1 Nadab and Abihu were two of Aaron’s sons, but they disobeyed the Lord by burning incense to him on a fire pan, when they were not supposed to. 2 Suddenly the Lord sent fiery flames and burned them to death. 3 Then Moses told Aaron that this was exactly what the Lord had meant when he said: “I demand respect from my priests, and I will be praised by everyone!” Aaron was speechless. (Leviticus 10:1 – 3)
23 Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. 24 God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.” (John 4:23 – 24)
Theme: If not You, then Who?
Today, we begin a 3-day review of the Discipline of Worship. First some brief context to set the scene for our deliberations and conversations. In the Bible, we see examples of worship as personal and corporate acts of adoration (e.g., worship in the temple) as well as a broader lifestyle of adoration (e.g., the Romans 12:1 reference to offering our bodies as a living sacrifice as an act of proper worship). Over the next 3 days, we will be using the broad definition.
Do we focus enough on the adequacy of our worship of God? This question is important because a clear understanding of God’s expectation for worship has important implications for how we carry out His marching orders.
There are many passages in the Bible that speak to the adequacy of worship, or lack thereof. Just recall stories such as Cain and Abel, The Children of Israel and the golden calf, Michal’s mockery of her husband King David, and Ananias and Sapphira. Clearly, thinking about the adequacy of our worship is a necessary pursuit. So, in our passages for today we will look at an Old Testament example of the consequences of inappropriate worship and a New Testament declaration from Jesus of what constitutes appropriate worship.
Please prayerfully read the passages and answer the following question.
How do you practically translate worshipping in the Spirit and in truth into your daily life?
March 8, 2021 at 8:50 am
The Leviticus 10:1-3 passage cited in today’s meditation is very instructive of what worship in spirit and truth is not.
The context of Leviticus 9 provides additional light on the matter. Aaron, the father of Nadab and Abihu, offer acceptable sacrifices in chapter 9 and we are told “He (Aaron) brought the burnt offering and offered it in the prescribed way.” Earlier Moses had indicated to the assembly gathered outside the tent of meeting that when they worshiped in a manner pleasing to God it will lead to the manifestation of God’s glory (Leviticus 9:7). The glory of God manifested after Aaron’s liturgy and the blessing of the people (9:23a). Then the text continues “and the glory of the LORD appeared to all the people. Fire came out from the present of LORD and consumed the burnt offering and the fat portions on the altar. And when all the people saw it, they shouted for joy and fell facedown (Lev. 9:23b – 24).
So in Leviticus 9 “the glory of God” was manifested twice to the people with the phenomenon of divine fire. In constrast, Leviticus 10:1-3 narrates that two of Aaron’s sons offered sacrifices with “unauthorised fire” to God. This seemed to have been a self-centred act, an attempt at a human imitation of acceptable worship of what happened earlier, and perhaps they were intoxicated to some degree (see Lev. 10:8-9). The unacceptable and irreverent worship to these two privileged but disrespectful young men received a strong and uncompromising reprimand from God. Their worship was not in spirit and truth.
That verdict of God on that occasion sends a message to his people regarding any worship that falls in a similar category. God’s judgment thankfully is not always as drastic for our observation, but his attitude and pronouncements are the same.
March 8, 2021 at 9:22 am
Worshiping in the Spirit and in truth in my daily life includes primarily “offering my body as a living sacrifice which is my reasonable act of worship” (Romans 12: 1) but not only that as it also involves the sincerity with which I worship God, the love I show to others, whether they are “of the household of faith” or not, the care, compassion and concern I have for others, again regardless of their religion, social status or other criteria people usually use as a measuring stick to determine whether they should serve others or do good to others. Of course, our good works count even though they do not save us so for me it is imperative that the inherent goodness that we possess, like that of our heavenly Father, manifest itself in our worship hence my seeing this as one of my acts of worshiping in the Spirit and in truth.
The matter of forgiveness is a crucial part of my worship as in fact unforgiveness is a great obstacle to true worship. Even for God to forgive us and accept our prayers, we have to forgive and reconcile, whether we are the offended or the offender. True worship, in my opinion, is intimately seeking God whether alone or with others, recognizing who God is and revering Him for who is, our holy and awesome God!
