By Brent Lanigan
Sometimes it feels as if the word worship has become too common in our Christian lexicon. It gets used to describe our praise singing (“We are now going to worship”), our tithing (“Let’s give as an act of worship”), and a style of music (“My favourite music is worship music”). But what really is worship as seen in Scripture? Thankfully, the Bible paints a very clear picture. Join me in exploring the essence of biblical worship over these 5 devotionals.
Part 4: What Should Be Our Mindset When We Worship God?
Daniel 3:1-9, 12-14, 16-20, 24-26, 28. King Nebuchadnezzar had a gold statue made. The statue was 90 feet high and 9 feet wide.Then the king called the important leaders in his kingdom. He wanted these men to come to the special service for the statue he had set up. So they all came for the special service. And they stood in front of the statue.
Then the man who made announcements for the king spoke in a loud voice. He said “Everyone must bow down and worship this gold statue. Anyone who doesn’t will be quickly thrown in a blazing furnace.” So they bowed down and worshiped the statue that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up. Then some Babylonians came up to the king. They said, “Our king, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego do not worship the gold statue you have set up.” Nebuchadnezzer became very angry and said, “Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, is it true that you did not worship the gold statue I have set up?” They said, “Nebuchadnezzar, you can throw us into the blazing furnace. But even if God does not save us, we will not worship the gold statue.”
Then Nebuchadnezzar was furious with Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. Then he commanded soldiers to throw them into the blazing furnace. Then King Nebuchadnezzar was very surprised. The king said “Look, I see four men. They are not tied up and they are not burned.” Then Nebuchadnezzar went to the opening of the blazing furnace and shouted, “Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, come out!” Then Nebuchadnezzar said, “Praise the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. These three men trusted their God. They refused to obey my command. And they were willing to die rather than worship any god other than their own.”
Fascinating Fact: The Leshan Giant Buddha is the biggest and tallest Buddha statue in the world. Carved in the Lingyun Mountain in China, the statue stands 233 feet tall. Leshan Giant Buddha’s hair is composed of 1,021 spiraled curls embedded in his head that measures 48 ft in height and 33 ft in width. His ears, capable of holding two people inside, are 23 ft long. He has 18 ft long eyebrows, 27 ft long fingers, 79 ft wide shoulders, and an 18 ft long nose. His mouth and each of his eyes have a width of 11 ft. His instep is around 28 ft in width and can hold about a hundred people and his smallest toenail can fit one seated person. By contrast, Nebuchadnezzar’ statue was “only” 90 to tall and 9 ft wide but it had one thing the Buddha doesn’t: it was made of gold!
Scripture Study: Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego knew that they could be thrown into a fiery furnace to die because they refused to compromise their worship of God. As such, this story is the polar opposite of the story in Exodus 32. While the Israelites valued the worship of other things over God, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego had made a heart commitment – built on uncompromised devotion of their love for God – to worship him above anything else. And this uncompromised devotion was so authentically displayed that the king himself said these words: “These three men trusted their God. They refused to obey my command. And they were willing to die rather than worship any god other than their own” (v. 28).
Today’s devotional focuses on what our mindset should be when we worship God. When we engage in worshiping God, we cannot treat our relationship with God lightly. If we truly say we are his followers then that devotion to him must be authentically displayed in offering God uncompromised worship. Maybe we will never be commanded to worship a 90 foot statue but we will always have the enticements of our culture nipping at our hearts demanding we give those enticements our worship and uncompromised devotion. But like Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, we must quietly stand firm and determine in our hearts to never offer God less than our full, uncompromised devotion in worshiping him. Anything less is just going through the spiritual motions of our faith.
Questions to Discuss
1. Take a moment to reflect on how you feel when you participate in the worship times at your church. Do you just go through the motions?
2. How do you think God would view your worship of him? Does it give you pause or are you quietly assured that he would be happy with your attitude and approach in worshiping him?
3. If you feel your worship attitude needs improving, what is one thing you could do to fix it?
Father, thank you for the privilege of worship you. And thank you that we have the freedom to do so unendingly. Help us to never take our worship of you for granted we pray. Amen.