Responding to God in Worship
(taken from the teaching given by Warren Van Kampen at the Tehillum School of Worship in Karachi, Pakistan; November 2017)
Worship seems to be built into the character of mankind. We were created to worship something or someone. That’s the reason there are idols, Buddhas, and shrines of all kinds around our world. People need something or someone to worship.
So maybe the question is not if we will worship, but what or whom are we worshipping? It is only when there is a revelation of the one true God that we see and understand to whom all our worship should be directed.
Paul addressed this to the intellectual elite after surveying all the altars to gods in Athens, even noting one labeled, “To the Unknown God”. They didn’t want to leave anyone out! Then he said God’s plan was for mankind was for them to seek God, to “reach out for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; for in Him we live and move and have our being.” (from Acts 17:27-28). Paul was telling his audience, in essence, to look at the one and only God and then their worship would be true worship as a response to His greatness and glory.
This, in fact, is a pattern that emerges as one begins to study worship in the Bible. That pattern is, first, a revelation of God, followed by a response of worship. We see it when God met Moses at the burning bush, when He revealed Himself to Joshua before the crossing of the Jordan, when He appeared to Daniel, Ezekiel, Isaiah, and John in visions. We also see the pattern in some of the psalms such as this one:
Revelation: The Lord reigns,
Response: Let the nations tremble;
Revelation: He sits enthroned between the cherubim,
Response: Let the earth shake.
Revelation: Great is the Lord in Zion. He is exalted over all the nations.
Response: Let them praise your great and awesome name – he is holy.” (Psalm 99:1-3)
It seems, then, that the appropriate way to worship is to look first at the One we are to worship. Scripture-based songs can help us do that as well as Bible verses or passages about God. Another approach is to meditate on the life, teachings, and actions of Jesus, as we know He is the ultimate revelation of the Father. Seeing and appreciating creation, too, can bring us to acknowledge the greatness and glory of God.
When we look at Him and really see who He is, worship is sure to follow!