Worship is a total experience- Part 5
In the Old Testament, worship was somewhat impersonal, very ceremonial, as the worshipper related with God based on the stipulated sacrifices and provisions of the law. In the New Testament, worship takes on the same significance as in the Old Testament, except for the absence of rituals and animal sacrifices. In the New Testament, the presence of the Holy Spirit makes worship much more intimate, lively and relational.
When Abraham went to sacrifice his son Isaac, the Bible records that he went to worship God. “And Abraham spoke to his young men, ‘Stay here with the donkey; the lad and I will go yonder and worship, and we will come back to you.’ So, Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac his son; and he took the fire in his hands, and a knife, and the two of them went together” (Gen. 22:5,6).
Abraham had left home with the intention of sacrificing his only son, Isaac to God. On getting to Moriah his son, Isaac asked him a question, “But Isaac spoke to Abraham his father and said, “My father!” And he said, “Here I am, my son.” Then he said, “Look, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?” And Abraham said, “My son, God will provide for Himself the lamb for a burnt offering.”… Then they came to the place of which God had told him. And Abraham built an altar there and placed the wood in order; and he bound Isaac his son and laid him on the altar, upon the wood…And He said, “Do not lay your hand on the lad, or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me” (Gen.22: 7-12).
Abraham’s experience teaches us that worship is hardly complete without our sacrifice. His experience also shows us that miracles happen; when we worship God and that there is supernatural provision at the place of worship.
The life of prophetess Anna sheds more light on the subject of worship, especially in the New Testament. The NIV rendering of Luke 2:36-37, states that Anna spent her whole life in prayer and fasting as an act of worship to God. “There was also a prophet, Anna, the daughter of Penuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old; she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage and then was a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshipped night and day fasting and praying.” It is instructive to note that Anna worshipped God night and day in fasting and prayer. This is one reason why it is said that worship is a lifestyle; it is the totality of our life. Paul’s words in Colossians makes sense as an appropriate definition of true worship, “And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God, the Father through Him” (Col.3: 17).
What the apostles spent their time doing in the New Testament church was nothing less than total lifestyle worship. “They followed a daily discipline of worship in the Temple followed by meals at home, every meal a celebration, exuberant and joyful, as they praised God. People, in general, liked what they saw. Every day their number grew as God added those who were saved” (Acts.2: 46-47 MSG).
Our goal must be to make worship a daily lifestyle and expect miracles as we worship God.
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