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 3: What Value Should Worshiping God Have in Our Lives?
Exodus 32:1-2, 7-8, 35. The people saw that a long time had passed. And Moses had not come down from the mountain. So they gathered around Aaron. They said to him,”Moses led us out of Egypt.But we don’t know what has happened to him. So make us gods who will lead us.” Aaron said to the people, “Take off your gold earrings…bring them to me.” So all the people took their gold earrings and brought them to Aaron. Aaron took the gold from the people. Then he melted it and made a statue of a calf. Then the people said, “Israel! These are your gods who brought you out of the land of Egypt!”. Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go down from this mountain…the people you brought out of the land of Egypt have done a terrible sin. They have quickly turned away from the things I commanded them to do. They have made for themselves a calf of melted gold. They have worshiped that calf.” So the Lord caused terrible things to happen to the people.
Fascinating Fact: According to the Guinness Book of Records, the largest gold ring in the world weights 181.2 lbs and was created by Mokingran Jewelry Group Co., in China on May 18, 2016. The ring is 24-karat gold and has a diameter of 31.2 inches. By comparison, the largest manufactured gold bar in the world weighs 551 lb 2 oz and was made on June 11, 2005 at the Naoshima Smelter & Refiner, Japan. It’s probably a good thing the Israelites did not have these at their disposal!
Scripture Study: Today’s devotional asks the question: what value should worshiping God have in our lives? For the answer we turn to the story of the golden calf in Exodus 32. This story is a sobering reminder of what happens when the worship of God is not valued within our spiritual lives. Not long before, God had given his people the 10 Commandments as instructions for how to worship and obey him. And now, in Exodus 32, the people spectacularly violate the 2nd commandment: “You must not make any idols or worship them.”
How could the people disobey this command so quickly? Sadly, they did not value worshiping God. And the more Israel devalued the worship of God, the more they valued the worship of other things. And once they did that, it was easy to replace God with an idol. In the end, their idol worship brought pain and hardship upon them because of their disregard for valuing the worship of God.
The worship of God in our lives should be valued as primary. It should be an act of devotion that ranks above anything else we do as followers of God. When we devalue the worship of God, it means we place value on worshiping other things or pursuits: leisure, money, relationships, possessions. Now having these things in our lives are not wrong in and of themselves; but when we value them more than we value God, they become idols of flawed worship. And when God sees our flawed worship take priority over expressing our praise and love to him, that’s what hurts his heart. When our flawed worship causes our spiritual growth and love for God to become stagnant, we cannot enjoy true relationship with him.
Questions to Discuss
1. Do an inventory of your priorities in life. Where does the worship of God rank within those priorities?
2. In other words, how important do you think worshiping God is?
3. If you feel your worship of God is flawed or devalued, what practical steps can you take to change that?
Dear God, thanks for giving us instructions on how to love, obey and worship you. Help us to always desire loving and worshiping you more than anything else in our lives. Amen.