March 8, 2021 at 9:28 am
Acknowledging God for who He is and attempting to live aligned to that truth on a daily basis is the most practical way I worship daily. On most days I read the scriptures in pursuit to strengthen my relationship of submission. Now lifting my voice in song ushers my heart, mind and soul into moments of worship and sometimes that brings clarity, comfort, hope, conviction, confession and other important means of drawing my eyes up to God.
March 8, 2021 at 9:55 am
The way we dress, speak, deal with trying situations, deal with the people around us, show faith, etc., should all be done in the way God’s Word requires/commands us to. Our behaviors in these circumstances should be how we translate worshipping in our daily lives.
March 8, 2021 at 12:18 pm
I think the ‘dynamic’ (as opposed to literal) Message translation illuminates this particular NT passage very meaningfully, and with practical insight, pretty much how I see it…
“It’s who you are and the way you live that count before God. Your worship must engage your spirit in the pursuit of truth. That’s the kind of people the Father is out looking for: those who are simply and honestly themselves before him in their worship. God is sheer being itself—Spirit. Those who worship him must do it out of their very being, their spirits, their true selves, in adoration.”
John 4:23-24 MSG
March 8, 2021 at 7:02 pm
Worship in spirit and in truth starts with the condition of our hearts. Daily worship begins from the time my eyes opened in the morning I wake up. The first thing in my heart and mind is to acknowledge God for the new day given to me, and commit it in his hands. I have a bible study by zoom on Wednesday mornings, and that is also a part of my worship but with a group as I pray and study together God’s word with other ladies. Just like praying, this is a consistent part of my life. Praying and telling to the Lord every thing that is in my heart is also my form of daily worship. As Maverlin said in her comment today, forgiveness is crucial part of worship. I totally agree with her. If there is bitterness and un forgiveness in your heart, it will be a stumbling block in worshiping God. It is better to tell the Lord every thing you want to say and sometimes it could even be like arguing with God. I’ve been through that. Be very honest with him and ask Him to help you remove the negative feelings/thoughts or any bitterness you may have had. Giving yourself some time to heal your wound is crucial. You would know if God has healed you or if you really have forgiven someone….this should be sincerely true because God can see it and you cannot lie or hide anything from Him. In my experience, reflecting on my sins , asking God for forgiveness is a part of daily worship. This way, you would know what the Lord would want you to do if you’re struggling to forgive, or have any negative feeling that could affect your worship of God. Doing that would lead you to correct the wrong or reconcile with people you have disagreement or conflict…,but I believe this also takes time and always asking God’s perfect timing with His grace and mercy is important. It’s alright to tell the Lord , you’re angry or hurt and ask him to help you remove it. It is wrong to say to God I forgive someone but in reality I haven’t forgiven. Your action would reveal your heart condition. So it is of paramount importance to ask God in prayer to help you especially in your weakest and vulnerable state. It is okay to wait with the Lord and be honest to yourself and to God. Just make sure, obedience is there and you’re not allowing the enemy to ruin or prevent you from worshiping God. Worship also means you have solid relationship with the Lord Jesus and you could talk to Him like he is your friend. Worship means moving forward when you fall down, because God doesn’t want you to get stuck believing that you’re a sinner and cannot worship Him. He wants you to repent and not to lose grip on Him because Worship also means living a victorious life, with the hope and promise of a renewed self, and with great determination to follow Christ no matter what happens. Worship requires a contrite heart and humble spirit.
March 8, 2021 at 10:22 pm
Usually, I try to reflect on why I’m engaging in worship. I ask myself what my motivations are – am I worshipping from a misplaced sense of obligation? Am I worshipping because I want something in return? Or is my worship genuine? Through constantly evaluating, I try to ensure that my worship comes from a place of truth, and not ulterior motives.
March 8, 2021 at 11:15 pm
What great comments from all of you, They enlighten me.
As you may notice I have much to learn from the bible.
The last comment from Natalie got me thinking.
Correct me if I am wrong please.
Is it that you want to make sure you are worshipping God as he deserves to be worshipped ?.
When you say without ulterior motive?
Is it that when you worship it is different than when you are asking God etc?.
Since I never read Leviticus I assume those two young men were mocking God?.