord.” Psalm 118:27, says, “The Lord is God, and He has shown us His light; bind the sacrifice with cords, even unto the horns of the altar.” The thing about sacrifice is this: Nothing wants to die! That’s why animals kick, and bleat and writhe to get away. And knowing that, the Word says to “bind the sacrifice” to the altar. You require it of yourself. You drag yourself kicking and screaming (well, dancing and singing!) if necessary before the Lord and minister to Him. The sacrifice of praise is a hard one to give when you least feel like it- raising your hands, singing, clapping, dancing- Worship will feel physically and emotionally difficult at times, but you do it anyway because it is an honor to God. And He will not your for that sacrifice in return. (1 Samuel 2:30) In 2 Sam 24:24 David said, “I would never give the Lord anything that didn’t cost me.” Boom.
Ministry – Four times in Exodus 28 when the Lord is laying out the perimeters for the priestly garments the sons of Aaron would wear (they were the people chosen to initiate the priestly line of God’s people) He says this phrase, “Minister to Me.” The garments the Lord gave Aaron were for beauty and for glory. Revelation 1:16 and 5:10 note that the people of God are all made to be kings and priests. In 1 Peter 2:9 Peter wrote that God’s people were chosen to be a royal priesthood. The purpose of the priesthood in the Bible was the minister to the Lord. That isn’t just the job of the pastor and the worship team! Every believer is called to minister to the Lord and, very specifically, worship is how we do that. <3