In the scriptural context, worship is more than a song or a solemn act of singing and raising of hands to God. The first time the term “worship” was used in scripture, no song was sung, no keyboard or musical instrument was available neither was there a choir or orchestra, but a man with a dogged and resolute heart to obey and do the will of God (Gen 22:1-5).
According to the law of the first mention in a theological context, a word usually has its root in the very first context in which it was used in scripture. And in interpreting the word, one cannot afford to dissociate or divorce its meaning from the first time it is used or mentioned in scriptures. For instance, in Gen 1:26 when the eternal Godhead met in the creation story, they said:
“Let us make man in our image, after our likeness, and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and overall the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth”.
As indicated in the account above that after God made man in His image and likeness, HE clearly stated to man that the jurisdiction of his (man) dominion was “ATMOSPHERIC” (Aquatic, atmospheric, and terrestrial). So, in warfare, man is only safe when he engages with the forces of darkness within his jurisdiction which is atmospheric. He is not permitted to engage with evil forces in the heavenly or celestial beings as that is the business of angelic beings when a man engages in intercession. This is because only a being of heaven can open the windows of heaven and only a being of heaven can bind the prince of nations as archangels Gabriel and Michael wrestled with the Princes of Persia and Grecia (Dan 10:10-13, 20-21).
In the same vein, the word ” worship ” just like the example above was first used in the context of Abraham sacrificing his son Isaac (which he received as a promise from God after 25 years of waiting). It is crucial to note that Gen 22:5-6 reveals that the materials Abraham took along to worship God acceptably were wood, Isaac (the sacrifice), fire and knife. This is so far removed from what we call worship in the modern-day church.
Note: The highest form of worship to God is in OBEDIENCE and SACRIFICE.
Let us just imagine for a second what was going on in Abraham’s mind. What will he tell his wife Sarah after he has sacrificed their son? How will he tie his son and put him on the altar when they reach the top of Mount Moriah? How will he kill the sacrifice?
One might say this all happened in the old testament but there is no new testament example to support this. In Rom 12:1-2, we see the Apostle Paul beseeching and pleading with the believers in Rome by the “mercies of God to present their bodies as a living sacrifice “. The question is how can something be a sacrifice and still be living? The idea Paul was presenting was that they were to pay the ultimate sacrifice by laying their lives on the altar for Christ and go through the process of death, but the difference with the old testament example is that whereas in the old testament a sacrificed lamb is killed on the altar and loses consciousness, in the new testament we are to experience the process of death on the altar and be aware that were actually dying to their will, love, ambitions, desires, plans etc.
It is pertinent to note, the latter part of Rom 12:1 says that they were not just to present their bodies on the altar but they were to be holy (separated from every contamination and pollution) in an acceptable way to God ‘which is their ‘’reasonable sacrifice’’. The word holy as used in this context is the word “consecration” or “set apart” as this was their reasonable act of service or worship as used in other bible translations.
So, in God’s economy, we become reasonable Christians when we begin to live in consecration unto God. Furthermore, Paul’s enjoins them to not be conformed to this world (enter in the mould set by the world through their standards) but to be ‘’transformed’’ – which is so different from the word transformed used in 2 Cor 11:13-14 .
The word “transformed” as used in 2 Cor 11:13-14, is the Greek word “metamorphoo” where the English word “metamorphosis” was derived. Metamorpho means a change from outside as seen in the cockroaches which experience an incomplete metamorphosis (egg, nymph, and adult). The word transformed as used by Paul in Rom 12:2 is the Greek word “metaschématizó” which means a total change from inside out”. Only God and a genuine encounter with Christ through the cross can bring about this kind of total transformation of the human heart which will definitely will be reflected on the outside in total transformation of the human conduct and character.
In conclusion, Jesus summarizes true worship in the word “love”, and God sees true love as reflected in ” obedience” and “sacrifice” (John 3:16, John 14:15, 21, 23-24; 1 Sam 24:18-25).
1. What has your worship of God cost you?
2. What have you died to in your worship of God?
3. How has your so-called worship of God reflected in your obedience to His revealed word?
God bless you!!!