True worshippers, that’s who the Father seeks, according to Jesus.
So, does that mean the ones with good voices, or musical talent, or the most ‘spiritual,’ whatever that means? Is He seeking those who know good songs to sing to Him?
And does that mean worship is reserved for church on Sunday morning (after all, it is called a ‘worship service) when we gather to sing for 30 or 40 minutes? Of course, the more spiritual among us might do it privately during the week too, but surely the Father doesn’t expect that of all of us?
Well, actually, I don’t think true worship has much to do with singing at all, whether on Sunday morning or at any other time. That might come as a relief to many of us.
That’s not to say that singing is never a part of worship; just that singing doesn’t define worship.
In fact, biblically, worship has much more to do with humbling yourself before someone (or sadly, something) as an act of acknowledging their worth and superiority.
The English word ‘worship’ comes from the Old English ‘worth-ship,’ meaning ‘to ascribe worth or value to someone or something.’
There are several Hebrew and Greek words in the Bible that are translated ‘worship’ all mean essentially ‘to bow down or prostrate oneself before another in adoration or homage; to lower oneself in humble submission with an attitude of utmost adoration or respect.’
The first time it comes up is Gen 22:5. Read it for yourself and think about whether you think Abraham would be singing while He worships.
The first time singing is associated with worship is the tragic event recorded in Exo 32:15-35, where the people are singing and dancing while worshiping the golden calf that Aaron made.
It’s not until the time of David that singing is specifically associated with the House of the Lord, and there it is a team of singers appointed to sing day and night while the people worshipped.
And just what exactly was the devil expecting from Jesus when he asked the Lord to bow down and worship him? That Jesus would break out in song? No, he wanted Jesus to bow down before him and acknowledge the devil’s superiority – forever!
There seems to be remarkably little singing being done as part of worship in the Bible.
Rather, worship – true worship – seems to be an attitude of heart that results in physical acts that acknowledge the superiority of God; bowing down in reverence and obedience to His word.
That’s why Paul could ask us to “present (our) bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is (our) spiritual worship” [see Rom 12:1].
This means that we can worship without words, without song, without even necessarily feeling great emotion. It means we can worship at work, while visiting friends, when out shopping, at home with our families, when being generous to strangers.
It means we can worship when we humble ourselves before our great and mighty and wise God, in any and every circumstance. Just ask Job; he knows. Check out Job chapter 1.
It means we worship when we take seriously the command to not neglect meeting together with the saints at church every week. It means we worship when we take the preached word of God seriously, and look for ways to respond to it.
It means we worship when we encourage each other and pray for each other.
And yes, it means we worship when we lift up our voices together to sing songs of praise and exaltation of our God.
Finally, it means worship can be a way of life, not just a half hour on Sunday morning.
Will you be the sort of worshipper the Father seeks?