Wow! My daughter Joanna married the love of her life, Patrick, this past Saturday. What a great day it was and what a blessing to see my daughter begin the amazing adventure of love, marriage, and all the blessings of a new household for the testimony of life! I am a blessed man and we are a blessed family! Life is good and God makes it good!
Today I am going to continue again on the topic of worship in a culture of honor. God doesn’t command us to worship because He needs us to worship Him. When He commanded men to worship Him He was identifying a key element in a culture of honor. We need to worship Him. We need to recognize who He is. We also need to recognize who we are. He is the one who gives us salvation, but we are expressions of Him. He loves us, so that we can love Him. We worship Him! Worship of God is a core value in a culture of honor.
Paul said in Acts chapter 17 that God is not worshipped in temples made of stone. He’s not worshipped with things that are carved by the hands of man. God does not need anything from anyone, but He is the one who gives life, He gives breath, and He gives all things. Paul said that even their own Greek poets had said that God is the father of all flesh. In Him we live and move and have our being.
Acts 17: 24 God, who made the world and everything in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands. 25 Nor is He worshiped with men’s hands, as though He needed anything, since He gives to all life, breath, and all things. 26 And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their reappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings, 27 so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; 28 for in Him we live and move and have our being, as also some of your own poets have said, ‘For we are also His offspring.’ 29 Therefore, since we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold or silver or stone, something shaped by art and man’s devising.
Worship is not about giving God something. It is about allowing Him to be Himself with us and we ourselves with Him. It is all about the full presence of God and the full presence of us in a testimony of truth. It is being real with Him in an atmosphere of love and letting Him do the same with us. When we worship God we create an atmosphere where we can freely receive all that God desires to give to us. He gives us life, breath, and all things. When His presence fills our presence, our lives are changed! God knows this and this is why He has put it within us to worship Him.
When we find ourselves in an isolated lonely place and we recognize who He is and we give our lives to Him, it changes our isolated lonely place to a place where He lives. This is recognizing who He is. In a culture of honor, we don’t just see Him as the first and the best, but we also recognize who we are. The first thing I wrote about was to recognize who He is. We give Him the first and the best because salvation and the liberty of life come from Him. In the expression of worship, we see Him for who He is and we also see ourselves for who we are with Him. The ambiance of worship is love, life, honor, gratitude, thankfulness, awe, and all the expressions of life that exhibit freedom, liberty, and love.
Worship is about recognizing who I am. Who am I? I am an expression of Him. I am a testimony of His love, so I love Him. I am His worship. I don’t need to carve anything; I am the carving. I value who I am so I give all that I am to the One who says I Am who I Am. It changes my world! It changes my isolated separated place to the house of God.
Do you remember Jacob? Jacob was sleeping in an isolated separated place, but then he saw in a dream who he was. He saw a ladder and angels were ascending and descending and He realized that he was the gate of heaven. He realized the place where he was sleeping was the really house of God and he took the rock that was a pillow and turned it into a pillar. He anointed it with oil and he called it the house of God; the place that worships God! This is true individuals, families, and corporate communities of God. We are each an opening for the gate of heaven in the earth. We are expressions of who God His to see all the substance of a heavenly Father revealed in our earthly habitations in this world.
Genesis 28:10 Now Jacob went out from Beersheba and went toward Haran. 11 So he came to a certain place and stayed there all night, because the sun had set. And he took one of the stones of that place and put it at his head, and he lay down in that place to sleep. 12 Then he dreamed, and behold, a ladder was set up on the earth, and its top reached to heaven; and there the angels of God were ascending and descending on it. 13 And behold, the Lord stood above it and said: “I am the Lord God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac; the land on which you lie I will give to you and your descendants. 14 Also your descendants shall be as the dust of the earth; you shall spread abroad to the west and the east, to the north and the south; and in you and in your seed all the families of the earth shall be blessed. 15 Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have spoken to you.” 16 Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I did not know it.” 17 And he was afraid and said, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven!” 18 Then Jacob rose early in the morning, and took the stone that he had put at his head, set it up as a pillar, and poured oil on top of it. 19 And he called the name of that place Bethel; but the name of that city had been Luz previously. 20 Then Jacob made a vow, saying, “If God will be with me, and keep me in this way that I am going, and give me bread to eat and clothing to put on, 21 so that I come back to my father’s house in peace, then the Lord shall be my God. 22 And this stone which I have set as a pillar shall be God’s house, and of all that You give me I will surely give a tenth to You.”
Giving a tenth (tithe) to God is a prophetic response of love. Ten is a symbolic number for a judgment of love. Our responses to God are meant to be nothing less than a judgment of love. He loves us and we cannot help but love Him for who He is with all that we are. Worship is simply an expression of life to the one who gives life and it activates more of God’s life in the place where we reside. Worshipping God in our lives changes our world!
Ted J. Hanson